With a new marketing campaign, new mobile app and a new website, visitgreenvillesc gave Greenville City Council an upbeat report this week on the city’s tourism industry.
Earlier this year, visitgreenvillesc kicked off its first leisure travel marketing campaign, dubbed “Yeah, THAT Greenville.” The campaign focused on branding, sales, public relations, social media and advertising, all with the “Yeah, THAT Greenville” theme.
And it’s working. According to Jennifer Stilwell, chief marketing officer of visitgreenvillesc, occupancy rates are up and they are projecting over a one billion dollar economic impact to the area by the end of 2013 from tourism. Inquiries are up over 250 percent and the team is sending out 1,000 visitor guides each week. There’s a high level of Instagram followers and social media interaction shares and likes. Stilwell says the new website had a soft launch a few weeks ago, and marketing efforts to spread the word are in the works.
Lodging was up 10.2 percent from January to June 2013 in Greenville, compared to 4.7 percent elsewhere in South Carolina and 5.6 percent across the U.S. That’s a 68 percent occupancy rate – among other competitive cities, only Savannah, Charleston and Nashville have a higher rate than Greenville.
Several large conventions contributed to those numbers, said Stilwell, including the Gold Wing Road Riders Association’s (GWRRA) annual Wing Ding convention, which brought over 13,000 people to the area; the USA Karate Nationals, which brought over 1,600 visitors; and the Municipal Association of SC meeting, which hosted 1,000 leaders from all over the state.
Greenville currently gets over 5.3 million visitors a year and has received numerous travel awards over the past few years, including recognition as one of “The South’s Tastiest Towns” from Southern Living Magazine and “Coolest Main Street in the South” by Atlanta Magazine.
“We’re driving and inspiring people to come visit Greenville,” said Stilwell.