Pocono Mountains, PA – The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB) is leveraging social media as a vehicle to reach and engage visitors and potential visitors interested in the four-county region. The event themed around Integrating Social Media in traditional marketing campaigns attracted over 200 attendees and was held at Stroudsmoor Country Inn?s Terraview Ballroom last week during National Tourism Week. Tourism Day (flickr.com/PoconoTourism), in its? 18th year, featured the highly-sought after keynoter, Peter Shankman, a marketing pundit for national and international news channels, including Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.
The morning started with a best practices panel led by regional tourism partners including Pocono Raceway, Woodloch Resort, Sesame Place, Masterminds and Tierney Communications. Together they covered how to manage social media tools, content creation, advertising, creating engagement, time-saving tips, event promotion and public relations.
Tourism Achievement Award winners were also honored at a special luncheon to recognize industry employees, along with member properties, for strides in customer service and community involvement. Awards were given to individuals for Gold Pin Pocono Mountains Brand Ambassadors. Congratulations to Patricia LeCompte, Lodging Management Instructor for Monroe Career & Technical Institute; Tara Brinker, Concierge at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort; and Becky Dawson, Innkeeper of The French Manor Inn and Spa. Additional award winners were as follows:
Cathi Lee ? Brand Hero Award
Brand Hero Award winner, Cathi Lee, has been an employee of Stroudsmoor Country Inn for 13 years. As the Reservations Manager, she is recognized as one of the lead hotel reservationists with increased repeat visitation as a result of her genuine hospitality and enhanced experience, as well as tireless dedication to guest service. Lee is a true Brand Hero by seizing every opportunity to educate guests and visitors about both the property and the region. Her work ethic and enthusiasm for the Brand has served as a role model for her colleagues and as an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Split Rock Resort? Brand Champion Award
Split Rock Resort has received the Brand Champion Award for the fifth year in a row, achieving the highest participation in the Pocono Mountains Brand Enculturation Training Program. At selection time, they achieved 100% staff completion rate of the Pocono Mountains Promise and 100% completion rate of the Pocono Mountains Treasure Hunt. This translated to a total of 942 participants, which are Brand Ambassadors for the region earning their Silver Pin Status.
Janice Goren ? Outstanding Tourism Employee of the Year Award
As the Food & Beverage Director of Pocono Palace at Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts, Janice Goren was awarded Outstanding Tourism Employee of the Year for her sincere desire to provide exceptional service. An employee for 28 years, Goren exceeds expectations daily, both internally and externally. Guests are her number one priority and the proof is shown by the many who call back to speak specifically to her or request to meet with her upon arrival. She is passionate about the service that she provides and consistently excels in performance. She has boundless energy and a smile that never stops.
Paul Fogal ? Lifetime Achievement Award
Paul Fogal, owner of Pocono Whitewater and Skirmish USA, won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to providing outdoor recreational experiences since his father started the business over 35 years ago. Today, Pocono Whitewater has grown into a booming business, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists to Jim Thorpe and the Pocono region. Paul and his family have also run successful whitewater rafting operations on the Hudson & Moose Rivers in Upstate New York, Cheat & Gauley Rivers in West Virginia and Rouge River in Quebec, Canada. Paul is also a mentor and pioneer in the paintball industry. Back in 1984, he opened one of the first paintball fields in the country, Skirmish USA which has grown considerably over the years and is recognized as the oldest, largest and most successful in the United States. In addition, Paul is an avid cyclist; therefore, it was only natural to incorporate biking into the family business. Fogal is a quality of life enhancer and economic catalyst.
Pocono Raceway ? Community Service Award
In a time where community service and social responsibility programs are at the top of mind for consumers and brand loyalty determines point of purchase and drives our passions, Pocono Raceway was awarded and recognized for their outstanding community contributions, including the renaming of this award to the Mattioli Community Service Award in honor of their long history of philanthropy and giving to the local community, the NASCAR community and the world at large. The Mattioli Foundation has given $1 million to each of the following: Borough of Stroudsburg, Main Street Beautification; Mattioli Emergency Center at Pocono Medical Center; Mattioli Trauma Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital; and East Stroudsburg University?s Mattioli Recreation Center. Several other key initiatives include: Mattioli Scholarship Program; American Red Cross; United Way of Monroe County; NASCAR Foundation; and Boy Scouts of America. Over the past five years, the Mattioli Foundation has given over $5.5 million.
Skytop Lodge ? Green Award
The Pocono Mountains Green Award was awarded to Skytop Lodge as a member of the Green Hotels Association and home to two naturalists, legacy of environmental stewardship, farm to table dining and Pocono Avian Research Center. Currently, Skytop Lodge?s Bee Mindful initiative is dedicated to the preservation of viable habitats for birds, butterflies and bees. The gardens of Skytop have been providing a home for our winged friends for over 80 years. Ten-thousand packages of wildflower seeds are being distributed for people to plant in their own communities. Skytop is not ?going green?; they are ?keeping it green.? Their programs support the natural offerings of Skytop, engage their guests while onsite and strive to continue their relationship beyond their visit — connecting and staying connected throughout the country and globally
A special award was also acknowledged as former CEO of the PMVB, Robert Uguccioni was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this month as part of the Keystone Society Awards by PA Association of Travel & Tourism. This lifetime achievement award honors catalytic agents who continue to influence tourism and ensure that the Commonwealth maintains its status as a premier destination and a model for community and economic development. Uguccioni?s commitment to the tourism industry and the Pocono Mountains is unmatched. He saw beyond the borders of the four-county Pocono Mountains region of Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne, working with other regional partners creating co-branded messaging. He was and still is a champion for the tourism industry and worked tirelessly to ensure it was given the respect it deserved.
This awards program was presented by the PMVB (800poconos.com) to recognize those in the local tourism industry who do more than expected to provide an exceptional experience for guests, fellow employees and the community. Sponsors of the event include Masterminds, MayoSeitz Media, Weather Metrics, Simpleview, Lehigh Valley International Airport, CTM Media Group, Julian James Advertising Design and The Media Center Production Company.
About the Pocono Mountains | Any time of year is a good time to visit the Pocono Mountains, located within driving distance of most major East Coast cities. This region teeming with history offers year-round cultural tours and art exhibitions, abundant antiquing and brand-name shopping and a full calendar of festivals showcasing the heritage, music and food of the Pocono Mountains. Even the most discerning traveler will find comfortable accommodations in the Pocono Mountains, which offers an eclectic mix of resorts, distinctive properties and quaint, country inns and bed and breakfasts.
Pocono Mountains visitor information is available online at 800poconos.com or by phone at 800-POCONOS (800-762-6667). Follow PoconoTourism on Facebook and Twitter to stay current with up-to-date information. Established in 1934, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit, membership organization. The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the four counties of Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne in northeastern Pennsylvania, striving to promote, educate and attract visitors to the beautiful Pocono Mountains. Additionally, the Bureau aims to keep its? members abreast to the latest in regulation, changes in the industry and business development in the Pocono Mountains.