Project Name:  Heritage Destination Development – Bayfield


The first year of the Bayfield destination development project focused on the implementation of an experiential tourism workshop with operators.  In the second year, focus shifted to a larger strategic discussion aimed at enabling and enhancing Bayfield’s DNA, and gaining consensus on a tourism vision and development plan for the destination.  The group aligned around the destination DNA of an artistic heritage village, set on the shores of Lake Huron with an underpinning of sustainability.

The goal is to grow Bayfield’s tourism economy by enabling and enhancing these themes that, when combined, contribute to the USP of Bayfield. The vision of the destination is for a wide variety of highly engaged stakeholders to broadly tell the Bayfield story – that there is a multitude of events, and experiences for visitors and the destination is accessible, safe and easy to visit.

In 2016/2017, key activities in Bayfield included:

  • Tourism Café and RTO4 provided ongoing coaching to the three experience providers. This coaching was extended to the additional, water-based experience that was developed as a result of the workshop.
  • A pilot project was created to amplify the Bayfield story using Google’s new 360-tour feature. Ten operators who are in line with Bayfield’s DNA – of historic village, on the coast, strong arts community and underlying sustainability imperative – now have 360 tours available online. Promoted posts about these tours in collaboration with the Bayfield and Area Chamber of Commerce occurred through March 2017.
  • Bayfield’s online storytelling was analyzed via an internal Digital Audit of the Village of Bayfield website and was shared with stakeholders who curate the story of Bayfield.
  • A Visitor Satisfaction survey was developed and completed in September. The results of these surveys were shared with decision makers and individual operators in the Bayfield tourism industry during a January meeting.

2017/2018 Objectives

OBJECTIVE #1 – Formalize destination development plan and partnerships for Bayfield

OBJECTIVE #2 – Continue collaborative destination development work, such as storytelling, animation, and hygiene projects that aim to enhance and improve the visitor experience.

OBJECTIVE #3 – Leverage the high traffic platforms of Google search and Google Maps to virtually showcase and market criteria-based visitor locations and experiences that align with Bayfield’s DNA.

OBJECTIVE #4 – Increase the digital skillset and capacity of key/select tourism operators and organizations by continually measuring the progress of digital sophistication efforts to provide data-driven tools and tactics.

OBJECTIVE #5 – Increase research-based tourism decision-making capacity.

Key Activities

  • Hold meetings with tourism operators, municipality representatives and organizations to identify priority tourism projects.
  • Launch Year 1 of the Bayfield Destination Animation Fund.
  • Implement Year 2 of Bayfield Google 360.
  • Implement the second series of video storytelling.
  • Collect and input data on all visitor-facing web and social media assets across all tourism sectors in the destination to create a benchmark of the destination’s digital sophistication and performance.
  • Finalize the research methodology and collect data for a study on the economic impact of tourism.
  • Partner on a wayfinding and signage strategy.

For more details on this project, please visit the 2017 RTO4 Business Plan, pages 18-23 (PDF 1.4MB).