December Tourism Council Meeting

Woodstock Cafe
117 S. Main St.
Woodstock, Virginia 22664

Tourism Council will meet at noon at Hotel Strasburg.

Agenda below.


Hotel Strasburg

213 South Holliday Street Strasburg, Virginia

12:00 Noon


Tuesday, December 19, 2017 

  1. Call to Order and Establishment of Quorum

II          Approval of Minutes from October 17, 2017

IV        Financial Report for November 2017

V          Director’s Report

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Stats & Leads

VI        Old Business

  1. Shenandoah Valley Tourism Partnership
  2. Shenandoah Spirits Trail
  3. Visitor Guide
  4. World Wars Brochure
  5. SEO

VII       New Business

  1. Meeting location and time
  2. Artisan Trail/Gardens, Galleries & Grapes
  3. VTC Updates- Stephanie Lillard
  4. Industry Updates

Shenandoah County
Tourism Council Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Hotel Strasburg
Strasburg, Virginia 22657
12:00 p.m.

Members Present:  Nadine Patel,  Amber Dennison, Coe Sherrard, Dan Harshman, Michelle Bixler, Jenna French,  Bill Schumacher, Katie Mercer.

Media Present:  Lewis Milholland, Northern Virginia Daily

Guests Present:  Morgan Brill, Kary Haun, Sharon Baroncelli, Stephanie Lillard, KP Patel

Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order by Michelle Bixler at 12:03 pm and a quorum was established.

Approval of Minutes from Tuesday October 17, 2017 Bill Moved to accept the Minutes and Dan Seconded. All approved.

Financial Report for September 2017 Financial reports will be sent out via email immediately after the meeting.

Director’s Report:
Google Analytics
47% of our visitors are aged 45+ 18% are between 25-44
Top interest groups: Arts & Entertainment, Food, Home & Gardening, News and Travel.
Top countries:  12 Canada, 9 Philippines, 5 Germany, 5 UK Though Ms. French noted that international Tourism to the United States is down by about 20%. The focus with CRUSA will be more regional (via SVTP) going forward
Top States: DC, NC, MD, TN, WV, PA (Sharon mentioned targeting TN and KY for big Yard Crawl traffic)
48% of traffic from Virginia (NoVa, Richmond, Norfolk)
Top Campaigns = Roots Rated Stories (2315) followed by
Leads  “Stats Sheet” was passed around during the meeting and the following was highlighted:
Top 5 Pages Viewed in November: “6 must visit towns”, Massanutten Trail, Home, Fun-filled Weekend, Events, Beer/Wine.
Top 5 Referral Sites in November: Facebook, Direct, Google, Caverns, County Site

Old Business:

  1. Shenandoah Valley Tourism Partnership

MBPR!  Mindy Bianca’s Visit October 31 Inn at Narrow Passage, Bryce Resort, Shrinemont, Shenandoah Caverns, VA Museum of the Civil War, Route 11 Potato Chips, Southern Kitchen
Mindy hopes to tour the Northern part of the county and outdoor recreation on another visit. The tourism will notify the towns in case they would like to


  • Shenandoah Valley Recently covered in Baltimore Magazine and connected with writer for future coverage.
  • Pitched Strasburg for a round up on quaint holiday shopping towns for Travel Channel but did not get picked up
  • 15 media contacts to date in 2 months, 11 leads shared with us
  • Began drafting a press kit, What’s a in a Name Story and What’s New in 2018.


The SVTP will be creating a series of short videos around our 4 pillars to later promote in FY19.  They will be hearing from Appeal Productions in Jan.


A Strategic Planning session is scheduled for January to lay the groundwork for the future. Berkeley-Young is the agency hired to facilitate the strategic planning session.

  1. Shenandoah Spirits Trail
  • MetroDC Cooking Show: Sponsored Beer, Wine & Spirits Garden. 14 partners on site pouring tastings.  Good feedback.  Great exposure for the trail and our businesses.  Survey to go out to participants next week.
  • Trail Gathering January 25 at Back Room Brewery to share the Marketing Plan with participants. Speaker will be Lisa DaMico, Marketing Manager for the Winery at Bull Run
  • Marketing in Savor VA (print and digital), digital retargeting ads, VA Craft Beer, BRO, Edible Blue Ridge.
  1. Visitor Guide: Delay with designer due to personal issues, hoping to have proofs ready to review in January. Final invoices sent to businesses that have opted for advertising. World War I & II brochure content is complete and we are waiting on designer for layout as well.
  2. SEO: Valley Inbound, the SEO firm is creating certified lodging badges to give to lodging businesses that have the Tourism office’s endorsement. Typically meaning that the lodging business is up to date on their taxes and that the majority of customer reviews show positive feedback. These businesses should, in return, link their websites to to strengthen the SEO.

New Business:

A. Meeting location and time

    1. January- Woodstock Café
    2. February- Shenvalee
    3. March- Triplett Tech
    4. April- Bryce Resort
    5. May- Edinburg (?)

B. Artisan Trail/Gardens, Galleries & Grapes: Trail Participants will meet with The Director of the ACV and the Shenandoah County Artisan Trail management team on January 16 to discuss the Annual Spring event and have a refresher session on updating their listings on the ACV/Artisan Trail website.

C. FY 19 Budget- Ms French noted that the new budget submitted to the Board will consist of an addition al $40K to cover the Economic Development part of the office. The budget has also included additional dollars for marketing and funding for SVTA membership.

D. VTC Updates- Stephanie Lillard gave a presentation and handout about her role as Development Specialist at the Virginia Tourism Corporation serving 12 counties in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, Northern VA and Central VA.

Industry Updates:
Tourism Council went around the table giving updates and announcements about upcoming events and projects.                               

Having no further business to discuss, the Shenandoah County Tourism Council adjourned at 1:43 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Kary Haun,
PR & Marketing Assistant, Shenandoah County Tourism