Sugar River Region, New Hampshire

Assisting the Sullivan County Government and Sugar River Region Destination Council to effectively develop, manage, and market sustainable tourism in this region through the creation of a Destination Management Organization

  • Client: Sullivan County, New Hampshire Government
  • Partners: Sugar River Region Destination Council
  • Project Duration: November 2021 - July 2023

Project Overview 

Sullivan County, in the west central area of New Hampshire, is comprised of fourteen towns (Acworth, Charlestown, Cornish, Croydon, Goshen, Grantham, Langdon, Lempster, Newport, Plainfield, Springfield, Sunapee, Unity, Washington) and one city (Claremont). Once known as a flourishing mill manufacturing region harnessing the power of the Sugar River, Sullivan County has struggled to redefine itself in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Low statewide rankings for income per capita and school district quality, and high statewide ranking for property taxes and poverty have fed negative perceptions. Tucked between better known regions including the Upper Valley anchored by Dartmouth College to the north, the New London-Lake Sunapee area to the east, and the Monadnock Region to the south, Sullivan County has been overshadowed by its neighbors. In the past several years, community stakeholders led by county government and UNH Cooperative Extension (UNHCE) have identified an opportunity to define, develop, and market the region based on its many positive assets. A crowdsourced asset mapping project launched by UNHCE in 2018 collected resident “favorite places,” which overwhelmingly reflected the region’s wealth of natural resources, scenic views, recreational amenities, and strong quality of life. A new brand: the Sugar River Region, a logo, and a slogan: “New Hampshire Made Here,” have been developed by the county government and UNHCE between 2020 and 2021. 

In June 2021, the Sugar River Region Destination Council (SRRDC) was established as an appointed public body of Sullivan County government to define, develop, coordinate, and market the region’s assets to build a visitor economy and attract new residents and businesses. The SRRDC will serve as the governance structure for the region’s destination management/marketing organization (DMMO). Thirteen volunteers have committed to a one- year term as council directors. 

Members of the Sugar River Region Destination Council along with select University students from UNH will be invited to participate in a 16-session capacity building and technical assistance program for DMOs. The program will provide weekly online learning content to introduce the session topic and best practices from DMOs around the world. interviews and presentations from US and European DMO professionals will also be part of each week’s learning content. During each of the 16 sessions, each participating DMO will participate in a live virtual discussion to discuss the learning sessions and how this information can be applied to support the Sugar River Region DMO. During this discussion the session assignment will be introduced along with templates and examples to help participants apply what they have learned to produce their own outputs that will guide the organization’s priorities.

Major Activities: 

  • Project Mobilization, Inception Meetings, and Destination Assessment
  • Tourism Planning & DMO Formation and DMO Planning
  • New Product/Experience Development & DMO Visitor Services Planning
  • DMO Destination Marketing Planning & Private Sector Partnership Planning
  • DMO Development Launch to Private Sector and Introduction to Marketing
  • Progress Report and an online Destination Management and Marketing System for the DMO
  • Support to Implement the Destination Management and Marketing System & Report on Impacts
  •  Provide one-one-one support and guidance from a team of tourism and destination development professionals in producing the outputs and ensuring they are effectively implemented

Anticipated Results:

  • COVID-19 Phased Recovery Strategy and Action Plan for the destination
  • DMO Foundational Documents, including Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Conflict of Interest Policy
  • DMO Director and Board of Directors Job Descriptions, Responsibility Matrix, and Recruitment Strategy
  • DMO Board Policy Document, providing context and clarity to board members about their job descriptions and responsibilities
  • DMO Operational Budget and Projections from New Revenue Streams
  • Visitor Services Policy Guidelines and Sales & Commission Agreements with Industry Partners
  • Destination Development Strategy to guide the management and development of tourism growth in your destination
  • Branding and Marketing Plan, including a branding strategy, brand identity kit, and marketing plan for your destination
  • Online Tourism Information System & Database to store and organize the content for destination marketing and management
  • A new website for the DMO, including content and technical editing assistance
  • Printed collateral plan and design
  • Membership Outreach Materials, including member on-boarding letter, branded outreach documents, member portal, and invoicing system
  • Visitor Voluntary Contribution Fee Establishment, including agreements with industry partners and visitor communication materials
  • Content Marketing and Communications Plan, including social media calendars
  • DMO Performance Monitoring Dashboard, including visitor surveys, resident surveys, and stakeholder surveys to monitor and evaluate DMO performance
  • DMO Annual Report, formatted and branded according to your brand strategy

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Contact us

  • Address

    3400 11th Street NW, Suite 200
    Washington, DC 20010
  • Phone

    (202) 518-6192