I was reading one of our local newspapers.
A couple items in a report about a recent tourism meeting were interesting.
The first was about advertising and promotion. Anything that relates to the business of news and the business that often goes along with it, advertising, I always take a look. This case is a story I’ve heard for so many years, I can’t even count them.
This one had a new wrinkle. Members were talking about promotion. One member said they didn’t really do any. “We were too busy.”
In the right place. Right time. And they have to be doing something right. Probably in fact, a whole bunch of things right. She deserves a pat on the back.
We in the businesses of Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, franchise management, community growth, business consulting, and even accounting and real estate and more, smile. And yes, in the business of advertising, we often also smile when we hear this. It’s always nice to hear success stories.
On our side of the equation, we also know there is such a thing as the business cycle. Times can be good, and times can be bad. Good operators in any business or field can be great one day, and due to so many different reasons, the next day be one of the ‘not so great.’
When it comes to tourism, northern Alberta is constantly fighting an uphill battle. The biggest long-term and likely everlasting enemy for us is a pile of rocks. That pile is called, curiously enough, the Rockies.
Towns and villages and cities and the businesses within there have the same problems as we do in in our region. Increasing costs. Taxes. Recovering from COVID. Staff shortages. Health issues and more. But year after year, as a whole, Rocky Mountain tourism whips the snot out of most places in Canada. In good times and bad, one would think businesses across the mountains would not care about ‘promotion.’ But the fact is, one of the reasons they have such a grip on tourism is the amount of promotion they do. It’s constant. Plus what they get for free from happy campers and media.
So, as one business person said years ago, and I paraphrase, “Too much business? That’s like having too much money.” No disrespect meant to anybody. Just food for thought.
That same meeting raised another interesting point. I didn’t quite understand what was being said. I think it was along the lines of a local business staffer saying to a customer, “This town is so boring.”
Having been in business in a few towns and cities, I’ve heard that more than a few times, everywhere. For talk sake, one really has to wonder why any tourist would care about local stuff. A hockey game or school play didn’t bring them to the region. Tourist attractions are called that because, well, they attract people!
But more to this point, Alberta used to have training programs for staff in hospitality. Remember “Smile, you’re a tourist attraction?” Every community can have smilers. Time for refreshers maybe. And appreciation of what we have.
Commentary by Jeff Burgar