I happily sit on the Franklin County Tourism board. It's a great fit, I love to travel, am crazy about Franklin County and consider it my civic duty to share the great benefits of my county.
Every year Iowa Tourism has a conference and this year it's at Meskwaki in Tama. The Director, Brook Boehmler, could not go so here I am. In this post I'm going to share a few highlights of three speakers I've seen. (more coverage tomorrow)
Patti Judge, Iowa's Lt Governor, spoke at the Opening Luncheon and shared her pictures from her Travel Iowa Tour this past summer. Did you know there is a 6.3 BILLION tourism industry in Iowa? You can read her blog here.
Drew McClellan, local fella from Des Moines and renowned social media expert did a presentation on the Age of Conversation. The old method of marketing was the broadcast format - all info and no feedback. The new web 2.0 is all about many to many conversations.
Google the top 20 brands and 25% of the results are user generated content. In other words, 1/4 of the world is talking about them online - and they have no control over what they are saying. (Nielsen Buzz metrics)
Wouldn't you want to track when people are talking about you? And what they are saying?
Google alerts, google reader, technorati.com, search.twitter.com, and linked in. All valuable tools to track the conversations about you. You can find his presentation here.
Andy Dumain from Shrinking Footprint spoke about assumptions we make about green travel, stressed telling a story about your location, and covered working together with other like minded communities.
If you are highly responsive to change and have a strategic commitment - you will survive! Figure out what is important to your community and start your tourism efforts. there.
Tell a story with your advertising and marketing efforts. Be local, authentic, individual, intimate, involved and impossible to duplicate.
Charleston SC has an ad that has a picture of a red bicycle on a Charleston street downtown. The words say "when did we stop building homes so beautiful that people would preserve them forever?" It was a stunning photo - and a simple message. It made me want to go to Charleston!
Andy was blown away by Iowa's commitment to family. He's from the East Coast and attended the preconference get together. He said that everyone he talked to was talking about family: events, activities, kids, get togethers all involving their families. Go the East coast and that is missing. Everyone is so busy! It's not that Iowan's are not busy -- it's only that we have our priorities in a different order.