21 in 2021 — 21 ways to get more involved in tourism this year!
Let’s just get it out of the way. 2020 was awful. Our industry (and many others) suffered one of the worst downturns most of us can recall, and the entire world was gripped by fear, loss and uncertainty. We won’t be looking back at 2020 fondly, but we certainly can take away many lessons from it. We’ll have to push forward with perseverance, grit and determination to create a better year ahead. But, Kansans are always up to the task! As an industry, let’s start with how we can resolve to better support tourism from our own backyard all the way to the White House.
Check out 21 ways to promote and engage tourism in 2021:
- Join or renew your membership in TIAK in 2021. Yes, it is an expense, but it’s actually more of an investment. If you can’t pay all at once, call the office to inquire about monthly or quarterly payments.
- While you’re renewing your own membership, invite a destination, attraction or tourism partner to try the “Taste of TIAK” and then help mentor them during their first year.
- Join a committee. Membership, PAC, marketing, and more! There is a committee for everyone, and getting involved through a committee is a great way to support TIAK.
- Attend association events–virtually, or in person. Annual conference, educational seminars, and Destination Statehouse are all great events to network, learn, and support TIAK.
- Beef up social media efforts on your MOST popular platform and commit to post at least 3 x week. Lessen the pressure to post on all outlets and focus on your top 2-3. While you’re at it, make sure you are following TIAK on Facebook.
- Partner with local media to share tourism in your town on a regular basis. Podcasts, short interviews or a regular column in the paper are great ways to engage the community.
- Reach out to CVB/DMO boards and commissions about what you’re working on. Keep them “in the know” about how you are working to bring guests to town in the future even when travel may still have limitations.
- Recognize those who have manned front lines, taken on extra duties or just exemplified service during the year. So many people have stepped up–recognize those stories!
- Reach out to postponed meetings, reunions, tours, etc. to inquire about their plans to reschedule. Offer a re-booking incentive if you can!
- Create a “local” campaign. Work with your city or county to offer the locals a discount program, special offers or coupons as a way to thank them for keeping your community strong. Let them know their spending counts too and they don’t go unnoticed. Remember, our residents are always visitors first!
- Send an email to your local elected officials on the top five ways your organization continued pushing forward during the pandemic (virtual tours, curbside offers, free masks, marketing campaigns, testimonials from others, etc.).
- While we are still recovering, update your online presence (web, social, etc.) so things are up-to-date and user-friendly. Make sure your Google listing is claimed, updated and accurate. This is also a good time to clean up e-news subscriber lists.
- Plan ahead and get things ready for spring/summer visitors — tourism packets, guides, maps, etc. — if we’re still under travel restrictions, you can always offer those things virtually or via pick-up by appointment.
- Drive around your town to see what needs fixing up. Is there good, visible signage in place? Do things need sprucing up? Potholes need filling? If so, ask for help to make sure these areas are tended to for optimal visitor satisfaction.
- Follow 2-3 new tourism blogs, websites, social accounts. Stay on top of trends, news and updates related to the industry. Bookmark selected sites for easy daily reference.
- Know who your state legislators are and especially those who serve on committees related to our industry. Have their contact information handy so you can fire off a quick email to thank them, ask for their support of an upcoming bill, or invite them to join our upcoming virtual Destination Statehouse. ttps://tiak.org/events/destination-statehouse/
- Participate in the Kansas Tourism Huddles — these online discussions have kept us all connected and updated throughout COVID. As long as they are offered, they’re an excellent resource.
- Make sure you are connected to your region and utilize every single marketing initiative offered. It’s always a good idea to have friends and neighbors helping to share your message. Get started here: https://www.travelks.com/regions-cities/regions/
- Check in and be present even if not in person. Our hotels, restaurants and attractions need to know we are still here and working on their behalf. Ask them what you can do to help. A quick phone call might mean the world to a struggling merchant.
- Travel. When the time is right and safe, get out there and be a traveler yourself. We need to stimulate the economies of other destinations too. Use “National Plan for Vacation Day” on January 26, 2021 as your time to plan for the places you want to visit in the coming year.
- Be a tourism cheerleader. Our industry is stronger when we band together. Let’s start with an outpouring of Kansas Day social media posts on Friday, January 29. The Kansas Tourism team will be releasing plans for an industry-wide celebration soon, so stay tuned in the coming days for more information. To start your planning, use the hashtags #KansasDay2021 and #ToTheStarsKS and tag @TravelKS in your messaging.
Cheers to a better 2021 with all of us working together (hopefully in person soon) as champions for tourism!
–Karen Crane, TIAK Marketing Co-Chair
Merriam Visitors Bureau