Rural communities benefit when every one of the businesses that serve visitors in their town have a web site.
When people plan a trip to an urban center, they know certain services exist, and Internet research is about finding a good match to their needs. When they decide to venture into rural areas for adventure, culture and heritage, and geo-tourism experiences, their research shifts to learning IF services are available, and they often make travel decisions based on what they discover. So, comprehensive information = more business for everyone. No information = areas that keep referring to themselves as “the best kept secret.”
People expect to be able to use the Internet to gather detailed information about the area they plan to visit. Providing this information online is the most cost effective marketing approach for a rural destination. Why? Because although nowadays people are looking for an “authentic experience”, they want to make sure an area can meet their needs for comfort and safety. That may sound curious to those of us who live in rural communities, but to our guests from larger communities and metropolitan areas, feeling “safe” and “comfortable” may have a different meaning.
Where is there high speed internet access?
Where can I get coffee?
How many restaurants that serve the kind of food I feel safe eating are in the area?
Can I shop? ( Remember, shopping always hovers around the top of the list of activities people engage in while traveling.)
Research shows that as high as 80% of travelers do their research online. Are you there?
In future posts we’ll be looking at:
1. Effective vs. ineffective web sites.
2. Internet needs for different rural tourism businesses.
3. How to create an effective web site for your industry.
Keep in touch with what’s happening online in your area.