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Virginia Beach’s tourism strategy: Excite millennials, promote winter visits

Virginia Beach may be known for its sprawling beaches and vibrant oceanfront, but the city’s advertising committee is looking to excite potential vacationers about even more than that.

The city council-appointed committee meets once a month to make recommendations to the Director of the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) regarding strategies designed to foster the growth of tourism within the city.

During a meeting Thursday, the committee discussed how the local tourism industry continues to compete with neighbors like Myrtle Beach, Ocean City, the Outer Banks, and Coastal Carolina.

According to data collected by tourism research firm Longwoods International, Virginia Beach had the highest occupancy as well as the largest growth in occupancy — up 6 percent from 2015 to 84.5 percent — when matched against the competition in August 2015.

Longwoods International also provided information about a recent advertising campaign conducted by the CVB. The study used a sample size of 1,400 participants to measure the awareness and willingness of potential tourists to travel to Virginia Beach. The campaign cost a total of $2,445,796 and resulted in more than 1,383,000 incremental trips, and $166 million in visitor spending.

“Every dollar invested on the Virginia Beach ad campaign generated $67.84 in visitor spending and $3.44 in tax revenue for the benefit of our residents,” CVB director Brad Van Dommelen said. “Now that we know what our return is, we have a much better story to tell when pushing the growth of tourism.”

As the city increases tourism goals, Van Dommelen hopes to create a more comprehensive brand and city identity.

Full article here.