Link Friday: The Halloween 2016 Edition

Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2016 by Kate

The witching hour approaches! Halloween is right around the corner…

  • The good people of America are expected to spend $8.4 billion on Halloween this year. Here are a couple easy marketing tricks to help you get your share of the pie.
  • If you’re still in need of a costume, maybe steer clear of creepy clowns this year. That’s the advice from police, anyway, thanks to the recent outbreak of creepy clown-related incidents.
  • You could instead opt to go as a Snapchat filter, which is apparently one of the most popular costumes of 2016. Memes are up there too.
  • Check out this listing of each state’s favorite Halloween candy! I’m excited to announce that those weird orange and black unmarked peanut butter things were nowhere to be seen in any of our great 50 states.
  • They did however, make this list of most hated Halloween treats (and rightly so). And I’ll respectfully disagree with the inclusion of mellowcreme pumpkins in with candy corn. They’re clearly very different.

Link Friday: The Millennial Travel Edition

Posted on Thursday, October 6, 2016 by Kate

Millennials are the coveted demographic right now. Young, but not too young to have disposable income. Old, but not so old they shun the torrent of technology swirling around us. Let’s take a look at how they’re shaping the travel industry.

Link Friday: The 2016 Fall Travel Edition

Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2016 by Kate

Fall is when the crowds die back, the temps cool off and the prices come down.

Link Friday: The 2016 Labor Day Edition

Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2016 by Kate

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and the season’s last travel hurrah.

  • This is where we’d tell you what AAA is predicting in terms of Labor Day travel, but apparently, they’ve decided to stop doing so.
  • That’s because, believe it or not, Labor Day isn’t one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. But don’t assume that means you’ll be alone on the highways. The cheapest gas in more than a decade means you’ll have plenty of company out on the road.
  • Low prices at the pump mean now is a great time to encourage travelers to pay your area a visit with an end of summer road trip! That means selling yourself – if you aren’t sure how, hire a destination marketing firm and leave it to the experts.
  • Know what else Labor Day weekend is good for? Shopping. Check out the best things to buy in September (pssst – one of the things is your holiday travel tickets!).

Link Friday: The 2016 Back-to-School Edition

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2016 by Kate

Forget Christmas – for parents across the nation, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Back-to-school time!

  • It’s estimated that Americans will spend over $75 billion dollars on back-to-school supplies. Before you try to figure out how many #2 pencils that averages out to, that number includes college spending, which is obviously pricier.
  • Most back-to-school shoppers opt to make their final purchases at a brick and mortar store, but a retailer’s online presence during this season is still super important. That’s because most shoppers browse online and compare prices before ever getting in the car.
  • Knowing that, it’s key to have a social media strategy for back-to-school time (just like other key times of the year you can take advantage of). Here are a few ideas to get you started.
  • It turns out that companies aren’t the only ones making use of social media this time of year – teachers are finding innovative ways to incorporate it into their curriculum. Makes sense, really – social media isn’t going away and it’s becoming part of more and more jobs, so learning to use it wisely is key.

Build a Better Website with Pilch & Barnet

Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2016 by Kate

Our web team here at Pilch & Barnet has been pretty busy lately building some amazing websites.

More are in the hopper, but within the last few months, we’ve proudly launched new sites for the Town of Land O’ Lakes Accommodations Commission, the Sayner-Star Lake Chamber of Commerce and Vilas County Tourism & Publicity.

All three destinations are located in Wisconsin’s Northwoods and are visually breathtaking, so incorporating bold imagery was an important building block in creating their sites.  Each makes use of large, colorful photos capturing the serenity and beauty of each destination, but also highlighting the myriad of activities available in each location. Travelers are able to easily imagine themselves there, fishing, paddling, biking, or just relaxing under the stars.

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Another key element is video. On Vilas County’s website, video is used to generate excitement about everything there is to do and see in the area – waterskiing, paddling, ziplining, shopping. The video immediately engages the site visitor with the season’s best fun and as summer turns to fall, and fall to winter, the videos will change too, giving the site a fresh look and always keeping seasonal activities in the forefront.

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On Sayner-Star Lake’s site, video will soon be incorporated to feature the area’s lodging properties and their proprietors. The identities and backstories of the folks who run these establishments play an important part of the experience of a Sayner-Star Lake visitor and video is an ideal way to capture those playful, larger-than-life personalities.

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Other important goals in our site building include ease of navigation, engaging but succinct copy, clear directives to our other marketing channels like social media and helpful, interactive maps. The common denominator here is usefulness. We’re web users and travelers just like the folks we’re marketing to, and we believe websites should above all, be useful. That’s why we strived to make it easy for visitors to find places to stay, things to do and maps to get them there. For travelers seeking even more info, we made it effortless to sign up for e-newsletters and promotions and a cinch to find more great photos and videos through our clients’ social media networks.

Could your website use a facelift? Get it touch with us here.

