CVB stands for Convention and Visitors Bureau.
How are CVB’s funded?
The CVB is funded by Hotel/Motel tax collected in Braxton County. When a hotel room is rented, a 6% sales tax is added, as well as a 6% Hotel/Motel Tax. Half of that 6% goes to local government (County Commission and/or Town Counsels), while the other half comes to the CVB. The CVB also receives some grants and sponsorships on occasion. CVB's are not funded by local citizens' taxes.
What do CVB’s do?
CVB’s are a DMO, which stands for Destination Marketing Organizations. The main purpose of DMO’s of all kinds are to promote tourism (the visitation of people from outside the area, typically fifty plus) to their respective area or destination. This is mainly done through advertising and the distribution of printed products like brochures and travel guides. Promotion of tourism can be accomplished in many ways, but advertising is usually the main focus of any DMO.
How does MY CVB advertise?
The Braxton County CVB advertises in specialty print media to target travelers with specific goals in mind. The CVB also advertises digitally through social media and through search engine key words. We produce many printed pieces which promote our area and distribute them throughout the state and beyond. The CVB also produces press releases and invites media outlets to cover area activities. The CVB sponsors events that offer the potential for outside/tourist interest. The CVB runs numerous social medial accounts to further extend our reach. The CVB aids travelers and event planners in making local connections and finding resources to help their efforts have the maximum impact.
Are CVB’s the same thing as a chamber of commerce?
CVB’s are not the same thing as a chamber of commerce. Chambers are usually associations comprised of local businesses to help each other reach common goals. Typically, the goals are regionally based and are seldom aimed at meeting the needs of travelers to the area, but primarily serve to support local businesses' needs. Chambers and CVB’s can often use each other for resource gathering and networking. However, their respective goals will seldom be exactly the same. The bottom line is CVB's are focused on tourism, chambers of commerce are focused on the businesses in the community.
Are CVB’s Economic Development Authorities (EDA)?
CVB’s are not Economic Development Authorities. The goal of EDA’s are to stimulate economic growth in their area by encouraging business development to fill underdeveloped markets and put to work underutilized skills and talents of the people in their area. Their goals can sometimes relate to tourism, if the conditions are right for it, however this doesn’t necessarily have to be a goal of an EDA. The bottom line is CVB's are focused on tourism to an area, EDA's are focused on economic development in the area.
Do my tax dollars fund CVB efforts?
Your tax dollars DO NOT fund the CVB in any way, unless you have rented a hotel room in Braxton County and paid tax on that room. Our CVB, as all of West Virginia's CVB's, are funded almost 100% by the hotel/motel taxes collected by the Braxton County's lodging establishments. The CVB is merely an entity set up by the State of West Virginia to promote tourism in its area and operates on the tax revenue charged on overnight stays.
Why don’t I see the CVB’s advertising efforts?
It is typical for a CVB to market nearly exclusively to potential travelers that live outside the area, or further, depending on the area and messaging. CVB’s understand how it can be confusing to their local residents to know the CVB is spending funds on efforts that they can't see. However, while plenty of marketing is going on, residents of that area are not the target market for that advertising as residents already live in the area and likely don't need to stay overnight in one of our lodging establishments. A CVB’s job is to get other people (tourists, visitors, vacationers, etc...) into the area to stay in our hotels and spend THEIR money thus raising the cash flow in the represented area. As one CVB director once said, “I import money!” CVB's often remind themselves that their role is to "put heads on beds". Everything we do must relate to that goal, otherwise CVBs will go without funding or decrease their funding.
Why doesn’t the CVB put on more events?
CVB's are "marketers" of the area's attractions, events and tourism related activities. Events require staffing and incredible amounts of time and resources. Most CVB’s do not have much staff and that staff has limited time. For instance, our CVB has one full time staff, called the Executive Director, and one weekend part time staff. Often a CVB has to determine what efforts will have the most positive and measurable impact on the area they represent. So, often, lower-effort/higher-reward activities can be taken on by our CVB, but high-effort/high staffing activities are not an option. Sometimes CVB’s will plan some events if by doing so, the trade-off is worth-while. The bottom line here is CVB's are charged with "marketing and supporting" events in the county, but not organizing them.
Why does the CVB talk so much about the Flatwoods Monster?
As a resident of Braxton County, we completely understand how you might be tired of hearing about the Flatwoods Monster. Sometimes we get tired of it too. However, the fact is it’s one of our most popular and well-known subjects and the traveling public can’t seem to get enough of it. If you can, try to look at your area the same way you look at Weston with it’s Asylum, Point Pleasant with the Mothman, or on a bigger scale, Florida and Disney World.
