Study: Spartanburg’s tourism marketing paying off

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Tourism marketing efforts in Spartanburg County really paid off in 2016, according to a new study.

The Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) on Thursday released its 2016 Marketing and Media Effectiveness Study, which measured the impact of the CVB’s advertising on visitation, travel spending and return on investment (ROI).

According to the study, tourism had a $17.4 million economic impact on the county, while the CVB invested $158,000 in paid advertising during the year. That means that for every $1 the CVB spent on advertising, there was a more than $110 economic impact.

“The county and municipalities have been very supportive,” said Chris Jennings, executive vice president of the CVB. “It’s great to be able to prove to them that [their financial support] is working. From a marketing standpoint, it’s justifying.”

The CVB said the study was conducted by H2R Market Research in August. The firm interviewed 1,203 travelers who live within a 51- to 300-mile radius of Spartanburg.

Of those travelers, 37 percent said they saw or heard a Spartanburg advertisement. And 82 percent of that group said they believed the ads made Spartanburg seem more appealing as a destination.

The study said the county’s overall marketing reached 4.3 million households and resulted in 32,800 incremental trips.

Visitors to Spartanburg spent an average of $531 each during their stay, according to the study.

It also found that 75 percent of visitors came to have fun. The desire for something new was 69 percent and the opportunity to find a unique destination was 66 percent.

“Tourism dollars are an economic driver for Spartanburg County,” said Allen Smith, president and CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are excited to be learning more about why people are choosing Spartanburg.”

Spartanburg’s tourism industry has continued to benefit from youth sports, and the NFL Carolina Panthers training camp, which had a $13.1 million impact this year. Local officials expect the new public art project Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light will continue to attract visitors.

In February, the county will host the annual state Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Travel.

Jennings said the Spartanburg Chamber’s strategic visioning plan, which is currently being developed with the help of Atlanta-based consulting firm Market Street Services, will help the county’s tourism efforts.

The CVB’s marketing efforts have focused on the cultural and artistic opportunities in the community, its history and heritage, recreational opportunities, sports tourism, parks and a unique “Made in Spartanburg” campaign.

Jennings said the CVB will continue to market those areas and hopes to increase the focus on agritourism opportunities in the county.

“It’s a great time to be in Spartanburg,” Jennings said. “If this is the perfect storm, I say we just keep riding it.”

For more information, visit visitspartanburg.com.

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