ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND—The Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau (AAACCVB <http://www.VisitAnnapolis.org> ) and the Annapolis, London Town & South County Heritage Area (Four Rivers <http://www.fourriversheritage.org> ) are teaming up once again to promote the destination’s unique heritage.
With the help of a $30,000 marketing grant that the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) awarded to the co-applicants in June, the AAACCVB and Four Rivers are collaborating on a marketing campaign designed to improve visibility for heritage area attractions and events by enhancing the heritage content of the AAACCVB’s website.
Among the criteria the MHAA considers in awarding marketing grants is the caliber of working relationship that exists between the heritage area and its destination marketing organization. AAACCVB President and CEO Connie Del Signore believes the two 501c3 organizations passed the eligibility requirement with flying colors. “Carol Benson (Four Rivers Executive Director) serves on our board and she has excelled as chairman of our marketing committee. Together, we sell heritage. Whether we invite visitors to get on the water, explore our unique seaport villages, or tour the U.S. Naval Academy, our destination is steeped in history. The additional marketing dollars will help the CVB to bring these and other unique experiences to the foreground on our website. In the long term, greater awareness of the unique and authentic cultural experience our area has to offer should help Four Rivers to better compete with Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia for the heritage traveler.”
The AAACCVB is providing a $30,000 match to the MHAA grant. Combined with in-kind services from both organizations, the total cost of the project is projected at $82,650.
The AAACCVB will utilize web-based tools including banner ads on TripAdvisor and Facebook and pay-per-click marketing on Google, Bing, and Yahoo to drive home the message that Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay offers a genuine heritage experience. The two organizations will augment these efforts with public relations support, social media cross promotion, and a six-part seminar for Four Rivers’ stakeholders on the effective use of social marketing.
Four Rivers Executive Director Carol Benson says the heritage area will benefit from the campaign in several ways. “Heritage area content will be front and center on the CVB website. Visitors to the homepage will be introduced to the vast cultural heritage of the destination and linked to the Four Rivers site for more detailed information. The increased exposure should help boost visitation to Four Rivers’ attractions and events, including our popular Maryland Day celebration.”
To further drive home the message, next month the AAACCVB will be launching a yearlong advertising campaign that invites individuals to celebrate the significant events in their lives by experiencing the destination’s heritage area attractions and events.
This marks the second time that the AAACCVB and Four Rivers have been joint recipients of an MHAA marketing grant. A year after Four Rivers received its certified heritage area status in 2001, the two organizations received $50,000 to develop the initial marketing plan for the new heritage area. Since 2002, the Four Rivers Heritage Area has received 50 MHAA grants and has awarded 71 mini-grants, totaling more than $2.8 million in fully-matched funds for projects that have stimulated preservation and economic development in the region by supporting and promoting its natural, historic, and cultural resources.
The AAACCVB is a nonprofit, membership-based, destination marketing organization that generates revenues for the local economy by promoting Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay to leisure and business travelers across the country and around the world.