Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau Strategic Vision 2008-2010
Development of this strategic vision by the Pocono Mountains Visitor Bureau (PMVB) and its stakeholders is designed to serve as a guideline for the future short term direction for the travel and tourism industry within the four-county region of Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne. This document is the result of a series of presentations, retreats, surveys and outside resources.
DMAI has categorized eight “Super-Trends” that are shaping the tourism promotion business of today and which will have an important impact in the foreseeable future. These trends served as a framework for discussion from which the PMVB established an action plan to conduct its business on behalf of our region’s tourism industry.
The process began May 15, 2008 at Pocono Mountains Tourism Day with the presentation by futurist Ed Barlow Jr. entitled “The Future of Pocono Mountains Tourism: It’s a Journey, Not a Destination.” In response to Ed’s presentation those in attendance were asked to provide their; 1) major insights, 2) strategic direction and 3) new professional competency to acquire. These contributions were documented and incorporated into this action plan.
Customer Sector: “Proliferating Preferences” Travelers and travel providers are seeking and responding to an ever growing range of choices in places to visit and experiences they buy. Destinations and their stakeholders will have to develop even more targeted and responsive value programs to capture and retain this business. Competitor Sector: “The Battle for Attention”
The Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), the international association of convention and visitor bureaus, recently developed a “Futures Study” in which they examined the key trends, events and developments that will likely shape the destination marketing sector for the next few years. The situational analysis and visitor centric map included in this document comes thanks to the DMAI Foundation.
Destinations will have to work even harder to be heard through the noise of an increasingly crowded and complex marketplace, particularly as the travel buying experience continues its migration to the Internet. Economic Sector: “Dodging Asteroids”
Additional input to this strategic vision came from a PMVB management retreat and surveys of the PMVB Board of Directors and more than 100 stakeholders within the four-county Pocono Mountains region.
The travel, tourism, hospitality and meeting sector is increasingly vulnerable to various economic shocks such as energy prices, natural disasters, terrorism and threats of cataclysmic effects such as health pandemics. Technological Sector: “Smart and Friendly Websites” The website is now an absolute necessity for doing business. In knowledge intensive business environments such as travel, the most successful competitors tend to be those that continue to exploit the latest technologies and information strategies. Social Sector: “The Electronic Society”
The traditional concept of community is increasingly being extended, and in some cases replaced, by virtual, electronically mediated relationships. Social networking and user generated web content will be increasingly important as a competitive strength.
Political Sector: “The Quest for Relevance” The increasing disintermediation of the visitor services marketplace; the rise of new business entities contesting for the attention of visitors and meeting organizers; the wealth of free information made available online, and increasing local competition for funds formerly earmarked for destination marketing all conspire to erode or marginalize the traditional role of destination marketing organizations as the marketing entity of a particular locality. Legal Sector: “Mixed Signals From Government” The travel industry has never been more affected by the policies, practices, legislative agendas and economic strategies of governments, some of which are contradictory or conflicting and which sometimes pit regions, destinations and interest groups against one another. Geophysical Sector: “Places and Spaces” Increasingly, travel customers are becoming more segmented in their interests. This includes not only the things they want to see and do, but also ecosystems and natural resources of the area.
Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau Mission Statement
Pocono Mountains Visitor-Centric Strategic Map
The mission of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau is to enhance the economic and environmental well-being of our region and members through the promotion of tourism and the comprehensive marketing of our destination.
Maintaining a visitor centric focus will be critical for the current and future success of the PMVB and the tourism industry of the Pocono Mountains. The visitor must be at the heart of our marketing philosophy and practice. The chart below clearly illustrates that the visitor is the center of focus.
Pocono Mountains Brand Promise To our visitors, the Pocono Mountains offer convenient, easily accessible mountain, river, lake and place-in-the-country travel experiences that enable you to get the most out of your time here and result in a lifetime of cherished memories with friends, family and colleagues.
