The Office of Tourism has joined with the Maine Innkeepers Association, the Maine Tourism Association and the Maine Campground Owners Association for a spring internet marketing campaign, entitled "Maine Getaways." This travel-packaging program began last fall in response to the events of September 11, and has proven so successful it was recently decided to make it a year-round program at the Office of Tourism. It was designed to appeal to individuals considering a visit to Maine and to travel agents looking to put together special vacation packages to the state.
At the present time, the program includes more than 125 "Maine Getaways," which represent at least 85 businesses throughout Maine. These travel packages may be accessed from the Office of Tourism's web site, www.visitmaine.com. The program has already received more than 17,000 specific package views, according to tourism office director Dann Lewis.
"This spring getaways site is continuing the popularity we have noticed since we first began the program last fall, " Lewis said. "Results have been extraordinary, both from the standpoint of potential visitors checking out the site and from the amount of Maine packages being offered online."
"We added the Campground Owners Association to our spring effort," Lewis explained, "because we know how popular camping is in Maine and we believe packaging their product makes perfect sense for many campgrounds." "This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the Campground Owners Association to expand their reach while broadening the appeal of packaging to many of our members," remarked Carolyn Manson, executive director of MECOA. Manson said her members absolutely loved the idea of offering packages through the state's web site and have responded quickly and positively to the program. "We believe there is the potential for a tremendous amount of business to be realized through this innovative program," Manson explained.
Manson is especially pleased the program will continue throughout the summer since indications are camping and RV travel will soar this year according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. "Studies indicate 75 percent of RV owners expect to travel more this year than last year," Manson said, "and, in addition, the 234 campgrounds that belong to MECOA report reservations are already way ahead of last year. The getaways program is just one more reason for visitors to discover camping opportunities in Maine and I'm glad to be a partner with the Office of Tourism and the other organizations in this effort."
"We can tell up to the minute how many people have visited the sites and what packages they have viewed," Lewis said. "In addition, we feel it is important to know how visitors arrived at the site and what they did after they got there." Also, in an effort to be pro-active in the marketing of the web site, the office used the Internet and e-mail for a major portion of the initiative. An e-mail message outlining the "Maine Getaways" program was sent to almost 42,000 subscribers who had previously indicated through the state's web site that they wanted to receive information on "special" Maine vacation opportunities.
"More than 13,000 of those subscribers have already looked at the 'Maine Getaways' page," Lewis said, "and have followed up by looking at specific packages. In addition, another 1,300 views have been tracked through links to the Maine Tourism Association, Maine Innkeepers Association and Maine Campground Owners Association web sites."
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