How to Make Your Visitor’s Journey to Your Rural Destination Part of Their Adventure

by Joanne Steele on February 16, 2010

Since Dan Marriott’s presentation at the California Cultural and Heritage Tourism Conference, I’ve been thinking a lot about how people get to our rural destinations.

Rural and small towns are reached by car journeys.

What does the “mapquest” route take your visitor by on the way into your town?

For us, the adventure we are marketing begins with this journey. If we leave the route to Google Maps or MapQuest, we miss the opportunity to bring our visitors to town via our Golden Roads. These are the scenic routes that meander past our most picturesque sights and historic delights.  It might not be the most direct route, but it’s safe and sure to delight.

It is the prelude to what’s in store once they arrive in our towns.

People who visit rural destinations are not resort style travelers who want to land in one spot for 4 days or a week of all-inclusive fun.

They tend to be explorers who come to discover, sample, experience and immerse.

Use your web site to show them the Golden Road to your destination. Tell them how to get onto your most scenic route. And then tell them what they’ll see along the way.

Create a downloadable pdf of your Golden Road route, telling them about historic, and geologic locations, picnic spots, swimming holes. Explain what they will see, and note what used to be – the locations of former towns, stage stops, battles and uprisings, and more.

Give them short side trips. I greatly appreciated learning about a 15 minute detour on my way from Centerville, Tennessee that took me to an old time country store.

The Internet makes this all possible. Only a few years ago, the cost of printing and mailing would have made this project unaffordable. Today, it is a matter of  compiling the information, formatting it as a pdf and uploading it to your web site for people to print before they leave home.

Tell us about your town and its Golden Roads.

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