Pocahontas CVB’s Tourism Summit Provided In-Depth Look at Tourism in the County

On Wednesday afternoon, May 22nd, the Opera House in Marlinton became all about the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (CVB’s) promotion of tourism here – as well as offering a great lunch to the guests.

The event was very well attended with tourism professionals from all around the county gathering to learn about the CVB’s very successful efforts at promoting Pocahontas County as a tourism destination.

Chelsea Faulknier, the Executive Director of the CVB led off the program, talking about the record seasons tourism had here in recent years. She said that since the Winter Season at Snowshoe Mountain Resort is so reliably profitable already, the CVB’s marketing programs are focusing on the spring, summer and fall tourism seasons.

She said that the CVB worked with the WVU Extension Service to provide tourists visiting here with a survey, and they received 941 valid visitor responses. Some of the interesting things the responses showed were that visitors to the county are equally divided between males and females, and their ages are also diverse. Faulknier said the average age has been about 45, so they will be promoting the county to younger potential visitors.

The survey also showed that 70% of our visitors have college degrees; 40% have household incomes over $100,000 a year; 66% are repeat visitors; 41% include hiking in their visits; the vast majority said they had a positive experience here; and many said they will be sharing their experience with others via social media.

Jake Hyer, the CVB Marketing specialist and Makinsey Poeppel, the Social Media Manager, explained the CVB has moved into a new tourism promotional campaign. They have moved past their previous “Uncommon” Theme and the new theme is the “Rest.” The way it works is if they are putting together a program to draw motorcyclists, for example, here the campaign would be the Ride and the Rest theme, encouraging the cyclists to come here and ride the roads, but also partake in the “rest” of the tourism activities they will find here. This rest theme will be applied to all tourist activities, such as mountain biking, fishing, hunting, lake activities, skying etc.  Regarding the use of social media by the CVB, Poeppel cited a lot of statistics showing the number of social media responses has been growing exponentially, and its effectiveness increases when video promotions are used rather than just photographs. They have used a Charleston company, Digital Relativity to produce some great videos and photos promoting tourism activities in the county. You can see some of these by clicking on the below link:


Charles Evans, the CVB’s Snowshoe Highlands Area Ride Center (SHARC) Trail Maintenance Coordinator talked about how well-maintained trails are both an asset and a resource for a community and they also promote habitat, erosion control and educational opportunities.

The keynote speakers were Karen Jacobson, of Woodlands Development & Lending, and Josh Nease, the Executive Director of Mon Forest Towns.

Jacobson explained how Woodlands Development and Lending helps tourism businesses, including restaurants and stores, to borrow the money for inventory and equipment and other non-real estate needs to become successful.

Nease talked about 12 towns, including both Marlinton and Durbin in Pocahontas County, have banded together with the Mon Forest to help each meet their needs through grant writing, organizational development and recreational projects, such as the 400-mile Monday Lick Trail system here in the county. He said member towns can jointly apply for grants to have a better opportunity to meet their needs.

Everyone learned about the CVB’s tourism efforts, but they also learned by communicating with fellow tourism industry professionals in the audience.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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