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Archive for the ‘Municipal Tourism Websites’ Category

Culinary Tourism Websites

Communities of all sizes in North America have discovered that their efforts to promote tourism as a pillar of economic development can gain a big advantage if they include culinary tourism among their offerings.

Since the turn of this century culinary tourism has become an industry within an industry, as statistics have revealed tremendous growth in the number of communities developing culinary tourism programs, and specialized organizations have sprung up to provide resources for such programs and develop best practices.

While tourism development organizations are fortunate to have these resources to build on, they should be guided by one overriding success factor – collaboration. A culinary tourism initiative cannot succeed without enthusiastic collaboration among the various organizations within the supply chain, with strong leadership usually provided by the tourism development or economic development organization. Collaboration is particularly essential to maintaining a high-quality website that promotes the program and is one of the most important factors in its success.

Key Concepts and Trends in Culinary Tourism

In its broadest sense, Culinary Tourism is defined as the pursuit of unique and memorable culinary experiences of all kinds, often while travelling, but one can also be a culinary tourist at home. In fact experience has shown that development of local awareness should be the first (more…)

Niche Tourism Websites

A major reason why the web has become the predominant medium for destination marketing is that it permits a community to do far more than just cast a wide net of information and hope that it picks up some interested tourists. Today’s website technologies and social networking services combine to enables a destination to communicate interactively with highly targeted groups of potential visitors and even with individuals.

This explains the recent growth in the number and variety of themed tourism mini-sites. You might want to consider allocating some funds in your tourism promotion budget for building such mini-sites because they effectively fulfill the potential of the web, and make it increasingly easy for potential tourists to find what they want. That adds value to your message.

As noted in an earlier article in this series (“Directories and Itineraries for Tourism Websites,” Jan. 19, 2010), people visit tourism websites with personal goals in mind for their trip. Their choice of destination often depends on whether a site reveals desirable characteristics in a tourism offering.

Mini-sites take advantage of this personal-shopping aspect of the web by suggesting new ways for people to enjoy their vacations in keeping (more…)

Events Calendar for Tourism Websites

The success of tourism websites is boosted immeasurably by collaboration between the site managers and the local tourism industry. A best practice principle to keep in mind is that the tourism website does not belong to the economic development department – it belongs to the community.

You can see this principle in action by examining event calendars. Most tourism websites offer a calendar of events on their home pages to show prospective visitors what time specific products will be offered in coming weeks or months. But many of the event calendars are nothing more than that – stand alone calendars! Website visitors can search only by clicking on dates. If they do not find an event of interest listed for a given date they could easily change their plans about coming to your community.

Worse yet, visitors might not find a listing in the calendar for an event that they already know will be taking place. If the events calendar is incomplete, what does that say about the relationship between the economic development department and the producers of tourism products that are important to the local economy?

It’s an important question. Event calendars are critical to the success of tourism websites because they convert viewers to visitors by (more…)

Directories and Itineraries for Tourism Websites

If you are planning how to allocate funds for a tourism website, one of your top priorities should be the creation of a database of tourism assets. It should be the best that your budget can possibly afford.

Tourism Asset Database and Directory

The database holds information that supports directories and itineraries for visitors to find from the home page of your site. The importance of these cannot be overstated.

Why? Because the primary function of a tourism website is not to promote awareness, or merely to tell visitors that your community offers certain tourism products. It is to answer their questions.

Every tourist or tourist group visits your site with personal goals in mind for their trip. Their choice of destination often depends on whether it has specific characteristics that are individually important, such as the availability of vegetarian foods or children’s playgrounds or wheelchair accessibility. They hope – no, they expect – to find such information on the Web and will choose to travel to the place that (more…)

New Trends in Municipal Tourism Websites

Why are municipal tourism websites proliferating in North America and becoming ever more creative and technically sophisticated? Because they are recognized as one of a community’s most important economic development tools.

Many communities, especially in small to mid-sized population regions, have turned to tourism as a way to combat declines in traditional industries. The economic impact of municipal tourism promotion reaches deeply into the community, increasing the growth and retention of tourism operators and the spill-over effect of tourism spending, which is re-invested throughout the community.

Dollars spent developing tourist attractions and promotions can bring significant returns. Research in the Province of Ontario, Canada, by its Ministry of Tourism shows that every $1 million spent by visitors generates $553,400 in wages and salaries.

Websites are the first place that tourists go to find places to go and things to do. The impact of the web on tourism success was explored in an earlier series of Tech Trends articles, under the heading “The New Face of Tourism Promotion” (May 5-26, 2009). To summarize the trend succinctly, (more…)

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