Pocahontas’s IMBA Mountain Bike Ride Center & Training on Trip Advisor
In Part one of our recent interview with Cara Rose of the Pocahontas county Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, Cara talked about the Hotel Occupancy Tax, better known to many of us as the Hotel-Motel Tax. In this second part, Cara tells us about mountain biking and how to use Trip Advisor.
“As you recall, I’ve mentioned a few times in interviews that we’ve been working on an effort to apply for a Regional Ride Center with the International Mountain Bike Association” said Cara. I am happy to report that the application has been submitted for the Snowshoe-Highlands Ride Center The application will be reviewed, and then a team of mountain bikers will be coming to Pocahontas County to assess that application. So, it’s really a strenuous process to achieve designation as a Ride Center through the IMBA. But we are hopeful that we are actually going to achieve this designation. And in preparation for this, the CVB is going to be offering training for our industry partners, particularly lodging partners about how to become more mountain bike friendly. It is really important. In fact, in the IMBA Ride Center application, they specifically ask for a listing of lodging partners who offer specific assets for mountain bikers. Such as ‘do you have a bike wash?’; ‘Do you permit your guests to bring their bikes into their rooms or do you have a place for them to securely store their bikes.” These people come with very expensive mountain bikes, and they also like to keep them clean. So, how do you become more mountain bike friendly. We’re going to be doing a training session on how to do that. And it is really important as we continue to grow this mountain biking component of our tourism industry that we are mindful of these sorts of things, particularly since we will be marketing this particular tourism product very strongly over the next coming years. So, the session is going to be held in conjunction with the Trip Advisor training session that we’ll be offering on September 11th. We are going to be offering these training sessions at the Green Bank Science Center in the morning and then at the Wellness Center in Marlinton in the afternoon. We’ll send out information; we’ll get more details out. If people have questions, their interested, they’re welcome to call the office at (304) 799-4636 and inquire about these work sessions. The Trip Advisor training session will be an introduction to how business partners of all kinds, whether it’s lodging, restaurants, activities, recreation sources, how they can partner with the CVB to build their Trip Advisor Destination Page. The CVB is going to be investing budget to support this Destination Page. Research will tell you that travelers particularly are very likely to go to websites where travelers give their insight. Trip Advisor is the number one used travel site, and we want to have a stronger presence on that site. We are a tourist destination and we need a destination page, so when we do this work session, we are going to be educating our partners about: number 1, how they claim their Trip Advisor pages and how they maintain them. It doesn’t cost them anything to do it, and we’re here to help them ensure to get those pages claimed, so that’s what those work sessions are going to be about, and again, how to be more mountain bike friendly.”