It is typical for a CVB, or anyone who markets effectively, to utilize something that is wholly unique to the area as the entry point for potential new customers. Our goal is not just to promote the Monster, but to use the Monster as an “attention grabber” to cause a new potential traveler to stop what they are doing and learn more about our area. We’ve seen this in action time and time again, and it works. The bottom line is; "you go with what you’ve got." What is unique to our area, and for us, our Flatwoods Monster is uniquely ours and brings in tourism dollars every day. The CVB appreciates your tolerance of what must feel like over-saturation, however it only feels that way if you live here. The outside world will only perceive a glimpse of what we do, so we must make it count.
Why does the Visitors Center double as the Flatwoods Monster Museum?
Our visitors center has always had displays relating to the Flatwoods Monster. However, after our move to Main Street in Sutton, we had so much more space that it was easy to display more items to the point where we developed a full-fledged museum. Given that the demand for one existed, and we had a lot of room in the new building, we just "bill" a section of the space as "The Flatwoods Monster Museum." This has brought droves of visitors interested in paranormal activity, local oddities, and UFO "junkies".
Why did the CVB move to Sutton?
The Braxton County CVB moved to 208 Main Street in Sutton, for a number of reasons. The main reasons being our new building was very reasonably priced and the move made it possible to have more funds left for marketing, as we own the building vs. previously paying rent. The new building also allowed the CVB is have complete control over its space. In our old location, the CVB had to share space with other entities, making us "stand out" far less than we do now. Another good reason is that Sutton is the County Seat of Braxton-the geographic center of WV, so it seemed to our CVB that this was a good fit.
Didn't the CVB lose traffic by moving to its current location?
It is reasonable for this thought to occur to residents in the area but, the truth is, our visitation has tripled or quadrupled! Given we were able to move into a larger space, we have the ability to expand our Flatwoods Monster displays, which in turn increased the legitimacy of our collection and has attracted more visitors. We’ve noticed a marked increase in the "historic tourist," those who are interested in our country's past-historic buildings, and a glimpse of what old, small towns used to look like. Sutton still has a lot to offer those historic tourists. Our new office occupies a building which was built in 1910. This is yet another reason why visitors come and we are seeing the increase. It makes us unique, and in the tourism marketing world, unique is a good thing!
Do you sponsor local events?
The CVB does sponsor some local events. If you’ve read all the questions and answers above, you’ve probably noticed a pattern emerging and you’ve probably already guessed that we will give preferential treatment to those events which will have the highest likelihood of drawing in outside travelers, tourists, vacationers, and over-night stays. On top of that we can only budget so much for sponsorship of local events, and there are many events that we sponsor every year. If there is a tourism related event which wants to inquire about CVB funding, it’s always best to approach us early. Even if the CVB cannot sponsor a local event financially, it will always be happy to discuss spreading the word via our social media marketing. We will also provide you space on our literature racks at the Visitors Center.
Do you sponsor local organizations?
The CVB does sponsor local organizations, however similar constrains-like the ones given in the answer above will be present. Is the organization tourism related? Does the organization reach out to tourists, out of county visitors, who may stay overnight in one of our hotels? Remember, the only way a CVB is funded is by hotel/motel tax charged to an overnight stay, so it is imperative that any entity that the CVB sponsors be tourism related. We encourage local organizations to provide the CVB with their brochures, flyers, etc. for the Visitors Center.
Can I request sponsorship?
You can request sponsorship from the CVB. The CVB has a sponsorship request form that will require submission. Be sure to read the questions and responses above to understand our limitations concerning sponsorship. We have stringent requirements about your organization's marketing time line and efforts. Obviously, if your event is not marketed to bring in tourists and visitors, but is solely a local event with local attendees, it will not meet the CVB sponsorship requirement. Even if the CVB cannot sponsor a local organization, if the organization is tourism related, we can always help with spreading the word via our social media marketing. We will also stock your organization's brochures, posters, flyers, etc., at the Visitors Center.
Is the CVB a non-profit organization?
Yes, the Braxton County CVB is a non-profit organization. Our official IRS designation is 501 (c) 6. This is similar to (c) 3. However, donations made to the CVB are not tax deductible.
Why do you sell things at your office if you’re supposed to be non-profit?
CVB's are absolutely allowed to sell souvenirs from the area. Many CVB's even have full scale stores marketing the area. Anything a CVB can do to market the area it represents is a good thing. We discovered early on, after our move to Sutton, that visitors to our store front were disappointed about having to leave without a souvenir. Since we are in the business of providing a good visitor experience, we obliged by keeping limited items on hand to sell to visitors. We try to price everything as inexpensively as possible, because everyone likes affordable things and we aren’t in the business of making a profit. The bottom line is, folks are walking around "advertising" for Braxton County when they buy something from the Flatwoods Monster Museum. All profits from the sale of these items go right into the budget of the CVB for marketing the county's tourism related attractions and events.
Are donations to the CVB tax deductible?
The Braxton County CVB is a non-profit organization. However, our official IRS designation is 501 (c) 6. This is similar to a (c) 3 with the exception that donations made to a (c) 6 organization are not tax deductible.