Link Friday: The 2016 Summer Road Trip Edition

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2016 by Kate

There’s nothing quite like a road trip to make the summer complete. So gas up the car, roll the windows down, turn the music up and hit the open road!

  • Start with this list of America’s best road trips. (We’re partial to the Great River Road, of course.)
  • Compare it with this list of the best and worst states for road trips, based on things like gas prices, camping costs and density of national parks and scenic byways.
  • A good playlist is key to drowning out the incessant chorus of “Are we there yet?” Here are some suggestions for making the perfect playlist.
  • While generally cheaper than air travel, road trips can get pricey. Check out these tips for saving some cash along the way.

Harnessing the Power of Pokémon Go

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 by Kate

For tens of millions of users around the world, the augmented reality app Pokémon Go is a fun way to pass the time. But for local businesses and tourism officials, the craze is full of potential.

While it’s true you never know when a Pokémon might show up, the creatures are regularly found around landmarks, historical buildings and other places where visitors might patronize, like zoos, golf courses and museums. So it’s no surprise that local businesses and attractions are hoping to cash in on the craze.

Businesses near Pokestops are putting up signs touting their proximity to these virtual convenience stores where you can load up on free items like Pokeballs, potions, eggs and other items to help you on your journey. Some are even offering discounts for players in hopes of drawing them in for a tasty meal and a cool drink. Others are offering up their outlets and branding themselves as charging stations, since the app is notorious for draining batteries. Some have gone as far as spending real dollars to purchase “lures” that temporarily attract more Pokémon (and hopefully patrons) to their establishments.

Tourism expert Susanne Thiede-Barnet, co-principal of the Madison destination marketing firm Pilch & Barnet says for local businesses, this is an easy and affordable way to connect with potential customers. “Players are out wandering about and they’re encountering businesses they’ve never visited. Putting out a welcoming sign or offering a small discount costs virtually nothing, but to a hungry player looking for a place to take a break, that hospitality is going to result in a sale,” Thiede-Barnet said. “And when the game hype dies down, what remains is folks who’ve had a positive experience with a new local business are willing to come back again.”

Beyond the profit potential, Thiede-Barnet says local attractions are appreciating the breath of fresh air too. “People are visiting parks, hiking on trails that perhaps they’ve never thought to explore. They’re taking time to read historical marker signs and learn about their neighborhoods,” Thiede-Barnet noted. “People are realizing and remembering all these beautiful and interesting places right under their noses and that goes a long way in helping them feel invested in their communities.”

For businesses looking to hop on the marketing Poketrain, Thiede-Barnet has a few lost-cost suggestions:

  • Tout on social media that your business is Pokémon Go-friendly. Talk about any discounts you’re offering and which characters have been found nearby.
  • If you’re near a Pokestop or Pokémon gym, put a sign up making note of it and welcoming trainers.
  • For $1, you can purchase a 30-minute “lure” that attracts Pokémon to your area. Give your social media followers a heads-up and watch the potential customers roll in.

Link Friday: The 2016 Fourth of July Edition

Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2016 by Kate

More than 40 million of us will be journeying more than 50 miles from home this Fourth of July. So, where should we go?

  • If you’re looking for the biggest, baddest fireworks celebrations, here are the top destinations.
  • If you’d rather escape the crowds, here are some low-key alternatives for families who want to unplug.
  • Or you could celebrate our nation’s independence in a less traditional way, like taking in a bodybuilding competition on Venice Beach, doing a little fence painting in Hannibal, Missouri or staying up past your bedtime for midnight fireworks in Alaksa.
  • Or you could ditch the stateside celebrations altogether and toast the good ol’ U.S. of A. from a Caribbean island. These tropical hotspots are a great deal during the summer months.

Link Friday: The Drone Video Edition

Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2016 by Kate

Drones have been around for a long time, but only recently have they become affordable to the general public. Prices, combined with the potential for some pretty impressive video, have a lot of businesses wondering, should I use a drone?

  • The drone industry is expected to go from a value of $3.3 billion to somewhere around $90 billion in the next 9 years, if that gives you any indication of expected popularity.
  • For resorts and hotels, it makes sense. Potential visitors love photos, videos and 360-degree virtual tours – a drone video of your property (especially if you have rooms with a view) like this one could be a great addition to your arsenal.
  • For destinations, if your area is particularly breathtaking from the air, or has a lot of interesting notable landmarks or the horizon, drone video is a great way to showcase them.
  • The potential for tourism videos is amazing. Here’s a really beautiful example done by Visit Norway.
  • So we know that drone video can be a powerful tool for tourism. The question remains, do you buy the drone and try to capture the video yourself or shell out the cash for a professional pilot? Remember, it takes time to master the skill of flying a drone, and there are a lot of rules you need to know about where you can and can’t fly.
  • Even if you get the hang of flying and learn all the rules, the video will still need to be edited. If you or your agency is proficient in video editing, you’re golden. If not, having a pro do the leg work is likely worth the money.