By Fred Stabbert III
Town of Delaware Supervisor Ed Sykes sat back in his seat last Wednesday night, looking his...
The Sullivan County Visitors Association has been making great strides in promoting “The Sullivan Catskills” brand in both print media and online. Recently, a marketing agency has come aboard to market our destination.
Part of this will include special content pieces published by major media outlets – both domestic and internationally. These efforts follow trends in the destination marketing field and follow successful attempts to raise the profile of an area by building overall brand awareness.
To mirror these print efforts, the SCVA has drastically expanded digital outreach, specifically on social media, by hiring a new staff-member who specializes in social media management and user engagement.
With this new direction, serious branding efforts have been underway onlin and on social media to promote “The Sullivan Catskills” and to present a unified but competitive image of the county.
These branding efforts can be simply encapsulated by a singular hashtag for our region of the Catskills – “#SullivanCatskills.” Hashtags help organize ideas on the digital landscape, so by promoting our area through a hashtag we can relate connected events and activities in the county to present a better picture of our diverse, eclectic, and beautiful area to the digital world.
In other respects, moving social media efforts in-house has allowed for more frequent and better advertising, a more consistent presentation of our area online, and most importantly, dramatic increases in user engagement and participation.
A more natural and consistent presence on social media tends to results in larger audiences and higher levels of engagement, which in turn results with more effective advertising and marketing.
Film Tax Credit
On a different note, some exciting news has come out that will greatly promote the region and allow for potentially thousands of dollars of spending in the county!
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther has worked very hard to modify legislation concerning the Film Tax Credit program for New York. This credit only applied to certain areas surrounding the city and did not include Sullivan County and surrounding
Well, the legislation passed and Sullivan County is now included in the State’s initiative! This means that the area is now competitive with surrounding areas and can effectively entice filmmakers to work here. With this development, the SCVA and the Catskill Film Commission are hoping that more film production projects start-up and contribute to our economy, recognition, and tourism!
National Geographic discovers Upper Delaware
Additionally, efforts have been underway to promote the natural beauty of the Sullivan Catskills. National Geographic is paying special attention to our area with their “Scenic, Wild Delaware River” online tourism guide. While this initiative incorporates a few communities, the Sullivan Catskills’ beauty and adventure are prominently featured.
Looking forward, the Department on Conservation will be releasing an “app” fairly soon that allows for easier access to DEC lands, parks, and hiking trails.
This will add to efforts promoting hiking in the area, as well as helping hikers find valuable information.
Eat Healthy, Eat Local
While promoting outdoor activities and our gorgeous natural landscape, the SCVA and the Catskill Regional Medical Center have started an new joint initiative called “Eat Healthy, Eat Local” to promote local food production and healthier cuisine options.
Signing up to this initiative will provide support to restaurants for developing or altering menu options, accessing local food from local producers and suppliers, and advertising.
The SCVA is specifically offering free inclusion in the 2017 Travel Guide, significant print and digital advertising efforts, and special prominence for those part of this featured initiative.
More to come!
So that is an update on what the SCVA has been doing, but there are some even more interesting things coming up in the near future. Stay tuned for a new website, a possible new logo, further expanded efforts online, and further support initiatives to assist member businesses with social media and digital marketing. Keep an eye out for the announcements and don’t be afraid to use our new hashtag, #SullivanCatskills!