Hotel owner: Wayne should market itself
HONESDALE, PA — At the April 5 Wayne County Commissioners meeting, Leonard Schwartz said his informal marketing efforts have brought new business to Honesdale and that the county should consider going solo in its visitor marketing.
Schwartz founded The Honesdale Group in 2015, along with Meagher Real Estate, Wayne Memorial Hospital, the Dime Bank, Honesdale National Bank and Wayne Bank. He said the group has since spent $12,000 funding two experimental mass mailings to try to discover the areas of likely business relocation interest. The first, to the New York City metropolitan area, was unsuccessful, but the second has yielded the recent relocation of a manufacturer of insulated refrigeration piping, which relocated from New Jersey.
Schwartz said the group is continuing its business search, but he also wants to increase Wayne County’s population. He suggested using tourism marketing techniques “along with some innovative ones,” to attract new primary residents to “grow the workforce population.”
Schwartz owns the Hotel Wayne and the Wayne Inn, both located in Honesdale. He believes his group’s marketing efforts have played a role in an increase in guests in the past two years. He also believes Wayne would be better served by self-marketing tourism, saying the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau (PMVB) provides “a virtual total lack of benefits… in spite of the large sum of money we send them every year,” collected through the hotel room tax. He lobbied the commissioners on April 5 to eliminate the hotel tax and replace it with a user fee at the same rate. “There’s no way we can’t be successful,” he said.
Commissioners Chair Brian Smith thanked Schwartz for his and his group’s efforts on behalf of the county. However, he said PMVB’s advertising strategies provide a multiplier in reach, for the money spent. “I know your heart is in Wayne County and for our residents. I hope this gets a lot of people thinking,” Smith said.