To say times are tough is an understatement, but we are confident the strength of our communities and our people will allow us to persevere together during these difficult times. Soon enough, we will be inviting visitors to once again Come Wander Ontario’s Highlands and discover the stories, people, and hidden gems that make this region great.
In the meantime, our marketing activities will shift towards developing content our audiences can look to for hope and inspiration while reminding them of the experiences they can look forward to once this crisis is over. Our messaging will be delivered through our social channels and website rather than advertising campaigns for the near term to give us an opportunity to experiment with our tone and timing.
With this, we intend to:
- Bring the destination experience into people’s homes, showcasing our beautiful natural environment and highlighting what people have to look forward to;
- Engage our audience in the experiences of Ontario’s Highlands through virtual tours and ‘how-to’ tutorials.
- Connect our audiences with the spirit our communities through stories of people helping people.
How can you Participate?
Think about ways you can highlight your business through a virtual experience, and share it with us! And what exactly is a ‘virtual experience’? Here is a list to help spark your ideas:
- A short video or virtual tour of your business that ignites the viewer’s senses. For example, boiling maple syrup, taking a walk on a nature trail around your property, paddling down a river, or a behind-the-scenes video of your property, kitchen, etc.
- There is a surge in interest for online learning and now is the time to share your knowledge through video. Think about the things your visitors were interested in when they interacted with you. Here are some popular examples:
- Restaurant sector – How to put together the perfect charcuterie board, how to make popular desserts or meals
- Accommodators – Interesting stories about your community
- Artists – online art classes
- Musicians – live performances in your home
- Look out for those ‘People Helping People’ stories in your community and share them with us. We want to highlight the strength of our communities.
We will be distributing your content in a variety of ways:
- Share with the visitor on our social platforms
- Share with our tourism partners, such as Destination Ontario and county partners, to distribute through their marketing channels
- Populating on our website to build a broader story of the solidarity and strength of our region.
Examples of Virtual Experiences in Ontario’s Highlands
There are already some amazing example of Ontario’s Highlands entrepreneurs being creative when it comes to finding ways to bring their business into the homes of their customers. In Lanark County, Sivarulrasa Gallery has created an online gallery, while C’est Tout Bakery is sweetening their online ordering by hosting a live cupcake decorating session. Tune in to the Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve Facebook page on April 2 at 3:00 pm for a live wolf feeding. We’re so inspired by these stories of ingenuity at its best!
Virtual Wanderer Series
If you’re stepping up your virtual game, we’d like to help get the word out. Do you have an idea for a live video, or are you planning on posting something pre-recorded? Fill out the Monthly Guiding Question and let us know the details of what you’ve got planned in the next couple weeks and when you’re going to share it with your followers. We’ll consolidate a schedule of what we’re calling the ‘Virtual Wanderer’ series, create a graphic we can all share, and work together to promote everyone’s efforts. Let us know about it here.
If you plan to go the route of posting a pre-recorded video on Facebook, you can also publish it as a premiere, which gives you some of the functions that live videos have. Start by drumming up interest with a post ahead of time – which we will also help with – including the time and date you will premiere your video. When your video publishes on the premiere date, your audience will be able to watch and engage with it in real-time. If you’d like, you can be available to answer questions in the comments. After the premiere, your video will still be available for viewing as a regular video post.
Are you confident in your internet connection but need help navigating Facebook Live? Have a look here at this step-by-step guide, as well as this one that has some great tips on making it a success. Does your video need some editing to combine clips? Try out these tutorials for built-in video editors on Windows and Mac, or check out a list of apps you can use on your phone.
More Ways to Keep in Touch
Even if you aren’t able to do a video, there are other ways to stay in touch!
- Fill out the Monthly Guiding Question. You may notice that the theme of the questions have changed, but these remain a valuable tool for the OHTO team to gather information.
- Tag us in your social media posts with @onhighlands and #ComeWander. This allows us to see any stories that are happening around the region.
- Send us an email! Good ol’ email still remains a great way to get in touch with us! Here is a link to the team’s contact information.
- Give us a call at 1-855-629-6486 ext 202