Tourism video highlights the ‘Real’ West Virginia – The Inter

The 9-minute video will be available on DVD and on Adaland’s new revised website, adaland.org, volunteer marketing director Karen Larry said.

“The completion of both the video and the new website will help propel us into the digital age,” Larry said. “We’ll be able to use pieces of it in our social media campaigns, which will be a real plus.”

Adaland Mansion Executive Director Dr. Ann Serafin welcomed more than 30 attendees to the gathering representing USDA Rural Business Development, the Barbour County Commission, Barbour County Economic Development Authority, Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, city of Philippi, Philippi Convention and Visitors Bureau, Philippi Main Street and Adaland Board of Directors President Okey Gallien.

West Virginia state Senators Bob Williams and Dave Sypolt and Delegate Danny Wagner also attended the event, which included a showing of the video and a presentation on the growth of West Virginia tourism by Goodwin.

“We have invited you here to show you what we are doing in tourism with Adaland Mansion,” she said. “I can see by the showing that there’s interest in tourism. It’s wonderful to be with friends.”

The video and new website are a part of a new marketing phase for Adaland that was written into a USDA Rural Business Development grant a few years ago and is just now coming to fruition.

“There could not be a better group to work with when it comes to business development. They make you stick to the plan, accomplish what’s in the plan… then they give you the money,” Sarafin said.

Upon introduction, Robert Tinnell, producer and writer for the video, noted the Adaland project has been a “special one” for him as a writer since his interests are genealogy and history.

“My wife has roots in Barbour County, and we have come here often to research genealogy,” he explained. “The Adaland video is unique in its historical aspects as it relates to architecture and period timelines.”

Tinnell’s company, Allegheny Image Factory, has worked closely with the West Virginia Tourism Office and Commissioner Goodwin on the new “Real” campaign that captures myriad unique stories of the state and its people.  The 2-3 minute videos have included locales, activities and people in Jefferson, Braxton and Lewis counties and the cities of Morgantown, Charleston, Huntington and Wheeling.

Goodwin noted “Real” launched in 2014 and focused on the state’s unique assets.

The campaign was a byproduct of an “Image and Advertising Accountability Research Study” spearheaded by the Division of Tourism under Goodwin, and was then conducted by Longwoods International.

“We developed a new logo, a new web portal and created fresh content showcasing real people and authentic experiences,” she explained. “We achieved this by traveling across the state to film engaging videos and build a library of compelling new photos.”

“By creating fresh content we were able to develop and put into action a social media strategy, and was able to achieve these successes because we took time to recognize the critical role research, data collection, measurement and tracking play in effectively marketing the Mountain State as a world-class destination.”

According to the 2015 Annual Report for the West Virginia Division of Tourism, which was used to lobby for additional marketing funds for tourism in West Virginia, tourism is a “near $5 billion economy which supports 46,000 jobs,” and said Goodwin, “$16 million of that is Barbour County and that economy supports 150 jobs in this county.”

“Ours was the only budget that was not cut, but increased this year,” she noted. “We had the facts and the data to prove that tourism is a good return on investment.”

Goodwin said tracking is the key and, with the online marketing tools available now, tracking is getting easier, albeit extremely intense.

Although compared to other states that can receive anywhere from $20 to $120 million for tourism marketing and advertising, the West Virginia Division of Tourism appreciated receiving the additional $4.2 million to add to their $2.3 budget from 2015. Goodwin said she is happy with that.

“We’re working with a $6.5 million budget now. In 2015, we brought in 15.9 million visitors, up 6 percent from 2014. We can, hopefully, increase that number for 2016, putting into action our already robust social media strategy and keeping to the message that there’s a lot to see and do in West Virginia… that it’s a ‘Real’ and genuine experience.”

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