With all of the challenges faced by the tourism industry this past year, operators have expanded and shifted their offerings in innovative ways, like focusing more on in-territory business through staycations and packages tailored for NWT residents.
Operators were not the only ones being innovative this year.
When the NWT Tourism (NWTT) Conference and AGM was hosted virtually in 2020, ITI had to rethink how it would structure its sponsorship for the training day, a one-day learning opportunity that kicks off the annual NWTT event.
Picking up on the success of the training day at the 2019 conference which included a small number of one-on-one conversations with the presenter, ITI and NWTT agreed that virtual one-on-one workshops for NWTT members would be a good approach this year.
NWTT used the ITI sponsorship to bring advertience, a digital marketing firm, back on board as the trainer for the 2020 conference to provide one-on-one workshops to 15 tourism operators.
These “Digital Bootcamps” included website audits, tips for increasing traffic to their sites, search engine analytics, and social media management customized for each operator and their unique marketing situations.
One of the bootcamp participants, Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge have been in the north for more than 40 years. Operator Amanda Peterson (with her mom Margaret) described the session as “fantastic, an amazing opportunity to learn how to implement strategies and best practices to make sure our online presence is as strong as it can be.”
Advertience performed a website audit for the Petersons and gave them tips on what works on their site and where their gaps are. They also provided information on how to maximize their presence online in search engines and social platforms.
“I would love to hire a full-time marketer to focus on our newsletter, clients, data retention, search engines, keeping up with our social platforms – there is so much to do and just not enough time. We’ve contacted our web host to put some of advertience’s recommendations in place, but I know there is so much more we could be doing. We hope to see a follow up opportunity; information like this is so important, especially in these times.”
Whether it’s sharing messages about staycations for NWT residents or dream destinations for future visitors, a strong understanding of online marketing will benefit NWT tourism operators.
As they reach out to their audiences, near or far, being present and available online will go a long way to keeping our ‘spectacular’ tourism product top of mind.