New ideas are changing rural tourism. Now it is possible to reach more people, more places than you could ever have afforded to before. But it’s also more complex, with more complicated choices, and a faster pace of change.
Recognizing that tourism is a huge segment of rural small business, we want to put a special focus on these issues. We’re starting Tourism Tuesdays to help you deal with the change in your small town tourism business and your tourism associations.
Some of the new realities we’re dealing with:
- Everyone researches online before they travel, using a huge array of sites and tools.
- Friends trust friends, especially on social networks, but no one trusts ads, especially on social networks.
- Travelers pull up your website on their smart phone while they drive through your town. Soon they’ll be using QR codes and augmented reality to interact with the physical world in your town through their phones.
- Everyone is a reviewer, able to share their customer experience instantly, world wide.
Daunting, isn’t it?
I’ll be writing about specific examples I’ve seen, both good and bad, from around the world. I’ll share ways that web 2.0 tools, social networks, and listening can help you bring new people to your town and your small business. You can share things you’ve seen, your experiences, and your questions.
To give you some more in depth solutions, I’m cooperating with travel and social media writer Sheila Scarborough to launch a related project in September.
Until then, stop in every Tuesday for another tourism business discussion. And bring your comments.
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I can’t wait to read about this every week (and hopefully contribute!). Tourism Tuesdays – what a great idea! Tourism is a vitally important piece of the economic development pie in rural Texas where I work. We don’t have to be at a disadvantage just because we’re small. Whatever you and Sheila are cooking up is bound to be great. Thanks for doing this, Becky!
Becky McCray says
Sarah, I can’t wait to read your contributions!
I’m open to guest posts on this topic, too. So start your thinking!
John "Okie Campaigns" Angier says
Becky, Good story today. We are going to have to meet some day
Becky McCray says
John, with all the cool events popping up in Oklahoma, I’ll bet we’ll meet soon.
Courtney James says
Hard to believe that augmented reality is already here. Years ago you would see it in scifi movies. Now, you whip out your smartphone and login to FourSquare or Twitter.
It’s amazing how many businesses with physical locations pay so little attention to their online presence.
They wonder why the yellow pages aren’t as effective as they used to be in the “good old” days. Meanwhile people are tossing out their phone books!
Becky McCray says
Courtney, in the two years we’ve done this series, we’ve seen lots of progress, but the basic tenets we set out have not changed. And we’re still doing tourism (almost) every Tuesday.