Working together to attract more visitors to Nevada County
Special to The Union
Last June, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal from the Nevada County Economic Resource Council (NCERC) to expand its tourism marketing services. We all know that Nevada County is a wonderful place to live, with a diverse assortment of cultural events, historical sites, and outdoor adventures that are all the more impressive, given the size of our tiny community. But many people remain unaware of our gem in the foothills, and the Economic Resource Council has been working to change that.
The council based the proposal on input from a newly formed tourism-integrated marketing committee that consists of various tourism sector partners from both eastern and western Nevada County.
The money has been used primarily to fund enhancements to Nevada County’s GoNevadaCounty.com website and advertisements that drive traffic to the site, making it easier for people to find reasons to visit or move to Nevada County. The work, which will be wrapping up at the end of June, includes upgrades to the website such as an interactive map that showcases the cultural resources in the county. Targeted advertising will match different audiences with the types of events and activities that are most appealing to that particular demographic, and send them to the appropriate place on the GoNevadaCounty.com website. Nevada County’s outdoor recreation assets are world class, and yet few people realize they are here. With the website improvements, outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for fishing, boating, skiing, and hiking opportunities will find Nevada County when they consider where to visit for their favorite outdoor activities.
The funding has also covered training for community organizations to submit events on the calendar, ensuring more people know about all of the activities happening in our county. In addition, the marketing dollars from the county have allowed Nevada County to re-join the Gold Country Visitors Association (GCVA), a rural marketing region under the Visit California umbrella. This allows a much wider audience to learn about what we have to offer through travel trade shows, and for Nevada County to learn from neighboring regions what works and what doesn’t to attract more visitors and residents.
The Gold Country Visitors Association recently coordinated an event in Nevada County where Susan George, who serves on the Economic Resource Council’s tourism committee, and Valerie Costa, administrator of the GoNevadaCounty.com website, accompanied international journalists and influencers on a tour of some of Nevada County’s most interesting attractions, restaurants, and bars with the intent of multiplying our marketing dollars and ensuring that the word is shared around the globe.
Costa is confident that these marketing efforts are working, and has seen firsthand how improvements to the website are attracting visitors to local businesses.
Google analytics for GoNevadaCounty.com website showed in the 1st quarter 2018 there were 7,839 users and 14,580 page views. Compare that to first quarter 2019, which had 17,309 users (a 120 percent increase} and 28,052 page views (a 92 percent increase).
“Local chambers and businesses have shared that they are seeing an uptick in business from areas we are targeting with our marketing, and the recent Visit California tourism report, released this week, appears to strengthen this evidence with more hard data,” said Costa. According to the report, the tourism sector in Nevada County created 100 additional jobs in the past year – an increase to 3,770 tourism-related jobs in the county.
Eliza Tudor, executive director of the Nevada County Arts Council, is enthusiastic about the cultural asset map that will be featured on the GoNevadaCounty.com website.
“We have been thrilled to partner with Nevada County Economic Resource Council on the creation of dynamic, public-facing cultural asset map as both a driver of tourism and an effective community development tool,” Tudor said. “We believe it will help us promote tourism and workforce recruitment, and show that we are a compelling place to move to or start a business in. Everyone – every artist, arts organization, business, branch of government, visitor service, chamber or downtown association – can make this their own and put it to work.”
Eric Sams, president of Nevada County Regional Chambers of Commerce, emphasized the benefits of collaborating to draw more people to Nevada County.
“We encourage the (Economic Resource Council) to continue on a path that involves stakeholder participation to curate fresh content for GoNevadaCounty.com and the overall implementation of the proposed marketing plan,” he said. “This level of collaboration will serve to leverage each tourism dollar. Simply put, by working together, we can do more.”
You can already see some of the upgrades at GoNevadaCounty.com — the rest will be complete by the end of June.
Erika Kosina, who lives in Nevada City, is a communications consultant and writer for the Nevada County Tech Connection.
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