The Brandywine Traveler
October 19, 2015; updated February 21, 2017 | Malcolm Johnstone
CONCEPT = Cultivating connections and creating awareness for visitors and stakeholders of the Brandywine Valley.
GOAL = Expand the marketing efforts of the BID to be inclusive of Brandywine Valley attractions through multiple platforms on both the internet and conventional media that attain a reach to over 2,000,000 potential visitors.
Organizations such as the Borough Parks & Recreation, Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, Chester County Historical Society and many others are investing two-to-three million dollars each year in programs, events, and attractions that bring visitors into the area. With current plans for another new hotel, there will eventually be 200 hotel guest rooms. The West Chester BID has developed the capacity and market position to effectively reach Brandywine Valley travelers. The downtown community is unified to establish an active program targeted to these valuable visitors.
The Borough of West Chester and the stakeholders of downtown -- many are locally-owned businesses -- share a common interest of the need to attract more visitors. Businesses seek to gain more customers and the Borough seeks to increase parking revenues which have recently experienced significant price increases. Further, the regional market has become more competitive as Kennett Square, Phoenixville, Oxford, Malvern, Exton, Chadds Ford, and King of Prussia ramp up their marketing efforts.
To increase revenues through visitorship, the West Chester BID is initiating a Regional Stakeholder Network that utilizes the best practices of a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for attracting visitors. The initiative creates cross-promotional partnerships that provide a collective impact, all adding to the regular marketing activities of the West Chester BID. Called The Brandywine Traveler, it reaches beyond the hyper-local market to the more than 2-million marketable leisure travelers that visit the Brandywine Valley each year.
>> According to a survey published in January 2016 by Fulcrum, 48% of survey respondents cited increased use of Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) to help grow business. Further, availability of incentives ranked higher than broad destination collaboration as the primary indicator of community support contributing to a destination’s overall appeal.
The first essential component is the print edition of The Brandywine Traveler, a curated souvenir booklet providing insights into the engaging aspects of the traveler's journey along the scenic byways of the Brandywine Valley. It tells the stories of the alluring attractions and historic downtowns through a superior quality publication presented by Fig Industries, the producers of FIG magazines. Support is provided by a collaborative of select destinations guiding the visitor with links taking them to their next destination. It's an engaging process that creates a sense of preference before the experience.
So this is not a marketing initiative in the conventional sense. It is the beginning of an open-form consortium of stakeholders, each of which act as a gateway to the whole. This is because every traveler will use a website to get information to complete the action that converts them from a curious browser to an engaged guest. We each are a gateway to the opportunities that West Chester and the region offer. Simply adding web links of the places visitors may also enjoy will help fulfill the scope of the experience that our traveling friends expect.
In short, the philosophy is that we don't market at people, or even to people. We market for them and with them.
The Brandywine Traveler booklet = More than a brochure, but not a full-blown book, it is the flagship publication that tells the intimate and engaging stories of highlighted attractions in the Brandywine Valley.
e-book = updatable free e-book offering an entirely new platform.
Facebook = a dedicated facebook page that reaches our target audience.
webpage = a webpage that can act as a landing page and informational site.
e-mail = use of complimentary opt-in e-mail lists.
itineraries = suggested trips with maps highlighting attractions.
Supporting articles & links =
- Classic Towns of Philadelphia
- Pennsylvania Vacation Guide
- Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce
Initial Area Attractions
- Chester County Historical Society
- Brandywine River Museum of Art
- Chester County Arts Association
- Delaware Museum of Natural History
- Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast
- Nemours Mansion & Gardens
- Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center
Media Partners (reach = 2,090,000):
- Pennsylvania Vacation Magazine (450k)
- Chester County Conference & Visitor Bureau (100k)
- AAA World Magazine Brandywine Valley feature (800k)
- Philadelphia Conference Center Visitors Guide (120k)
- Brandywine Visitors Channel (300k)
- Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce (30k)
- Cheese Plates & Room Service (blog)
"The essence of the Brandywine Valley is its beauty and wonderful attractions. It is up to us to share it."
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The Brandywine Traveler is supported by the Borough of West Chester, West Chester Business Improvement District, and West Chester FIG.