Bicycling blogger Kevin Brady does the Lord's work and the Chamber of Commerce's by hosting some cross-country bicyclists over the weekend. He also points toward a tourism-promotion strategy that some Chambers of Commerce probably miss.
Mr. Brady's pedaling guests found his Vermillion home via an online service called Warm Showers. The website is mostly just a big list of hospitable folks across the world who are willing to give bicycle tourists a place to stay for the night. I know how happy a long-distance cyclist can be to trade the tent for a roof and a bed for just one night. A welcoming host and a safe place to sleep do wonders to recharge a cyclist for another long day of self-propelled voyaging. Such hospitality also gives tourists a chance to really connect with folks who live here and build fond memories, not to mention some good word-of-mouth that might bring future tourists this way.
Opening our doors to bicycle tourists isn't the big enchilada of tourism promotion. Hosting a cyclist here, and biking family there, won't bring in the sales tax dollars of a signature event like the Threshing Jamboree. But perhaps the Chamber could round up maybe a dozen members to volunteer to join the Warm Showers list. If each of those members manages to snag even one visitor, then heck, we've just brought another dozen tourists—nay, adventurers!—to our fair city... and we've done it without spending one thin dime on marketing or slogans or glossy brochures.
More free tourism consulting, courtesy of the Madville Times!
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