When was the last time you developed a specialized guide for your visitors? Perhaps an interactive e-book highlighting cultural heritage in your town, with locals sharing stories as audio accompaniment. Or an app to help dog owners find dog-friendly restaurants and trails near your dog-friendly hotel. Or a visual tour of the natural areas in your region, to tempt photographers to stay in your area for a while.
Since 1995, I’ve been creating products that help travelers make decisions, from articles and guidebooks to web content and apps. With five years working in public relations as the Communications Director of the Florida Trail Association, and six years on the Nature-based Tourism (later CHRN) committee for VISIT FLORIDA, the state tourism marketing board, I’ve worked on many projects to promote outdoor recreation and cultural heritage tourism in Florida.
The power of teamwork brings along the power of an audience. Our web traffic on FloridaHikes.com consistently stays above 80,000 unique visitors a month. We have a strong social media following, with more than 70,000 follower between our Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and on Instagram. A single Facebook post from a springs-hopping tour in North Florida has reached over 2.6 million people. Because we have a responsive audience, when we’re doing field work for a tourism project, we take our readers along, too.
Let us help you see your potential for reaching out to a broader audience of travelers, particularly those who love the outdoors. Here are some of our success stories.
Ocala’s Best Hiking & Biking
This 2016 project had us out in the field for weeks during a not-so-ideal time of year for Florida hiking – late summer – to capture the leafy green splendor of trails throughout Marion County, where Sandra grew up and resided for many decades. We sampled several dozen parks and trails throughout the county to come up with a list of the top family-friendly places to hike and bike. During our research trips, we brought our audience along as we posted trail photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We provided written details, geolocation, and imagery, which the Marion County VCB spun into an online product, an ESRI-based Ocala/Marion County Hiking & Biking Tour.
South Carolina’s Old 96 District Hiking & Biking Trails Guide
It was John’s article on the Ninety Six National Historic Site that piqued the interest of the Old 96 District to hire us for a trails inventory project, bringing a fresh perspective to what their outdoors had to offer. We spent a full week canvassing hiking and biking trails in their five-county area, with GPS and cameras in hand. To wrap the project once we were home, we provided a trails inventory report to detail the condition of their trails and which ones would be most interesting to visitors. We followed up with written content and photos for each trail, suitable for web or brochure use. They opted to create a brochure, which you can now download from their website.
Visit Natural North Florida Outdoors Blog
Offbeat, interesting, and rarely mainstream: that was our approach to developing a series of outdoor blogs, two per month, under contract to Visit Natural North Florida between December 2014 and May 2015. The ten county area stretches from Cedar Key through the Big Bend to Panacea, with Gainesville being the one major city in the mix. My words and our combined effort on photography brought to light the prehistoric wonder of the Aucilla Sinks, the stunning spring wildflowers of Log Landing, and more, with full editorial control over content and timing.
The Jackson County Guide
Brought in to revive a project that had been shelved by the Tourism Development Council, John and I spent two days interviewing fascinating folks throughout Jackson County who had their own unique contributions to local tourism, including the state’s oldest ice cream parlor, Florida’s largest hunting supply store, and a cave diving outfitter. The resulting series of feature articles, along with photography shot during the research trip and additional content written about outdoor recreation in the region, became the glue for this comprehensive guide to what to see and do in a county known nationwide as the home of Florida Caverns.