Informing, Educating & Advising the Visitor
Delivering Services To the Visitor
• Website(s) • Collateral Material • #800 • Visitor Centers
• Transportation Companies • Tour Operators • Hotels/Lodging • Local Visitor Services • Visitor Attractions
PMVB Role: Inform, Educate & Advise the Visitor
PMVB Role: Advocate the Total Visitor Experience
VISITORS: Leisure Conference Business Marketing & Selling To the Visitor
Developing the Destination
• Sales/Marketing Team • Local Stakeholders • Group/Tour Packagers • Travel Resellers
• Local & State Government • Economic Development Agencies • Community Leaders
PMVB Role: Advise & Support Marketers
PMVB Role: Support & Develop the Destination Strategy
An Action Plan for the Pocono Mountains Moving forward requires a commitment by both the PMVB staff and stakeholders of the Pocono Mountains to a series of actions which will generate important and meaningful results. The PMVB will continue to be relevant and grow visibility by focusing on five key result areas. Building Identity: “Self Branding” This is the ongoing effort to continue building the brand identity for the destination. As the official face of the Pocono Mountains, the PMVB will employ actions that position the Bureau as the “go to” organization for visitor information including but not limited to:
• • • • • • • • • • • •
Acceleration of sales efforts in the area of corporate, association and group tours Establish a meaningful sports marketing program Take advantage of the growing international visitors market (Canada & Europe) Investigate the opportunities to promote the region as a location for commercials, films and video production Expand and reinforce niche markets as the opportunities of the future Look to promote the Pocono Mountains as a healthy vacation Develop programs that support/promote the region as “green and clean” Evaluate the value/success of package promotion Migrate “WorkRelief” to an even more productive and effective program Look for unique opportunities to tell the Pocono Mountains story Push public relations efforts to supplement advertising efforts Build pride in the Pocono Mountains brand and what it stands for
Building Traffic: “Web Presence”
Building Coalitions: “Outreach”
The use of smart and friendly website design, coupled with strategies for attracting prospective travelers as early as possible in their “virtual journey” to find trustworthy destination information. Actions to be employed to accomplish this include:
As the four-county tourism promotion agency, it is critical for the PMVB to be systematically and continuously building connections and coalitions to the many community leaders, stakeholders, industry partners, client entities and opinion shapers. Actions in this area include:
• • • • • •
• Strengthen existing task forces for ski, golf, attractions and campgrounds • Increase focus on Country Inns/B&Bs niche • Expand the “About PMVB” section on 800poconos.com to provide more tourism industry information • Become the “go to” source for statistics/research related to tourism • Expand media relations program by expanding range of media contacts • Encourage destination marketing companies to promote the area • Support an “in the business” discount/rewards program • Seek win/win marketing partnerships that extend our message • Look for ways to extend state/regional/community partnerships • Strengthen the relationship with secondary and post secondary education programs resulting in improved career opportunities for the region’s residents
Continuous effort to revise, update and keep the PMVB website relevant Add user generated content, reviews and podcasting/videocasting Develop tactics to reach out to bloggers Step up monitoring of blogs and other forms of social media Post all collateral material in digital format Enhance and upgrade online and #800 reservation services
Building Commitment: “Visitor Advocacy”
Building Vision: “Policy Leadership”
The PMVB embraces the continuous and never ending practice of teaching, promoting and modeling a visitor-centered doctrine to all stakeholders in our communities and pledges its efforts by:
The practice of identifying critical issues and policy questions relating to the development of the Pocono Mountains and the tourism industry will continue to be increasingly important. The PMVB will participate and establish leadership in the area by:
• Growing the Enculturation program each year • Reviewing the “Quality Assurance” program to ensure it meets the need of visitors and stakeholders alike • Investing in high quality visitors centers • Providing assistance to organizations serving tourists coming to the region • Continually survey visitors to gather their feedback and impressions • Supporting wayfinding programs that facilitate the visitors ability to navigate the region
• • • •
Actively participating with community and regional economic development agencies Attending county commissioner meetings on a quarterly basis Encouraging and supporting sustainable destination development Leading and supporting efforts to ensure that the Pocono Mountains are “clean and green” • Advocating tourism issues at both the state and federal level with elected officials and appropriate agencies
Cover photo credits clockwise from left: Russ Schleipman; Russ Schleipman; Raul Touzon; Russ Schleipman All photo credits not indicated are credited to Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, 800poconos.com Edited by Alicia M. Quinn Design by Workhorse Design
Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
1004 Main Street
Stroudsburg, PA 18360