May 23, 2018 Share

Mercer is just latest part of N.J. to use professionals to promote tourism, business

This article is courtesy of ROINJ.
Written by Brett Johnson

Jeff Barnhart of Creative Marketing Alliance

Mercer County is traveling down the now well-trodden path of pairing up with a marketing firm to bring more tourists, as well as business events, to the region.

The 17-municipality Princeton-Mercer Convention and Visitors Bureau coalition is among the 565 municipalities in New Jersey that are increasingly deciding that word of mouth doesn’t beat a partner in the marketing industry today. The firm it’s partnering with on a new digital advertising initiative, Creative Marketing Alliance, is based in the Princeton area as well.

“What you have today is a lot of opportunities like this, because, quite honestly, not too many people realize there’s a convention and visitors bureau here,” Jeffrey Barnhart, CEO and president of the firm, said. “And there are many of the bureaus throughout the state also interested in promoting their respective areas.”

These municipalities are heavily investing in self-promotion — and doing it at a time that marketing professionals see as ideal — to support local tourism industries that might be a bigger deal to those areas than one would expect.

For instance, Peter Crowley, CEO and president of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the region his chamber and its bureau partner serve welcomes a sizable 2.5 million visitors yearly.

“Across the state, tourism is actually the seventh-largest industry,” Crowley said. “And in our region, it’s in the Top 4.”

Crowley said the region has been achieving record growth in its travel and tourism economy. Tourism employment is at a high, as is the dollars generated by visitors each year.

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