Serving on a tourism board is fun and challenging. Sometimes we get a little set in our ways and need a good jolt to move on to new ideas. My recent trip with fellow bloggers to Hutchinson Kansas was the jolt I needed. These are some of the things I learned while I was having fun!
- Think outside the box. It is not always the brochure or the printed map or the billboard that gets new visitors to my attraction or event.
- Know what I want to promote
- Decide who I want to tell my story and where I want it told.
- Find a few experts and let them tell others.
- Get everyone involved in the process; feel the importance of the tour.
A recent invitation to Hutchinson Kansas gave me a new perspective on tourism promotion. Forget about the traditional flyers, brochures, press releases and radio spots. Invite a BLOGGER to come to your location and show them around. Do they have to be travel bloggers? Not always. In Hutchinson bloggers were invited and came from Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas and of course Kansas. Not just “travel bloggers” but a mix of interested people who just love to write and share what they know and see and learn with others. This is the think outside the box theory times 8 or 10. This is the “decide who will tell my story” and this is “finding those experts who want to tell others”. The invitation included lodging and meals, which was a real treat for the bloggers.
Know what you want them to see and where you want to take them
In this case the Hutchinson folks had a plan. The group was diverse not only in where they came from, but a mix of male and female, young and old with a common twitter connection. We visited the Cosmosphere and the Underground Salt Mine Museum. We saw a beautifully restored Fox Theater; we experienced Third Thursday downtown Hutchinson. We toured the Amish community of Yoder and visited Indian Creek Bison Ranch. We were fed very well and enjoyed stimulating atmosphere at the Airport Steak House and Carl’s Bar & Grill. Armstrong’s Loft was a personal favorite, a great place to end our Hutchinson visit with Amish pie. All of the “providers” knew their role; friendly, accommodating and informative.
Allow time for blogging!
If bloggers had a single complaint it was not enough “down time” to write! We photographed everything we saw, we shot mini video clips from cameras and phones and promptly posted those as we toured. The twitter line was steaming and thousands of followers knew what we were doing almost instantly. The city of Hutchinson Kansas got a massive amount of tweet time in two days. And all of the posted comments were included in the package deal and the best part is that those comments continue in a steady stream almost a week after the event.
Most important, what did this trip do for me that will also benefit Hutchinson? http://okiejontheroad.blogspot.com/ yep, I realized that I travel a lot and that I just might have some things to share with others. so OkieJ is going to be sharing travel fun from a new blog. Feel free to drop by!