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Part of a DMO team

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posted January 5, 2018
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Greg Edevane is the director of global development for Brandywine Valley, the official tourism agency for Chester County, located in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania. The DMO represents more than 500 tourism-related businesses in the county and also has members in other parts of Pennsylvania and in other states. Courier caught up with Edevane to learn more about how DMOs orchestrate the effort to bring more visitors to an area.
Greg Edevane
Greg Edevane
Director of global development
Brandywine Valley

Courier: How do local suppliers benefit from the work your office performs?

Edevane: All of our sales and marketing efforts drive visitors and planners to our website, brandywinevalley.com. The site is pretty dynamic and not only lists our partners, but it also has a rather extensive calendar of events. There are suggested itineraries, partner packages and tools for planning, such as images and other resources. And of course, there is also lead generation for our partners.

Courier: What does success look like for you?

Edevane: Anything that moves the needle—whether it’s increased occupancy or a higher average daily rate for our lodging partners, increased visitation for our attractions, etc. A positive economic impact for our destination is the goal.

Courier: With so many partners to promote, how do you spread the love?

Edevane: Chester County’s Brandywine Valley has a big story to tell, and the story is enhanced by all of our tourism partners. Each one has a part, and working together allows us to offer our visitors a full experience. Spreading the love from there is easy. We have a top-notch sales, marketing and PR team that keeps our story relevant for domestic and international visitors.

Courier: Does your office ever develop or encourage new tour product to fill any gaps?

Edevane: Of course! Product development is an ongoing strategy for our destination. We work with a visitor base that has constantly changing demographics and interests, and if you don’t keep your story fresh, it will soon be over. We have very strong, traditional itinerary suggestions, and customers love them. And we’re fortunate to be able to offer many enhancements or suggest entirely new concepts.

Courier: Can you give some examples?

Edevane: We are America’s Garden Capital: That includes 30 public gardens within 30 miles, which are enhanced with special exhibits and events. With our wineries and breweries, we have a really big beverage tourism product. We also are increasing our equine tourism and our history-focused itinerary suggestions. And to appeal to a younger, more adventurous group of travelers, we promote golf courses, canoeing, hot air balloon rides and other outdoor experiences.

 

We work with a visitor base that has constantly changing demographics and interests, and if you don't keep your story fresh, it will soon be over. -Greg Edevane, Brandywine Valley

 

Courier: You’re in the shadow of some big cities. How do you make your destination stand out?

Edevane: Shadow? It is a level playing field. We are perfectly positioned in the countryside of Philadelphia, and we work very closely with Philadelphia, Greater Wilmington, our neighboring destinations and all of the Pennsylvania destinations to give our visitors and planners options.

Courier: We just completed another Travel Exchange. How do you work the convention?

Edevane: The appointments—and pre-appointment research—are very important, but they’re just a small part of it. Taking advantage of every event, including dine-around opportunities, and following up are paramount for success.

Courier: What type of regional teamwork should DMOs engage prior to Travel Exchange?

Edevane: Meet with your tourism partners before leaving for TREX, so you can better understand what everyone is promoting. It gives your entire destination a cohesive story for your appointments and interactions with the operators. This also allows you to help your partners be prepared for their appointments.

Courier: When working with local and regional partners, what’s your common goal?

Edevane: To increase a visitor’s stay in our region and state. All of our destination partners understand the importance of true partnerships, and we realize that visitors aren’t aware of or concerned about county or state lines. Plus we have amazing partnerships with attractions and hotels in and around the region, which allow us to enhance our already intriguing story. 

For more insight on how Edevane works with local and regional partners, email him.

Top photo ©Andrey Popov/Adobe Stock