Rural Tourism Marketing Tip: Give Up Your Paper Visitor’s Guide

by Joanne Steele on July 13, 2010


If you’re one of the unlucky visitors’ bureaus in the US that has had your budget cut or eliminated this year, you’re probably looking for ways to cut costs.

Here’s an idea to consider:  Stop printing a paper visitors’ guide.

I worked as tourism director for a northern California county for 10 years, so I know how important those visitors’ guides have been.

If your visitors’ guide was just barely breaking even, with ad sales down and costs going up it’s time to drop it.

You can refocus your limited resources and not miss a beat. Here’s how:

1. Add a blog to your existing web site, and write a new post several times a week. Read “Why Blogs Are Important” to learn why. Think of these posts as articles in your former visitor’s guide.

2. Get listed at all the online review sites and business listing sites you can find. These are like the information racks you used to entice people to pick up your guide… except they’re free, and they have the potential of reaching people all over the world wide web.

I created a good starting list in the post, “An Internet Marketing Checklist For Rural Tourism Business Owners.”

3. Start using social media on a daily basis. I’d suggest that you start with a business page on Facebook. Facebook is so huge, if it were a country, it would be the third largest in the world!!

Within days, social media will become as much a part of your daily routine as checking email. Here’s how: “How Facebook Is Helping a Successful Rural Tourism Business”

4. Stay focused on your ideal customer. There are people who are a perfect fit for the things your town has to offer. When money’s tight, these are the people you want to focus all your energy, time and money on – you don’t have resources to market to anyone else.

Read this past post to learn  more:  “Rural Tourism Marketing Secret: Step Into the Mind Of Your Customer.”

If you are down to one or two paid staff and a number of volunteers, you’ll be able to easily handle these four things, and your visitor’s guide won’t be missed.

How is your visitors’ bureau handling the recession?

1 Joanne Steele July 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I’d like to hear more from Blain Sepos. It is clear that there are reasons for continuing to produce a visitor’s guide. I’d love to hear his.

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