The Greene County Tourist Promotion Agency unveiled its new and improved website on Oct. 26.
JoAnne Marshall, the agency’s director, said she’s been planning this project for the past four years. Laick Design, which is local to Southwestern PA, developed and designed the entire site, which took a month to complete. The project cost $2,585.
“It was worth it,” Marshall said. “Because doing this in-house would’ve taken time and knowledge that we don’t have.”
Funding for this project came from the county’s hotel occupancy tax, which is required by the state. The tax, Marshall said, is taken out of room purchases at six lodging businesses in the county. Those six businesses are Buddy’s Inc., Econo Lodge, Holiday Motel, Microtel Inn and Suites, Quality Inn and Super 8. The tax money is transferred from the hotels to the county.
“All those oil and gas stayers are paying taxes,” Marshall said. “It’s a great way to use an industry to help our agency.”
The new site features a variety of sections, designed in a breathable, grid pattern. It showcases the county’s new motto: Visit Greene, which is supported by the site’s interface. The site, Marshall said, is designed to make visiting the county as easy and desirable as possible.
Users can browse through the county’s history, view photos, download brochures and visitor guides, contact a variety of businesses and resources, find lodging and explore dining options. It also includes an interactive map and events calendar.
Users can filter events to the specific time they will be in the area and see the locations of each event on a map.
“We can now direct people to our site where they can discover more,” Marshall said. “Visitors can have the brochures and visitor guides mailed to them, too. We receive several thousand requests a year from all around the world.”
Marshall said the new site also offers the option for businesses and associations within the county to submit events for free via its events tab at the top left. The events must be open to the public and within the county. The site allows users to post events from both Facebook and Eventbrite, as well.
“The site is built for the tourist viewer who will want details and directions for how to get there,” Marshall said. “Locations to events need to be physical addresses to interact with our map. Eventers, please communicate effectively with our office and let us know if you encounter any issues trying to submit events.”
She noted that the agency is offering training sessions to local business owners for how to get the most out of this site and drive in online traffic.
“We want people to think outside the box,” Marshall said. “If your business is having a sale, post it on our site. There are more uses than just basic events.”
The old webpage, Marshall said, wasn’t mobile friendly. It was dated and not eye catching to click on. The events calendar wasn’t as helpful as the updated one, Marshall said, and the old site in general needed to be rebranded to match the agency’s new motto.
There were slight coding issues getting the new webpage up and running, but they have since been resolved, Marshall said. The site runs on military time, which can be confusing, but aside from that everything is running smoothly.
“I’m happy with the new site,” Marshall said. “I’m thrilled it’s visually appealing and that what I have planned for the future will be easy to add.”
Marshall said she’s hoping to eventually incorporate blogs, where residents and visitors can post personal experiences about Greene County.
“(This new site) is helping to gather one source to promote all of our partners,” Marshall said. “So someone outside the county can easily find information on how and when to visit.”
Greene County Tourist Promotion Agency offers a partnership program, which gives additional exposure to local organizations. Marshall said the cost is $75 a year for businesses and $50 a year for non-profits, individuals, farms, clubs and municipalities. To sign up for the program, or address additional questions or concerns, call the Greene County Tourist Promotion Agency’s office at 724-624-8687.