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Strathcona County Weekend Itineraries Blog

Submitted ByStrathcona County

A weekly blog, weekend itineraries, has been underway since June 2020 to build awareness of tourism offerings within Strathcona County and encourage residents and visitors to support local businesses.

Purpose of the project

Each weekly blog post follows the same basic framework:

  • An activity or experience
  • A local restaurant
  • A local shop

The blog posts are snapshots of suggestions while pushing readers to find more information through our channels or the mentioned businesses. When the blog began, it was expected to help businesses and tourism operators through awareness of their business. It is also working to change the perception that Strathcona County isn’t a desirable tourist destination. Due to the municipality only recently moving into the tourism realm, there is a need for education among the residents on the fantastic tourism offerings and assets that are found here. As our biggest market is Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR), increasing awareness of local offerings is paramount to success.

Effectiveness and Objectives

While the blog is used to help suggest ways that people can support the local economy, it also has the added benefit of improving the county’s tourism Search Engine Optimization. Hosting the content on our website and utilizing specific keywords has resulted in our content being prevalent on Google when searching “weekend Strathcona County” or “what’s happening Strathcona County.” This is helping to elevate tourism content when outside sources are looking for information, and it is helping the county be recognized as the industry leader. These objectives are all essential to business retention and expansion efforts, and they work to build a stronger quality of life. Through economic diversification efforts such as tourism, the local economy will strengthen and provide business owners and entrepreneurs with more opportunities.

Quantitatively, we have recorded over a hundred thousand impressions for the year to date for an annual growth rate of 257%. Of note is that these numbers have been achieved through organic content, and no promotional efforts (i.e. boosting) have taken place.

Qualitatively, we showcased a business a few weeks after it opened its doors, and the owner informed us that this helped them to go viral and increase sales. This specific post alone has just under 11,000 impressions on Facebook.

Challenges faced

There has been a challenge of not wanting to appear like certain businesses are being favoured in our promotional attempts. There have also been businesses requesting to be featured that aren’t tourism businesses (for example, a home contracting company). This has required stringent requirements for a business to be considered, such as whether or not tourists visiting the community can utilize their services. Businesses are also only allowed to be featured once per calendar year to allow multiple businesses the opportunity. These challenges have been relatively minimal to date; however, they likely will increase as the blog grows in popularity and more business owners look to utilize the promotion.

Target audience

Currently, the audience is mainly residents of Strathcona County. This helps to reach the VFR market and increase local spending patterns to reduce economic leakage. There are plans to expand the blogs to other social media platforms such as Instagram. This will help to attract tourists as the primary audience instead of residents.