Tourism Red Deer has launched a new on line strategy to keep up with the ever-changing social media networks and the more technologically inclined population.
The Internet has become one of the main planning and purchasing platforms when people are looking to take vacations, travel for work and discover new places.
“We’re very excited about the progress that we’ve made. With the help of dollars from the City and the County we were able to start really getting into the modern era of communication and marketing,” said Liz Taylor, executive director of Tourism Red Deer.
Taylor said the work that needs to be done is never-ending, but the new web site allows for new stories, experiences, and information to be shared with potential visitors.
Trevor Tessier with e-marketing strategies said part of the idea behind the web site was more efficiency to find new ways to do business in Red Deer.
The main Tourism Red Deer web site is considered the hub for travel here in the City and Tessier said that it is now more user friendly and encourages people to explore the experiences and opportunities in Red Deer.
“We moved away from a static web site to a site that has elements that encourage and engage you to do more,” said Tessier.
The site launched in December and has already provided some positive feedback.
“We already see from December to December a 107 per cent increase in visitation, and pages per visit are up from one-point-five to four.”
Packages, partner projects, stories and personal experiences can be shared through the new site, which allows locals to help drive tourism to Red Deer.
The new site allows people to connect to the web site via social media which Tessier said is a constantly growing trend that needed to be integrated.
There is an industry portion of the site that allows businesses to submit packages to the web site to be advertised.
“The way in which people consume information is changing. We now have a Tourism Red Deer mobile version with a list of places to stay, places to eat, things to do,” said Tessier.
Brian Siddle, also involved with e-marketing strategies, explained some of the new social media strategies.
Siddle said that it has been found that facebook and tourism lend themselves to one another.
“We can ask consumers questions, give them information. We’re not going out and looking for visitors from far away to like our page, we want a community of locals to get them sharing their experiences.”
Siddle said that by having the content developed by locals regarding events and businesses in the City, visitors to Red Deer would get an abundance of information that they can use to their advantage.
Tourism Red Deer also has a new blog that can direct the public to social media sites or to the main web site, which allows for information to be updated quickly, efficiently, and allow for public engagement through comments.
“Let’s leverage the content that people are already posting to give visitors to our social media channels the best possible experience,” said Siddle.
One of the main points, said Tessier, is that rather than having the different strategies working as silos they are to work as a wheel to amplify each of the different sites.
“The last web site was very static and had been built in 2007 and didn’t have the stories, it was really just a business directory,” said Taylor.
The new site is to be about the stories and the experiences and then allowing visitors to the web site to purchase the experience that they’ve just read about.
“How can we bring the great services and resources that Red Deer has to the people, that’s what this was all about,” said Taylor.