As the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) welcomes back the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show to the newly renovated Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, the organization announced a brand-new initiative: Embark Montco.
Mr. John O’Hurley, host of the National Dog Show, will be making a special guest appearance Thursday (tonight) at The Centre Theater in Norristown, where he will be speaking with the audience after a performance of “The Perfect Dog” a play based on a book he wrote.
The VFTCB’s latest campaign highlights pets in Montgomery County, where 30 of the county’s 75 hotels are pet-friendly, giving visitors and residents the opportunity to explore the area with their best furry friends, and even stay overnight.
“Our team is excited to launch a campaign that encourages visitors to bring their dogs with them, and stay overnight in Montgomery County, PA,” said Edward Harris, Chief Marketing Officer for the VFTCB. “As the home of the annual National Dog Show, it’s the perfect time of year to remind people that we have over 30 pet-friendly hotels right here in Montco. We developed the EmbarkMontco.com website to make it easy to plan your stay, watch our videos, and discover the wide range of activities for you and your dog.”
On that website, guests can find a variety of pet-friendly amenities including, hotels, things to do like trails and restaurants, customizable maps, and a social integration feed allowing Montco dogs to be part of the initiative.
The VFTCB is also promoting the campaign on digital ads and billboards, and through a video – filmed throughout the county – which already has more than 50,000 views on social media. Contests on those channels have reached almost 183,000 people with 20,000 engaging, and the organization will be offering two more including on Instagram, and during a Facebook Live segment on-site at the Dog Show event.
The goal is to encourage even more hotels to become pet-friendly.
Since pets – specifically dogs – have proven to be big business, identifying and promoting destinations as pet-friendly is a trend being seen in states across the country like Georgia and California.
Studies show that the number of households with pets has grown from 36% to 68% between 2000 and 2018. The amount spent on those animals during that time has doubled from $40 billion to $80 billion.
The Dog Show – which has extended its stay in Montco through 2022 – alone brings in 15,000 attendees and 600 hotel room nights for a positive $1 million in economic impact. Plus, 20 million viewers watch the Thanksgiving Day airing of the show on NBC.
“With almost 2,000 dogs and 192 breeds flocking to the region for the National Dog Show this year, we appreciate the growing array of pet friendly hotels in Montgomery County,” said Wayne Ferguson, President of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. “We know dogs and dog owners are often inseparable travel companions, and it’s cool to see Valley Forge Tourism tapping into that emotion with its Embark Montco program.”