By Leeann Doerflein from thepaper24-7.com
The Montgomery County Visitor and Convention Bureau has a new online presence that is designed to show locals, just as much as visitors, what the county truly has to offer.
“You often hear people say ‘Well there’s nothing to do in Montgomery County,’ but you can go to our website and see that there is a lot to do in Montgomery County,” New MCVCB Executive Director Heather Shirk said. “That’s what we want people to know and take advantage of.” The new website, visitmoco.com, went live Nov. 2, but the bureau wanted to make sure the kinks were worked out before they came to the public. The website was designed to look good at full size, on a tablet or on a cell phone.
“Not only is it good for visitors, it is also good for locals,” Schwartz said. “We have designed it to be cooperative. While it is our website, all of our partners in the community have been working with us to make sure it’s the strongest website that it can be.”
Schwartz and Shirk both said businesses have been great about submitting information. Shirk said it is a way for the businesses to show the MCVCB how they want to be portrayed.
One main way that the website helps out-of-towners is the “Uniquely MoCo” label. Each business that can only be found in Montgomery County is labeled with a heart to indicate its uniqueness. There was suggestions on how to plan a trip to the county based on interests like recreation and arts and culture. There is also a page for each small town in the community that helps the public hear more about what they have to offer.
“The content is much the same, but the way it is presented is different,” Schwartz said. “We are still the Visitors Bureau, but you can see the richness of the community much more easily through this new website.”
Shirk and Schwartz hope the revamped events calendar will be of use for both locals and visitors. On the old website there was just an overview of the biggest annual events, but the events calendar will feature events from museums, the Chamber of Commerce, Wabash College, any organization that wants to submit an event can. Schwartz said there are limits to what will be posted, but all submissions are considered.
“It’s not just going to be us, everyone can help build this calendar to make it bigger and better,” Schwartz said.
There is also plenty of information about MCVCB including the Strategic Plan, what kind of grants are offered to tourism partners, its mission vision values statements and other information about what the bureau. Visitors and locals can also contact the MCVCB with questions or submissions.
Shirk said the website reflects a new direction for getting locals to buy back in to community pride. Schwartz added that the website plays into the MCVCB’s three year strategic plan which was adopted in 2014. MCVCB is in the first year of the plan that runs 2015-17.
“It is right in line where we said we want to be when we sat down and said ‘Let’s get community input, let’s work together,’” Schwartz said. “I think it is right along the path that we need to be … 2015 was the transition year, and I’m feeling like we are on goal to take this plan that’s been put together and see some strong growth in 2016.”