Cumberland Falls

Cumberland Falls, as this past April while waiting for the Moonbow, is a contender for Kentucky Living’s Best in Kentucky awards. | Photo by Mara Miller

CORBIN — The City of Corbin Tourist and Convention Commission director Maggy Monhollen was excited this past Monday about some news for Cumberland Falls.

“I have some exciting news to share with you all,” said Monhollen, “We received notification from Kentucky Living Magazine that Cumberland Falls is a Best in Kentucky Finalist for Weekend Getaways.”

This is a huge deal for Monhollen and the Tourism Commission. The winner will be announced in September’s issue. Cumberland Falls is going against Mammoth Cave and Red River Gorge as a Best in Kentucky finalist and this could mean amazing things for Corbin if the Falls win.

“I was in on the meeting today with Governor Beshear, the secretary of the cabinet, and the tourism commissioner, and the governor mentioned Cumberland Falls,” Monhollen added proudly.

Cumberland Falls continues to receive further recognition--and not just from Governor Beshear. Monhollen went on to add, “The other great news that I received was a notification from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. The editorial team nominated Corbin for Top Adventure Towns for 2022.”

As far as marketing goes for the tourism commission, this is also another amazing opportunity. The commission will be receiving marketing materials in August to pass out for people to vote for Corbin. Monhollen plans to make announcements on social media to get the community involved in voting.

In other business, the commission continues to have a firm financial standing.

Monhollen explained that she asked for a comparison between 2019 versus 2022 to look at how the commission is doing. “What do our numbers look like from pre-Covid to after Covid? Have we recovered?”

The commission plans to look at inflation, change in the economy, and how that’s going to affect future travel trends, as well as how that affects the total financials overall. Currently, total assets come to just under $2 million at $1,995,829.

“This is the peak of our season,” Monhollen added. “We’re spending money. This is the time of the year the bills increase because we’re planning our fall marketing. We just made a $3,000 payment to the general contractor for the Pavillion. We have a really strong cash position.”

Monhollen was referring to the Farmer’s Market Pavillion, which is still being held up by the USDA before they can break ground for construction.

The restaurant tax has been a huge help to the commission. Tourism Commissioner Sudhir Patel estimated that pre-restaurant tax the budget was between $120,000 to $130,000 through the collection of the transient tax from lodging establishments. To date with the restaurant tax, it is now $866,143 cash in the bank for July.

Another main focus for the commission on Monday was marketing.

Monhollen has had a 30-second commercial created that will be running September 1 through October 16 that she shared with the commission. Monhollen purchased ad time through Spectrum and the ad stream through Roku, travel channels, and family channels. The first market this ad will go to is the Columbus, Ohio area. Monhollen also partnered with Media One, and the commercial will appear in ads for YouTube. The total cost of the ad was $4,000.

In her director’s update, Monhollen was happy with the pre-Independence Day show, but noted that the normally 20-25 minute fireworks show only lasted for 12 minutes and 20 seconds and did not include a finale. Monhollen contributed this to a new shooter taking over from the one who retired after last year’s event. Monhollen hopes to work out a deal with Pyro Shows to get the fireworks show for next year’s 4th of July event for the same price as this year’s as firework shows typically go up in cost each year.

The Cumberland Valley Cruise-In Supershow was a success with 150 cars and motorcycles and around 500 people in attendance. The event raised $400 for the Shop with a Cop program.

In New Business, Monhollen asked the commission to consider using REACH, an Influencer’s social platform that puts forth an effort to connect those purchasing their services with social media influencers.

“After doing some research, I think I stumbled upon something really awesome,” Monhollen said.

REACH interested Monhollen in particular because it is a small business owned and operated in Kentucky.

Having a YouTuber, for example, help promote Corbin would bring about greater marketing options for the city. They could either use marketing materials provided or come to Corbin, for drone footage of the Cumberland Falls for example, and then upload it onto their social media platform.

The cost to use the program is $100 a month. The commission approved trying the company out based on success Monhollen reported from Georgetown Tourism. REACH interested Monhollen in particular because these are not large influencers but “micro influencers” who like to focus on small businesses.

Monhollen also mentioned Matthew Smitley, who produced a small film last year in Corbin called The Arbor. He asked Monhollen if the commission could provide food for cast and crew of his new project. Monhollen asked the commission to vote on a small budget of $1,000 for food. A requirement would be that the cast and crew follow a restaurant list and submit receipts. The commission voted yes.

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