TOTA has unveiled the latest version of its annual Thompson Okanagan Travel Experiences Guide, revealing a vibrant new approach designed to produce more interest from travellers and more business for the region's tourism industry.
Market Experiences Specialist (South Region) Ellen Walker-Matthews says this year's 144-page Guide is the largest TOTA has ever produced, and it gives consumers a wealth of valuable and compelling information about the destinations and attractions of this diverse region.
"For the first time, we have incorporated the exciting 'EQ' approach to travel marketing developed by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and Environics Research after years of national and international study," Walker-Matthews says.
The Travel Experiences Guide is one of the key promotional pieces for the Region. It is distributed at travel-trade shows, media marketplaces and consumer trade shows, in press kits, direct-to-consumers, at special events and festivals, in Visitor Centres, and is racked at various tourism and information locations throughout B.C. and in Washington State, Oregon and Alberta.
This year's Guide was produced in the spring and is available in print, as an interactive online book at www.totabc.org/corporateSite/marketing/vacation-guide/, on TOTA's Facebook fan page and at HelloBC. In addition the book has been adapted for distribution on USB memory sticks.
Walker-Matthews has already given it to some major U.S. travel-media representatives when she was at the Canada Media Marketplace show in San Francisco in April, and she says the reception there and at other venues has been excellent.
"There is a very positive response to the new Guide. People are very excited about its new look and feel, and it will be extremely well read," Walker-Matthews says. The Travel Experiences Guide has been on full display at a number of consumer shows including the Spring Leisure Show in Fort McMurray, Alta. and the Calgary Golf Show.
Using the Canadian Tourism Commission's 'Explorer Quotient™' marketing approach, the Guide presents the region's vacation destinations, activities, communities and amenities in a compelling new way to prospective visitors. With insights from CTC and Environics Research, the Guide incorporates the lively use of photos and text to present some of the region's best products to specific traveller types. TOTA has identified four 'traveller types' most likely to visit the Thompson Okanagan: Free Spirits; Cultural Explorers; Authentic Experiencers; and Rejuvenators. For more on this program or to find out your own traveller type go to www.thompsonokanagan.com and take the quiz.
This year's Guide presents informative new sections which emphasize memorable experiences for these four traveller types, under the following headings: Sample Our Local Flavour; Cultural Heritage; Sharpen Your Skills; Restore Your Balance; Retail Therapy; and Experience Our Adventure.
In addition, the Guide contains winery maps, a list of festivals and events throughout the Region, a map of the Myra Canyon trestles area, an RV & Camping Directory, a large updated pull-out map of the Region, a comprehensive Travel Directory of all advertisers, and a listing of Visitor Centres in the Thompson Okanagan.
A highlight of the Guide is an extensive 16-page section on Golf in the Thompson Okanagan, which is also produced as an independent overrun of 75,000 and is distributed in WestJet's Up! magazine as well as through Pacific Northwest Golfer and Avenue magazines – speaking directly to discriminating and well-travelled consumers with golf highlights from throughout the Region.
The Travel Experiences Guide also features a geographic tour of the Thompson Okanagan, celebrating the 10 distinct areas within the Region through a colour-coded map and additional information provided by many participating communities.
Handy QR codes are also sprinkled throughout the Travel Experiences Guide. These square-grid 'bar-code' images can be read by smartphones to let visitors and residents instantly access entries in TOTA's Thompson Okanagan Mobile Visitor Guide, which contain information about places, products, and promotions throughout the Region.