By Nathan Ham
The Boone Tourism Development Authority unanimously passed its 2019-20 budget last Wednesday at their annual budget meeting.
The total budget approved for the Boone TDA was $1,565,958, an increase of $35,558 from the 2018-19 budget year that will come to an end on June 30.
According to the budget details, the Boone TDA is expecting to bring in $1,475,000 in occupancy tax from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. To balance out the budget, the remaining income is projected to be $87,958 allocated from the General Fund Balance and $3,000 in interest earned.
Projected expenditures for the year include $635,000 in marketing and advertising costs, $491,667 spent on tourism-related items for the Town of Boone, $344,291 in contract fees to the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, $55,000 in legacy event sponsorships and other TDA board priorities, $20,000 in sports tourism, $15,000 in public relations services and $5,000 in professional services.
Taking a look at the revenue numbers for this year from July 2018 through April 2019, the Boone TDA has taken in $1,275,616 in occupancy tax revenues, which is $11,910 more than anticipated. The best month for Boone came in August where the occupancy revenue was 10.68 percent higher than expected. The worst month for Boone turned out to be September after the cancelation of an Appalachian State home football game due to Hurricane Florence. In total, Boone’s occupancy tax revenue was 23.1 percent lower than anticipated. Boone also took a hit in October, falling about 7.4 percent short of anticipated revenue. thehollywoodunlocked.com/123movie-watch-spider-man-far-from-home-2019-online-for-free-on-putlocker
The Watauga County TDA experienced slightly better numbers so far this year with 10.9 percent higher revenue totals and Blowing Rock’s TDA had 6.8 percent more revenue than expected.
TDA Director Wright Tilley broke down the recent advertising ventures by the town. Boone had print ads in the May issue of Our State magazine and in the June issue of Southern Living as well as television ads in May and ad spots on Hulu in June. Tilley added that the town also had ads running in the Raleigh market during the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup Playoff run.
“With regards to PR efforts, we continue to have good results. Tripstodiscover.com did a feature on Boone as one of the top six weekend getaways from Charlotte. The May issue of Our State magazine included a five-page feature story about the Inn at Little Pond Farm in Valle Crucis and an article about Susan Graham’s sheep farm and yarn spinning based in Todd,” said Tilley during his executive director’s report.
The town took advantage of showing off the wonderful outdoor experiences available in the High Country with a drone video in June.
“We had a great experience with the racing drone video shoot the first week of June. We were able to get some amazing video of mountain biking, zip lining, kayaking, river tubing, waterfalls, hiking and 360 (degree) video at Grandfather Mountain,” said Tilley.
During the meeting, website views and analytics were shared for the town’s tourism website, www.exploreboone.com.
“The Google analytics from May 1 through June 5 were very good. Page views, users and sessions showed increases this year compared to last year. During this time period, we had an 11.7 percent increase in sessions over last year,” said Tilley. “Our users increased by 14 percent during this time period and our page views increased 12.6 percent from 174,053 last year to 195,907 this year.”
North Carolina accounted for most of the website visits at 61.5 percent. Tennessee was second at 7.5 percent, followed by Georgia (7 percent), South Carolina (5.4 percent) and Florida (4.2 percent).
The top North Carolina market turned out to be Charlotte with a site-visiting rate of 21 percent, which is up 54 percent from the same period last year. Atlanta residents represented the bulk of website visitors from Georgia with 81 percent. Nashville had the highest visitor total from Tennessee at 72 percent. The biggest growth in traffic came from South Carolina. Columbia had 9 percent of the visitor traffic, which was a whopping increase of 116 percent from last year.
The two most popular referral sites for exploreboone.com was Visit NC and Ray’s Weather Center.
Breaking down the age demographic, the 45-54 age range had the most visitors at 21.4 percent, just ahead of the 55-64 age bracket with 20.6 percent. The 25-34 age group had a 20-percent visitation rate, 35-44 made up for 19.4 percent of the visitors, 65+ made up for 13 percent of the visitors and the 18-24 group had 5.4 percent of the website viewers.