BUCKHANNON — Upshur County’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) completed multiple projects in 2020, despite the COVID-19 virus considerably altering some of their plans.
Executive Director of the CVB, Laura Meadows, presented their accomplishments to County Commissioners Thursday morning. Meadows expressed they’re ready to put last year behind them and start new!
The CVB reportedly reached 24,000 visits to their website in 2020. The CVB website features a regular blog, posts, an events calendar, and an inventory of lodging, shopping and dining options in Upshur County. As they have continued to direct visitors to their website VisitBuckhannon.org and distributed the Upshur County Travel Guides, Meadows said they have noticed significant traffic coming onto the website. These travel guides covering all the local basics are distributed to areas like hotels, welcome centers and other CVBs, Meadows noted.
Meadows added that the Upshur County CVB also relies heavily on their Facebook page. They have reportedly used the small advertising campaigns via Facebook to their benefit, she mentioned. They took advantage of these social media platforms to share what Buckhannon businesses were open during the pandemic, while also highlighting Upshur County’s outdoor attractions. They’re also utilizing an e-newsletter, which is growing rapidly, according to Meadows. The newsletter is sent via email twice a month and covers a variety of topics.
Last year, the CVB created rack cards regarding local river access points, the James W. Curry Library and Park, and Festival Fridays. In total, they reportedly created 15,000 rack cards. Meadows noted that the James W. Curry area is a hidden gem and southern Upshur County is beautiful. She also added that the Buckhannon River is a great asset to the community that they strive to highlight. They also helped revamp the West Virginia Strawberry Festival website that will tentatively launch soon, and Meadows said they’re eager for people to view the upgraded site for next year’s festival.
Although the CVB is accustomed to hosting approximately 40 events each year at The Event Center at Brushy Fork, the pandemic created a significant decrease in social gatherings last year. In 2020, they only hosted 14 events—a significant decrease from previous years. However, they were able to utilize the event center for several things like vaccination clinics and blood drives, all while following local, state and national guidelines. Meadows noted they’re hoping gatherings won’t be tremendously impacted this year, but they’re “rolling with the punches” regardless.
With support from the Upshur County Commission through Cares Act funding, in addition to support from the City of Buckhannon, Meadows expressed they at least know they can plan ahead.
The CVB is currently working on new printed marketing material, increasing their social media engagements and want to focus on targeting areas like Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh. They’re currently working with WV Living to do a weekend getaway in Upshur County. The getaway will include a stay in a cabin in southern Upshur County, a private meal for a group of six in the Hawks Nest and tickets to the Clue production at the newly renovated Colonial Arts Center. “People will get to experience Buckhannon and see the neat things we have here,” Meadows noted.
For more information, visit the CVB at 14 East Main Street, or send an email to [email protected]