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Annual Tourism Report Rock Hill / York County, SC CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

1 | 2012-2013 Annual Tourism Report ∙ Rock Hill / York County, SC

Record Breaking Year for York County Tourism!




tourism income

economic impact














2 | 2012-2013 Annual Tourism Report ∙ Rock Hill / York County, SC

Message from the Executive Director The Rock Hill/York County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the accredited destination marketing organization (DMO) in York County, SC and is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel and tourism destination. The Rock Hill / York County CVB is a national award-winning DMO. We believe that the best way to attract visitors is through a coordinated, cooperative alliance with our tourism business partners to produce a product that is unique, creative and experiential. Additional goals of the CVB are to promote the long-term development and marketing of York County focusing on services for leisure travelers, conventions, sports, and groups. It is our intent that each visitor will find that we are accessible, authentic and affordable.


To create a thriving travel and tourism economy in York County, South Carolina.


Every tourism experience is so exciting that it must be shared.


Each year, the CVB staff drafts

We are encouraged by the growth of tourism in York County and have seen consistent increases in our overnight stays. Our accomplishments this year have made us more aware of the need to aggressively examine new ways to increase visitor spending, from couponing, experiential tours, social media and more. In September, the CVB held its Tourism Summit. During the summit, Berkeley Young with Young Strategies, Inc. presented the travel industry survey results to York County business and community leaders, as well as elected officials. Based on the survey results and great feedback from those in attendance at the summit, the CVB staff continues to work with key community leaders to develop a strong strategy built on partnerships to enhance its travel and tourism industry products.

a Destination Business Plan designed to help staff with the direction of strategic planning. The 2013-2014 Business Plan was updated after a survey was conducted in March 2013 to obtain business and community leaders’ perspectives on York County tourism. The Rock Hill/York County Travel Industry Survey provided the CVB staff and

Lisa Meadows, Executive Director Rock Hill/York County Convention & Visitors Bureau

3 | 2012-2013 Annual Tourism Report ∙ Rock Hill / York County, SC

its Board of Commissioners with great insight on the new direction for the CVB.

Contents Record Breaking Year! Message from the Executive Director Game On Golf Makes a Hole in One Touring by Bus Loads Meet in York County Building Partnerships Leisure Travel Telling Our Story Visitor Center Totals Rock Hill-York County CONNECT Wayfinding County Hospitality Tax Allocation 2007–2014 Board of Commission Staff

2 3 5 5 6 6 7 8 9 9 10 10 10 11 11

Game On The Rock Hill/York County CVB contributed to bringing in 28 sports events to York County for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Nine of these events were new to York County. The 28 sports events contributed to a $ 6.4 million economic impact to the local economy and 10,173 room nights. The CVB attended seven sports trade shows and conventions throughout the year to further recruit and market the Rock Hill/York County, SC area as a premier amateur sports destination. Two new signature events standout during the 2012-13 campaign. The US Youth Soccer National Championship which was nationally broadcasted on Fox Sports and the National Guard FLW College Southeastern Bass Fishing Championships, nationally televised on NBC Sports, made huge impacts to our local tourism economy. A new Sports Facilities Guide was produced to aid in the sale and marketing of all York County sports assets and amenities as well as local attractions. The Sports Facilities Guide is distributed to key sports events decision makers in the industry.

This year, the Rock Hill/York County CVB initiated and led the direction of a newly developed South Carolina Sports Alliance. This initiative created 25 new member partners across the state including South Carolina’s Parks, Rec & Tourism office.

64,539 Fans & Participants


28 Sports Events in 2012–2013

Golf Makes a Hole in One The Rock Hill/York County CVB actively participates in the national and international golf markets through several golf expos in both the United States and Canada. These investments have accounted for $123,960 in total economic impact to the York County area. The sports market is poised to build off of this year’s success and raise the bar even higher for the coming year.

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$6.4M Economic Impact 10,173 Hotel Room Nights CVB Initiated and Led the South Carolina Sports Alliance

Touring by Bus Loads As of the end of June 2013, 590 people visited York County as a result of hosting the two national travel conferences, Going on Faith and African American Travel Conference. The CVB participated in the 2013 American Bus Association Conference and was one of the locations for sightseeing tours. The CVB developed a new customizable group itinerary to aid in the marketing efforts for the group travel market. A new Garden Tour itinerary was created to share with over 900 potential group tour organizers and operators.

Carolinas Student Travel Connection (CSTC) offers resources to student travel planners that will enable them to provide an educational and entertaining adventure in the greater Charlotte region. CSTC is a collaborative effort with Rock Hill/York County CVB, Visit Charlotte, Cabarrus County CVB and the Olde English District Tourism Commission. The partnership includes York County hotels, restaurants and attractions.

Meet in York County

HIGHLIGHTS New Garden Itinerary shared with

The Going On Faith and African American Travel conferences brought in over 400 visitors to the area combined and accounted for 670 room nights. The continued partnership with the local hotels and meeting venues has garnered 9,431 room nights from the 2012 Democratic National Convention, various meetings, weddings and reunions. A new Meetings Facilities Guide was created, which is a detailed listing of meetings venues within York County, SC. This guide is the primary marketing piece used at trade shows and events to attract meetings to York County. To assist in the marketing efforts for the meetings market, a York County Meetings Facility promotional video and a lure brochure were created to highlight some of the county’s diverse facilities.

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900 potential Group Tour Organizers and Operators

7,858 Room Nights from 2012 Democratic National Convention


2 National Conventions

Building Partnerships York County Partners in Tourism (PIT) is an affiliate group of the Rock Hill/York County CVB. PIT is a group of area hotels, restaurants, retailers, attractions and service-oriented businesses who has an interest in York County as a tourist destination. Through membership you will be able to expand your marketing efforts, advertise your business or event, provide visitors easy access to your business information, as well as gain valuable online exposure through the CVB website. Members work hard to cooperatively market all of York County to the convention, meeting, group tour, leisure and sports markets.

