Market that trail: advertise your product!
Is it your job to market and promote the trail to reach its full potential as a tourism attraction for the community as well?
By Terry Whaley
For a growing number of us there is the great new discovery into the mystery world of trail marketing. While our local neighborhood trails come with a built in local audience the more regional trail projects really require a bit more attention to truly maximize their full potential for attracting the regional visitor or tourists.
The reoccurring nightmare is that you build your great trail from here to there, with all the great scenery and opportunities in between but no one shows up just because they are unaware of its existence. Also included in the formula is that most regional trails can handle a visitor capacity well beyond their local user load. So you designed, built and funded the trail, is it your job to market and promote the trail to reach its full potential as a tourism attraction for the community as well?
Well, why not? Think of it as an adventure in the new uncharted world of trails. Our product has evolved to the status of other consumer needs. ADVERTISING. After a year and a half of discussion with local CVB's and state tourism directors, special event promoters, and even the traveling user, here are a few nuggets of marketing information that will increase your success.
And the number one buzzword that people are seeking is "Itinerary Trip Planning." The itinerary that tells them where to start the trip, what to see and do in route, where to eat, sleep and visit, as well as specific information on distance, difficulty, and time that the trip will take whether it is a few hours or a multi-day trip. It appears the more you can assist a visitor in the planning and comfort level the better your chances increase for getting them to your trail. Remember a good positive experience will most often result in a return visit.
While this has been a topic of great discussion at several of the state trail conferences and even our own Trail Symposium in October it is a topic that remains very nebulous and at best challenging for us. The typical response for our friendly professionals in the tourism field is " show us the numbers and then we will promote your trail" This because they need numbers of visitors to sell their advertising, which is what most Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB) live and die by.
Need trail skills and education? Do you provide training? Join the National Trails Training Partnership!
The NTTP Online Calendar connects you with courses, conferences, and trail-related training
Promote your trail through the National Recreation Trails Program
Some of our documents are in PDF format and require free Adobe Acrobat
Download Acrobat Reader
|American Trails and NTTP support accessibility with Section 508: read more.|
Updated August 17, 2008