The Mathews County Visitor & Information Center (MCVIC) has been serving as the destination marketing organization (DMO) and visitor center for Mathews County for over two decades.
Our 501(c)(3) organization is responsible for serving as the tourism arm and information hub for the locality. Each year, thousands of visitors come in many forms to visit Mathews: day-trippers, weekend getaway travelers, road trippers and RV campers, out-of-town friends and family, or potential home buyers visit the county and stimulate the economy during warm seasons. The revenue that is brought into the economy supports local businesses, and is also collected locally through meals, sales and lodging tax to support the county budget. This travel-related revenue is vital for economic development in our rural area.
In 2018, MCVIC started a multi-stage project to improve our marketing efforts for the county. The organization was funded through the Mathews Community Foundation to hire a consultant for phase I, East River Marketing. The consultant performed an organizational audit, review and SWOT analysis of regional and local tourism impacts for MCVIC. In 2019, the Mathews Community Foundation funded a second phase that included upgrading the Visitmathews.com website, marketing training, and guidance to prepare a brand new marketing plan to be implemented the following year.
EDA grants $5,000 toward Marketing Project
In Fall 2019, MCVIC also applied for funding through the Mathews Economic Development Authority (EDA) to be a fiscal partner in a Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) Marketing Leverage Grant for 2020. This 1:1 matching grant is an opportunity for MCVIC to leverage its small marketing budget, and partner funding with a 1:1 match from the state. The marketing plan is focused on attracting visitors to stay for an extended visit to the county and included partnership with the Callis House Inn and the Inn at Tabbs Creek.
Well when the COVID-19 pandemic materialized in 2020, the marketing plan was immediately put on pause, and MCVIC applied for an extension with VTC to push the marketing project to 2021. Instead, MCVIC used VTC funding through the WanderLOVE grant to support distanced, road-trip scenic tours for Fall and Spring.
Here we are, 3 years later, and the marketing plan is finally in effect for the 2021 calendar year! While we are excited to see how this grant impacts revenue to our locality, we are also committed to running a community-run tourism campaign that will preserve and celebrate the local charm and natural resources of our small county, and support the business community. This marketing project included features in Local Scoop Magazine, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Recreation News, and will also utilize Google Adwords, Facebook, and Virginia.org platforms.
Thank you to the Economic Development Authority for your fiscal partnership and endorsement of this marketing project, and to the Mathews Community Foundation for helping us fund the planning phases. Also, thank you to East River Marketing, and Bruce Nelson for your professional services to grow our organization.
We look forward to future planning projects with the County of Mathews to create a long-term marketing strategy going forward.