By Diana Szynal
This week the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) will roll out the FY2020 Tourism Marketing Grant application. Many local businesses and residents don't realize the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce also serves as the Franklin County Regional Tourism Council (RTC). Being an RTC means that the Chamber applies for and manages a state grant designed to promote tourism in the Commonwealth. Here in Franklin County we have identified our best tourism assets as outdoor recreation, craft beverages and arts and culture with our target market being within a day's driving distance.
Each year we provide MOTT with a detailed marketing plan on how best to draw tourists to Franklin County including promoting many events such as CiderDays, the Green River Festival, and Crafts of Colrain, as well as plans to draw people to the wonderful opportunities we have for outdoor recreation such as skiing, river sports, hiking, fishing and golfing. We strive to attract people to the quaint New England charm of Shelburne Falls, the bustling art scene of Turners Falls, the beautiful serenity of Northfield and the historic significance of Deerfield.
But why don't you see these efforts? The answer is simple. One stipulation of the grant is that all of our marketing and publicity efforts happen outside a 50 mile radius of Franklin County. And what do these efforts look like? We use all forms of promotion in our efforts - digital marketing, print marketing, radio ads, and even billboards. We are proud to partner with businesses like Berkshire East and Zoar Outdoor at trade shows like the one we will be attending at MGM Grand/Springfield in late April. We produce a guidebook that is distributed along the eastern seaboard as well as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida. We are happy to report that all of these efforts benefit many other Franklin County businesses as well such as lodging, retail, and restaurants. We are excited to get started on our next grant application and will make sure we show the rest of New England how much Franklin County has to offer to its visitors!