By Ashley McCarty
The Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau Facebook page has seen exponential growth as more are turning to social media for tourist needs.
On April 5, a post on the page regarding the completion of the Buzzardroost Rock Trail updates garnered over 1,000 likes, 525 comments, 2,300 shares and reached over 245,000 people.
The recognition and virtual traffic continue to grow. By the end of the year, ACTVB Executive Director Tom Cross predicts the page will total over 30,000 followers and likes.
“We’ve been breaking new grounds for post likes and Facebook followers for five or six years now, so we’ve done well. Tourism has been growing. Not only that, there’s been a big increase in the number of lodging facilities in the country. There have probably been five to six new ones in the last couple of years that has come up. Lodging in Adams County has been growing; it’s been doing well. It’s one of the few industries that’s actually growing in Adams County,” said Cross.
The Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau has been utilizing social medial since December, 2010.
“We do a lot of advertising not only through the magazines but we’ve been pushing social media. We put money into it because it’s a way to reach people. I’ve got zip codes from all over Ohio and Northern Kentucky, so when we post content, we’ll target those specific areas. We don’t target a lot in the county because we want visitors to come in. Our market is eastern Cincinnati, Clermont County, southwestern and eastern Dayton and southwest Columbus; that’s where our visitors come from. So, we actively produce a lot of content on our Facebook page for those market areas,” said Cross.
The page promotes local events and tourist attractions for both visitors and locals.
“Once in a while, you hit something that just resonates with people. A lot of the lodging facilities and places in Adams County should utilize Facebook. I wish they would because we could share what they post. Murphin Ridge does once in awhile, once in awhile you’ll see something from Unity Woods, but in large, a lot of these B and B’s and tourist attractions don’t use social media. We would share that content on our page as well. 90 percent of the content on our page is something we produce ourselves,” said Cross.
Cross also supports the area through photography.
“A lot of times, I’ll go out and take pictures and put them on Facebook. Our page is growing so much now that I try to keep it fresh. Last year our biggest posting was the Herb Festival. People were so tired of COVID-19 that they were anxious to get out. The Amish community is also a strong feature, we run a lot of Amish photos on our page. That’s our number one tourist draw is the Amish community. We can tell what resonates with people, what they really want and we cater to that,” said Cross.
The Travel and Visitors Bureau also utilizes Google Analytics on their webpage, www.adamscountytravel.org.
“We do surveys with lodging facilities. Visitors fill out postcards and tell us what drew them here, and what they went to see. What people are interested in shows up on our Facebook page, on Google Analytics, and we reinforce that through our surveys” said Cross.
Their marketing content has changed over the years as the interests of individuals have shifted and evolved. While 20 years ago, quilt barns were a large marketing feature, interest in that has declined.
Where we’re seeing our biggest growth market — and the Edge of Appalachia has been the biggest partners in this recently — is eco-tourism. It’s taking hold in this county. People are coming out to Adams County to hike the trails, float in the water and do eco-tourism activities. I’m hoping that these lodging facilities pick up on this. But, we’ve seen a strong surge for eco-tourism,” said Cross.
In the past year, COVID-19 has had a hand in influencing the growth of eco-tourism.
“With COVID-19, people were so tired of being cooped up inside, and they came out here to the country [to enjoy themselves]. People just came out here to get away from it all, and as a result our lodging facilities had one of their best years last year. They were so booked that they were booking the following year,” said Cross.
As growth continues in tourism, it promises a lucrative benefit to the county. Last year in August, a report on the Economic Impact of Tourism in Adams County reported that tourism spending generated $45.6 million in sales in 2019 both directly and indirectly as a result of tourism in Adams County. The report by Ohio Tourism goes on to say that tourism in Adams County created $16.1 million in wages (up 9.52 percent) and $5.6 million (up 9.80 percent) in state, local and federal taxes.
Tourism is an integral and driving component of the Adams County economy sustaining 8.3percent of salaried employment and employing 644 people representing a slight increase in tourism employment from the last report. Tourism is a composite of various economic activities including recreation, retail, lodging, food and beverage.
Total Tourism Impact on Adams County for 2020 (2018 results in parentheses):
● $45.6 million in sales ($42.1 million)
● $16.1 million in wages and personal income ($14.7 million)
● $5.6 million in taxes ($5.1 million)
● 644 employed by tourism trade (640 employed)
Adams County tourism sustains 8.3 percent of private-sector jobs in the county and according to the report, tourism created 480 direct and 164 indirect and induced jobs. Southwest Ohio has a 24 percent share in Ohio tourism, including employment, and is the third-largest generator of tourism dollars and earnings in Ohio.
The $45.6 million in sales represents the largest growth in Adams County tourism to date.
“When I see our Facebook page grow like that, I said, ‘everybody is finding out about Adams County.’ It excites me when you get 2,000 people sharing a post, and you get thousands of likes and reach over 200,000 people. WLWT Channel 5 in Cincinnati saw the post and picked it up, so I was happy about that. What I try to do is just get Adams County noticed and promoted. That’s the job of this office is to promote the tourism aspects of the county,” said Cross.
Local members of the community have invested in Adams County tourism, spending at least $60,000 or more building a lodging facility.
“People are investing some serious money in tourism. There’s been at least $200,000 invested recently in cabins, and they’ve got to get a return from that investment. In a lot of ways, we carry that weight those people that invest will get their money back in a certain amount of time. This is some people’s retirement plan. They’ll invest $100,000 in a cabin, and all the amenities strictly on the basis that someone is going to come and spend the night in the place. So, in a lot of ways, I look at that and think that people are putting a lot of faith in us. They depend on us to generate traffic to Adams County to keep that lodging establishment full,” said Cross.
To stay up to date on local events and tourist attractions, visit https://www.facebook.com/Adams-County-Ohio-Travel-and-Visitors-Bureau-115964248471606, www.adamscountytravel.org, or call (937) 544-5639.