Janet Day " Tourism-related businesses turn to social media for marketing | SkyHiNews.com

Janet Day " Tourism-related businesses turn to social media for marketing

Janet Day / Talk of the Valley
Fraser Valley, Colorado

Tourism Turmoil. Tourists ” whether you love them or hate them, you’ve got to know that they allow the rest of us to live here. Without their spending, few of us would have jobs or income in the Valley.

So it was interesting to follow the discussions at the Mountain Travel Symposium at Keystone last week. I wasn’t able to attend, but there were plenty of online updates to provide the detail. The event, billed as the largest of its kind, is held annually, but this year’s agenda seemed to touch a nerve.

A few discussions focused on what’s all too clear ” the economy stinks, isn’t going to get any better anytime soon and is having a negative effect on anyone and anything associated with tourism and travel. But people whose livelihoods depend on Mother Nature for snow, river levels and green scenery aren’t natural pessimists, so the symposium also included a lot of talk about future trends and ways to use it to a business advantage.

Social media is the biggest trend in all industries, but it can be especially useful for resorts, golf courses, outfitters, guides, hotels and restaurants. Social media includes My Space, Facebook, Twitter, iPhone apps, blogs and the like. The key is to use them correctly, panelists said.

For our mountain community businesses, that means using social media to get out messages about snow depths, road conditions, news, events, activities and sales. Be promotional, speakers said, but not so promotional that readers are constantly bombarded with sales pitches. Develop a voice, but not an entirely corporate voice. Integrate the social media networks with existing Web sites and e-mail.

Build loyalty. That seems like a no-brainer as we’re all familiar with the Mary Jane fanatics in our own back yard. The most interesting message from that discussion was an encouragement not to be afraid of user-generated content. Let your guests, clients and customers have their say on your Web sites and blogs.

The final message from the symposium was that travel and tourism through the summer likely will be closer to home. That’s good news for Colorado high country areas that are less than a day’s drive from anywhere in this state and our immediate neighbors.

Fat Tires. I’ve been staring at my mountain bike a lot more than my snowboard lately, despite all the recent snow. As usual in April, I’m more than a little tired of winter.

But there’s a light at the end of the snowy, windy tunnel: Registration has opened for the 18th annual Fat Tire Classic bike and hike pledge event benefiting the National Sports Center for the Disabled and American Red Cross, Colorado Chapter.

Last summer saw the return of the beloved bike ride after a brief hiatus and it was not without its hiccups. But organizers took survey results and post-ride feedback to heart and made some good changes for this year: a later date to allow for more snow melt; more entertainment, upgraded rider hospitality, more aid stations, hot breakfasts and more beer.

This year’s ride will be July 17-19. For details or to register, go to http://www.nscd.org/fattireclassic. The event is limited to 800 participants.

So Many Choices. Year after year, the big complaint about our small-town area has been the lack of dining options. Things certainly have changed. A friend and I burst out laughing when one of us asked “which sushi place are we going to?” Who would have guessed that Winter Park would ever support two sushi restaurants? It’s a good thing.

Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com. Or follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DayJan or http://www.twitter.com/DayDreamCrafts.

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