News Release, Visit St. Mary’s
LEONARDTOWN, MD – Visit St. Mary’s, the destination marketing organization for St. Mary’s County, Maryland, has unveiled its marketing, sales, and media strategy for fiscal year 2020. Recognized as an important step in reaching the organization’s goals, Visit St. Mary’s MD will utilize this strategy to serve the county by designing, developing, and supporting the County’s tourism assets and by attracting overnight visitation for the economic benefit of the county. The strategy was developed to work in tandem with County’s Tourism and Hospitality Master Plan (THMP), which was approved by the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County in 2018.
This new strategy will focus on delivering programs that enhance the image of St. Mary’s County and increase awareness of the destination among both domestic and international travelers, with a focus on the Mid – Atlantic region. Recognized as a vital step in the implementation of the THMP, the strategy will also help increase overnight stays in the county, improving existing tourism assets, and with creating and supporting jobs in county.
“Our marketing plan serves as the road-map for our year ahead,” stated Jason Aul, Executive Director for Visit St. Mary’s MD. “This plan, in addition to the Tourism and Hospitality Master Plan, will help to re-position St. Mary’s County as one of the region’s great getaways.”
Visit St. Mary’s is addressing several challenges head-on with the marketing plan. In addition to battling misconceptions of accessibility to the county, Visit St. Mary’s faces competition with nearby regions, such as Virginia and Washington D.C. Data from the State of Maryland also has suggested that, overall, visitation to the state has decreased slightly in recent years.
Despite these challenges, St. Mary’s County continues to see steady visitation and spend by travelers. In FY2017, the County saw $6,609,713 in total direct consumer tax impact for tourism. This marketing, sales, and media plan put forth by Visit St. Mary’s MD seeks to increase both overall visitation and visitor spending in the County.
For increasing the overnight stays, the organization will be focusing on ten key markets with high potential for inbound visitors. These markets include Washington D.C., Baltimore, MD, Richmond, VA, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Delaware, Southern Pennsylvania, New York, NY, and Atlanta, GA.
“For years, the County has considered itself the mid-Atlantic’s best kept travel secret. We’re here to share that secret with the world,” said Aul. “Our immediate focus will be on markets that have the highest potential for inbound visitation, however, our efforts extend far beyond the mid-Atlantic region.”
To position its future marketing, Visit St. Mary’s main campaigns focus on the idea of “Boundless” potential within the County. The ideas of freedom, diversity, experiential, and welcoming, expressed in the idea of what is “boundless”, will be present throughout most future campaigns. In focusing on this “Boundless” campaign, the organization has focused on four pillars that make St. Mary’s County distinct. These pillars include the small-town charm, heritage, outdoors, and history and culture.
The organization will also be utilizing out–of–home marketing, print, digital, and social. Marketing efforts will be tackled in three ways. This will include consumer brand marketing and content, cooperative marketing with partners and stakeholders, and trade show marketing.
Weddings, small business meetings, and events also play a vital role in the Visit St. Mary’s MD plan for the county. This is incorporated in with the sales aspect of the plan by having the organization attend four wedding shows and multiple industry-related shows this coming year. In attending the shows, there is a goal set in place to book $100,000 in revenues for the first three shows and then book $50,000 in revenues for the Baltimore show. There will also be an emphasis placed on having small business meetings take place within the county in order to impact the sales aspect of the plan for 2020.
A copy of the Marketing, Sales, and Media Strategy for Visit St. Mary’s MD is available at https://www.visitstmarysmd.com/partner-info/ .