The training welcomes all front desk staff in the travel and tourism industry to a day long activity that is designed to increase their knowledge and awareness of York County events and attractions. The purpose of the training is to equip industry professionals with the tools they need to extend the stay of visitors and increase repeat visitation to York County. The Hotel Brochure Rack program has been in place for several years. Twenty-four York County hotels have partnered with the Rock Hill/York County CVB to increase awareness of York County events and attractions by providing a local brochure rack in their hotels.

The Rock Hill/York County Hospitality Tour and Training is a partnership between Rock Hill/York County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Rock Hill Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

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Leisure Travel York County Hotel Visitors: Transient / University / Other (University related 7%, Transient 18%, Other 2%)


23% 17%


Individual Business Travelers

Convention / Meeting / Event (Corporate 12%, Government 2%, SMERF 1%, Association 2%)



(Sports 11%, Group Tour / Motor Coach 2%, Weddings / Reunions / Family Events 5%)

Individual Leisure (Tourists visiting 10%, Visiting local friends / family 5%)

York County Attraction Visitors: Individual Visitors (Local / Regional Residents 57%, Out of Town Visitors 20%)

7% 16%

Groups (School / Education Groups 13%, Group Tour / Motor Coach 1%, Church / Social / Youth / Etc 2%)


Rentals (Wedding / Reunions / Family Events 3%, Meetings / Conference 1%, Social Clubs 2%, Other 1%)

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Telling Our Story GROWTH Communication efforts have grown significantly since partnering with the SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department in 2012. The exposure to national mediums helped the CVB to grow its media database from 79 contacts to 865. STORY-TELLING The CVB pitched story ideas to 117 local, regional, and national publications. By the end of the fiscal year cycle, 30 press releases were submitted, 4 story/article contributions were made, and 65 stories were published by local, regional and national news mediums. INTERVIEWS The CVB coordinated media visits for tourism partners with new products in an effort to help each attraction get acquainted with local and regional media contacts. The media visits resulted in on-the-spot interviews and pre-scheduled interviews. ON THE WEB The CVB revamped in October 2012. Within a year, the Bureau’s website impressions increased 6%, unique visits increased 25%, and new visits 150%. The new website receives an average of 5,465 visits per month. SOCIAL MEDIA The CVB Facebook page averages 125 “likes” per month. The CVB’s social communities include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Vine. This year, there was 75% increase in Twitter followers and 50% increase in Facebook ad performance.


Requesting Visitor Information

1 North Carolina

2 South Carolina

3 New York

Visitor Center Totals

1,579 626 1,868 4,073 66,350









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Rock Hill-York County CONNECT

Progressive Community Oriented Notification Network Enforcement Communication Technology is an interactive web based communication tool which allows law enforcement and community partners to communicate about crime and public safety issues occurring in the City of Rock Hill and York County. Preventative 93 Rock Hill and York County law enforcement officers and hotel owners are trained, communicating, and effectively preventing crime in and around where our travelers stay overnight. Proactive Because of the instant notification capabilities of CONNECT, law enforcement and community partners can share, in real time, valuable information through this password protected system. Knowing the hotel properties are communicating and working closely with law enforcement, discourages criminals from using hotels as a home base for their unwanted activity.


National/Regional Marketing Campaigns

 Wayfinding The Rock Hill/York County CVB Board of Commissioners, along with the York County Public Works department, began work on the first phase of its wayfinding signage program. This program was implemented to help visitors to find attractions located in York County with ease. Both entities are continuing to work with the South Carolina Department of Transportation. The CVB also worked on the county’s gateway signage on Interstate 77. Sign designs were completed in January 2013.


York County Hospitality Tax

For seven consecutive years, the York County Hospitality Tax collection has been on a steady increase. Since 2007, the hospitality tax has funded almost $2.8 million dollars in new tourism assets including stabilizing the shoreline at Ebenezer Park and the foundation of the Brick House at Historic Brattonsville. Over the same time period, this 2% prepared food tax has funded/ supported more than $3.0 million of marketing and promotions throughout York County (see chart below).

York County Hospitality Tax Allocation 2007 – 2014: Product Development

15% 34% 23%

RH / YC CVB Ops / Payroll

RH / YC CVB Marketing


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Marketing / Promotions



Marie Cheek Culture & Heritage Museums

Brenda Robbins Community Volunteer

Lisa Meadows Executive Director

Andrea Cooper Comporium Communications

Gene Roper Leroy Springs & Company, Inc.

Rebekah Ardis Travel Sales Manager

David Grigg Bank of America

Mark Sexton Rock Hill Parks, Recreation & Tourism

Sonja Burris Communications Manager

Michael Hunt Beef O’ Bradys Julia Jordan AVP Nationwide Productions Jason LaBarge HP Hotels Tim Longmire Carowinds Ron Miller Family Trust Federal Credit Union

Strauss Moore Shiple Olde English District Tourism Commission Robert Walker Walker Medical Consultants, Inc. Charles Wood Ada Signs, Inc. In Memory of Les Conner

Andy Clinton Visitor Information Specialist Auvis Cole Sports Sales Manager Mikki Rentschler Director of Finance & Administration Trina Ricks Visitor Center Specialist, part-time

CVB Staff

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(888) 702 1320

452 South Anderson Rd • Rock Hill, SC 29730

12 | 2012-2013 Annual Tourism Report ∙ Rock Hill / York County, SC

York County 2013 Annual Report  
York County 2013 Annual Report