After a busy summer Elijah Allen and the Montana Heritage Commission are pleased to see the results of their marketing efforts for Virginia and Nevada City showing a significant increase in seasonal visitors through the region over last year.
A recent report compiled by the Montana Department of Commerce indicates that Virginia and Nevada City had a 102 percent increase in their summer 2012 visitation count running from May 1 through Sept. 30. While last years yearly total was less than 10,000 visitors, this year saw more than 20,000 people come through the region.
The increase in traffic is due largely to concentrated effort to emphasize marketing by the Montana Heritage Commission, said Elijah Allen, business and operations manager for the MHC.
“We shifted to a marketing focus, an advertising focus, and really there’s no question that that’s what got the numbers up,” Allen said.
The 17 Virginia City businesses and concessionaries that report back to Allen have also reported a 14 percent increase on average in sales, with some growing by as much as 25 percent, he said.
“With marketing it usually takes about three years to have an effect,” Allen said. “But when we’re hitting it on all angles with e-commerce, radio, TV and print ads it really starts to increase. The third year is where you’re really going to see the big liftoff.”
With the Montana Heritage Commission Visitor Services showing a 112 percent increase in earned revenue, Allen says he’s optimistic about the future of Virginia and Nevada City.
“A lot of other visitation sites are in the negative, and we were well over 100 percent,” he said. “We’re the highest in the state.”
“I think there is going to be a continual concentrated effort on business development, not only to benefit the businesses of Virginia City but to help us to become self sufficient on our revenue,” Allen continued.
Allen also credits the MHC’s success to the people of Virginia City, who made the effort to turn the town into a more family-oriented environment.
“It’s rewarding to me to see that they get to experience live history and artifacts from when Montana began,” he said.