We were invited to give a short greeting at the ‘birthday’ of the Mufeli museum in Arce, a museum that tells the story of the old closed railway that connected Lazio and Abruzzo through the Valle del Liri. The museum encourages the re-opening of minor railway lines to be used for tourism purposes.
We were given 10 minutes to present what we do with www.discoverplaces.travel, our portal of stories on territories, small towns and places, presented in two languages . So we decided to present a small role-playing game to create an image.
Wherever we go we hear that politicians, entrepreneurs and intellectuals want to turn their towns into a tourist destination.
But what do we really know about tourism and how to attract tourists?
When I was studying the methodologies of focus groups (and I organized some groups on cultural promotion) I had read that if one really is honest with oneself, and I stress this, honest with oneself, one could make a focus group only involving oneself.
So let us play a game where each one is a focus group, to help people understand if we are on the right track to promote the territory in which we live.
The first thing to do is to close our eyes and think about our town. At this point we have to find at least 3 reasons why a person should come to visit the town.
Once we have found these 3 or more reasons we have to think about the surrounding geographic area. Today, each tourist plans an itinerary that could include an overnight stay if he is attracted to an area, according to a set of different mainly personal preferences.
So let us close our eyes again and find another 3 motivations to come and visit the neighbouring towns in addition to the area in which we find ourselves.
Now, we should be ready for the next step. If, however we could not find the three reasons to visit our town then we still have work to do on the identity of this town.
For the moment we will not consider the case of nearby territories that are direct competitors and that a tourist could choose as an alternative to our destination.
Now that we have identified our attractors, it is time to create and relate 3 stories about the three different strengths of the town and add 3 stories about complementary features of the neighbouring area.
What will these stories tell us and tell potential visitors? They will to a large extent answer the question:
How did you choose your last trip?
The answer in over 90% of cases is ‘on the internet’,
Then the reality check question is:
What do we find on the web about our town? And what about stories on the 3 or more strengths?
If there is nothing or too little on our web/site and Wikipedia, then it is better not to continue the game of promoting tourism using social media at this stage, and focus on making our website attractive to tourists by publishing interesting stories with great pictures.
The second part of the game we will do next time!
Come and visit us or write to us if you need help writing a story for the web.