July 21, 2014 // 10:26 AM

Garden Spot Village Promotes Local Tourism

Written by Scott Miller

How many times have you fallen so in love with a vacation destination that you want to move there? That happens more and more when folks visit Lancaster County, which ranks with Florida and Arizona as a major retirement “mecca.” In fact, about 55 percent of the people who choose to live at Garden Spot Village move here from out of the area. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Garden Spot Village serves the community at large by promoting regional tourism.

Encouraging vacationers to feel at home

As chief marketing officer at Garden Spot Village, Scott Miller extols the resort-like lifestyle available to those who choose to make a home in this exceptional community. With its rural landscape and easy access to Philadelphia, Baltimore and other urban centers, the Lancaster County location is part of the draw.  As part of the job, Miller often finds himself plugging the attractions and amenities of Lancaster County. Garden Spot Village joined the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau several years ago. When the call went out for board members, Miller expressed an interest.

“I had been looking for boards to serve and thought this might be interesting and worthwhile for Garden Spot Village,” he says. After all, the Village and the tourism bureau share some similar goals. “We’re interested in people traveling to Lancaster County and we want to create enticing environments for people from out of the area.”

For the past four years, Miller has served on the board of directors. The nomination requires signatures from 15 bureau members. As a member of the retirement industry, relatively new to the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miller initially wondered if he had enough contacts in the tourism industry to obtain the necessary signatures. Then he realized that Garden Spot Village had already forged many connections with the area’s hospitality businesses, including The Inn at Leola Village and other bed-and-breakfasts and motels that offered lodging packages during the Garden Spot Village Marathon, which draws participants from across the United States and beyond. He got the signatures and has been on board ever since.

“I’ve learned a lot about the tourism trade, which has been helpful in thinking about how Garden Spot Village can reach people who are traveling,” he says. Garden Spot Village is visible in the bureau’s map and visitors’ guide, website, brochures and at the visitors’ center. “It’s given me the opportunity to explore resources and opportunities that I wouldn’t have discovered any other way.”

Learning and providing leadership

Miller attends meetings for the board and the executive committee, as well as networking events. When the organization needed to hire a new president in 2012, he was asked to chair the search committee.

“We found a fantastic president, Kathleen Frankford,” he says. Frankford has worked with American Music Theater, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau and the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.

In 2014 Miller begins his tenure as chairman, extending the depths of his service and broadening his horizons at the same time. Among the many new tasks in his new role is the opportunity to address the audience at the 700-member organization’s annual meeting. One of the initiatives on the group’s program for this year is formation of an advocacy team to meet with legislators in issues that impact tourism.

In addition to his service to the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miller is just completing a term with the Marketing and PR Society of Senior Housing and Service Professionals, where he was responsible for membership. He also supported a program featuring Dennis Snow, a former Walt Disney World manager and author of Lessons From the Mouse, which focuses on excellence in customer service. The year before, the group hosted representatives from the Ritz Carlton, learning the secrets of service from the perspective of a luxury hotel. Miller brings those lessons back to Garden Spot Village—where every day can feel like a dream vacation. 

Chief Marketing Officer