Road Trip Texas
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Texas has lots of small towns, and many of those small towns have little-known attractions or restaurants. Marketing a small town as something other than a place to get gas on a road trip through Texas takes some creativity, planning, and marketing strategy.
Position your small town as more than a bedroom community or pit stop by using some simple and effective marketing tactics to get attention. Small towns can benefit from using a Web site to educate and attract tourists on road trips through or in Texas. Tourism managers also need to know their digital marketing efforts are paying off.
Road Trips and Day Trips
Road trips in Texas are popular because the state is so big. Many people taking a road trip across Texas are going to have done some Web research on what to see, where to eat, and so on. Anyone planning a Texas road trip would know about Texas hill country, the Rio Grande, the many college and professional sports teams, and so on.
People also need places to stay and things to eat. Put your dining options and hotels on the radar screen too. People who know they love Mexican food will be happy to see a Mexican place across the street from a charming little motel in your town. People who didn’t know they wanted either of those things may change their minds when they see your directory listing.
Most tourists, or potential tourists, need to encounter a message several times before they take action. A unique museum or event in town might need to reach a traveler multiple times before they decide to visit. This means a sustained tourism campaign that presents your town in multiple ways at multiple times is important.
Go Beyond a Simple Texas Directory Listing
A good tourism marketing campaign presents organized, accurate, and up-to-date information at a minimum. The page should also be easy to navigate and easy to read on computers, tablets, and smartphones.
Your tourism page should be organized around the types of things road trippers look for, matched to attractive photos (or videos). Organize local services and attractions into common categories that Web surfers expect to find:
- Hotels and motels
- Events and festivals
- Proximity to a famous state park or national park
- Unique attractions like Cadillac Ranch
If your town has a noteworthy historic district, however small, there are tourists who want to know about it. If you have any unique landmarks, you want to list and describe them.
Get on the Itinerary
The solution is simple – create a Web page that advertises your town’s unique attractions and “sells” travellers on stopping there. You might have a site or might not. But, is your site optimized to attract people looking for different things, for example:
- People looking for attractions in Big Bend, or the Gulf Coast.
- Fans of agricultural tourism looking for a place to pick their own fruit or pecans.
- People interested in Big Bend National Park or the state parks
- People interested in unique or unusual dining experiences
- Outdoor adventures
- Fans of oddities and curiosities, like the world’s biggest pair of scissors or the state’s oldest continuously operating B&B.
- Fans of the arts and literature, looking for landmarks others might not care about.
A good tourism marketing campaign goes beyond a directory of things to do or see and tries to reach people with diverse interests and goals. A directory page optimized to take advantage of whatever you have, will get more attention and attract more tourists.
Because Texas is so big and so diverse, you want to use any famous locations or landmarks you can to help orient people before they set their itinerary and hit the road. Your Texas tourism page would list the Space Center, the Rio Grande River, South Padre Island, the Alamo, and so on. The logic is clear enough.
Be Easy to Find
Make your contact regional in some sense. Many visitors won’t know the common names for regions, so they’ll search for things in West Texas or Piney Woods or historical landmarks within 50 miles of El Paso, to cite some examples. Therefore, if your town is in north Texas, in the Panhandle, you want people searching on both terms to find your tourism page. Are on in or near Texas wine country? Make sure to mention the wine trail that runs through northeast Texas wine country, home to numerous vineyards and wineries.
Location Counts Too
If someone is driving down the Gulf Coast on a trip, you want them to learn a few things about your Gulf Coast community. If a young couple wants to take a road trip to a cool place within a hundred miles of San Antonio, wouldn’t you want a couple of attractions in your town to come up in their search? If someone searches for things to do in the Panhandle, and your town is a few miles north of Lubbock, you want your town to show up in the search results in this situation.
Historic Route 66 runs through the Texas Panhandle. This obviously another thing to consider in your marketing if you are in the Panhandle.
Good marketers pay close attention to their results and adjust as needed. Tourism marketing is no different in that respect.
You will be able to tell how your campaign is working by tracking numerous indicators of success. Your Web page will drive traffic to local business sites, which will hopefully end up getting more diners, shoppers, and overnights guests. Those visitors will spend extra money. Tax revenues, room bookings, and other measures of success will show up. Local events will sell more tickets or register higher attendance.
Marketing takes time to produce results, and Internet marketing of a town is no exception. However, you can see early signs of a good campaign. You can look for:
- Number of subscribers
- Time on page
- Number of people who “share” your page
- Links from your promotional page to pages in town
We will make sure you have access to some engagement data.