FLEMINGTON – The Freeholders heard a string of ambitious recommendations from a college professor who they chose to craft its County Tourism Research Initiative report.
Stockton University Professor of Business Studies Jennifer Barr presented the findings to the Freeholders at their Dec. 3 meeting. It is the final part of a three-phase report.
Barr calls for “a comprehensive brand strategy;” that would be marketed by a “DMO,” or Destination Marketing Organization. It would heavily promote annual and seasonal events and organize “a stellar social media program, remarkable advertising and elegant collateral materials” which she called “essential.”
Freeholders approved the creation of the non-profit Hunterdon County Tourism Partnership last month to promote the whole county as a tourist destination.
“The idea is to tie all of our tourism assets to a distinctive umbrella brand and to the Hunterdon name,” said Hunterdon Economic Development Director Marc Saluk. “We want to augment the good work towns and business are already doing to market themselves.”
Barr told the Freeholders that “all brand assets should be leveraged extensively” and recommended a partnership with Airbnb hosts.
“Hunterdon attracts tourists already, but the report accurately points out that there’s still so much potential to grow the industry locally,” said Freeholder Board Director Suzanne Lagay in a press release. “We’re now firmly committed to a comprehensive effort to get the word out about the county’s many cultural and recreational destinations.”
The report calls Hunterdon a “spectacular tourism destination” that has “delighted customers.”
“The number of visitors who report high satisfaction with their visit to Hunterdon, combined with the extremely high percentage stating that they would return, really bodes well for tourism in Hunterdon,” Barr said.