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Social media engagement level greater than that of top tourist destinations such as Orlando, Chicago and Washington, D.C.


Charlottesville, August 27, 2012 - The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau (CACVB) excitedly announces great success with its electronic marketing campaign. Thanks to thoughtful, strategic and consistent efforts, the CACVB is achieving spectacular results in terms of social media fan engagement (measured in likes, comments and shares on Facebook), surpassing, in July, many top visitor destinations such as Orlando, Seattle, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and the state of Virginia. In addition, the CACVB's Charlottesville, Virginia Facebook Page ( received over 2.12 million impressions in the last month.

This translates into a significant increase in visitation for the Charlottesville area. Using calculations made by travel research firm, Destination Analysts, in a case study on a similar destination, the CACVB estimates that the Charlottesville, Virginia Facebook page generates $1.72 million of additional, direct visitor spending per year.

"Our strategy is simple, but effective," says John Freeman, Internet & Social Media Specialist for the CACVB. "We do not use social media as a hard sales tool. Instead, we aim at appealing to the fans' senses and create, maintain and increase that emotional connection that they have with our destination. We offer fans opportunities to renew their ties with Charlottesville and Albemarle County and to share their appreciation of our beautiful area with their friends." Freeman also sits on the Destination Marketing Association International's technology committee, and attends social media marketing seminars and forums, learning how to best leverage technology to promote Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Immediate spikes in business and Facebook fans for local businesses have been measured as a direct result of the Charlottesville, Virginia Facebook page. "The CACVB posted a compliment and link on their Facebook page to my Beta Bridge and UVa.- focused art collection. My entire online store was sold out within two hours." said Charlottesville-based artist, Kelly Keegan.

Local businesses have also benefitted from the CACVB's social media success, often by teaming with the bureau to run free Facebook giveaways. Downtown cupcake shop, Sweethaus, saw a 33% increase in total Facebook fans after a promotional giveaway through the CACVB's social media. Facebook posts giving away two pints of Splendora's Gelato were seen by over 37,000 people, providing valuable publicity at no cost.
"The CACVB staff does a great job of keeping their Facebook presence fresh and engaging, there's a real community feel to the page. We've definitely seen promotions with the CACVB translate into spikes in our sales" said Zach Peters, Concert Promoter at Red Light Management.

Today, Charlottesville, Virginia's Facebook page counts over 30,100 fans and at the current growth rate will surpass 35,000 fans by the start 2013. Always on the lookout for the next trend in social media, the CACVB also engages fans via Pinterest, Twitter and a newly launched Instagram account. The CACVB stepped into the realm of social media marketing in February, 2011. Kurt Burkhart, CACVB Executive Director, reflecting on the bureau's demonstrated successes in the effective use of social media says that he "couldn't be happier with these recent results, especially when you compare our engagement to that of globally recognized, iconic destinations that attract millions of visitors annually." He credits the CACVB's success to several factors, including a strong alumni base at the University of Virginia, the ‘strength' of Thomas Jefferson and his Monticello, and highly strategic decisions by CACVB staff who manage its social presence daily.

About the CACVB
In addition to providing a wealth of information on the area to individual visitors, the CACVB assists tour operators, meeting planners, reunions and other groups to find attractions, restaurants, hotels, and other visitor related businesses. Its mission is "to enhance the economic prosperity of City and County by promoting, selling and marketing the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle, as a destination, in pursuit of the meetings and tourism markets."
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