How We Do It

The goal of the RTO4 Destination Development Process is to create vibrant destinations that become  self-sufficient through a virtuous loop of continuous destination improvement. This is accomplished by  emphasizing capacity building, a culture of innovation and the transfer of key skills to the Destination Network – a voluntary association of stakeholders and partners with a mutual interest.

phases

RTO4 Destination Development Process

Phase one – align and engage the Destination network:

  • Destination Network – Identify and align a diverse group of Destination stakeholders
  • Destination DNA – Develop consensus on the essence of a place and it’s people

Phase two – Collaborative Destination network projects focusing on DNA and Visitor Experience:

  • Hygiene – Identify, fix and enhance physical and digital experience issues
  • Animation – Create and enhance experiences that align with the DNA
  • Storytelling – Increase the efficacy of DNA storytelling and amplification

COVID-19 Response and Investment

In response to COVID-19, RTO4  launched the Tourism Marketing & Digital Support Program to assist tourism businesses and destination level partners in Waterloo, Wellington, Huron, and Perth County in improving and optimizing their digital assets and marketing capacity.

Definition of Hygiene: Indentify, fix and enhance basic visitor experience issues
Tourism Marketing & Digital Support Program
$350,000 was made available to Tourism small businesses
$350,000 Funding for tourism small businesses
100 plus small businesses applied for funding 51total project were approved
100 plus small businesses applied for funding 51total project were approved
Projects include: 1 influencer campaign, 18 photography projects, 12 videography projects, 2 radio advertising campaigns, 34 social media campaigns, 24 website upgrades
Projects include: 1 influencer campaign, 18 photography projects, 12 videography projects, 2 radio advertising campaigns, 34 social media campaigns, 24 website upgrades

Destination Hygiene definition:

The definition of Destination Hygiene is to identify, fix, and enhance basic visitor experience issues.

Tourism Marketing and Digital Support Program

The Tourism Marketing and Digital Support Program were launched to assist tourism businesses and destination level partners in Waterloo, Wellington, Huron, and Perth County in improving and optimizing their digital assets and marketing capacity.

Available Funding for the Program

350000 dollars was made available.

Eligible projects included

Eligible projects included social media improvements and advertising, videography, website and e-commerce upgrades, software and technology.

Tourism Marketing and Digital Support Program results

Over 100 small businesses applied and 51 total projects were approved.

Approved Projects

Approved Projects included 1 influencer campaign, 18 photography projects, 12 videography projects, 2 radio advertising campaigns, 34 social media campaigns, 24 website upgrades.

Destination Network

The Grand River, spanning 280 kilometres, runs through RTOs 1, 3 and 4. Together with the support of municipal, county representatives and former members of the voluntary marketing coalition Grand River Country, RTO4 devised a joint project to evaluate usage and awareness of the Grand River.

Definition of Network: Identify and align a diverse group of key destination stakeholders
The Grand River Project Access Point Improvement Project
Hoin project between RTO's 1,3 and 4
280km Grand River Project Illustration
Illustration showing boaters and hikers
First site completed in 2018
Wilson Flatts Signage
5 additional access points being built
5 additional access points being built illustration

Destination Network

Identify and align a diverse group of key stakeholders.

Project Title

The Grand River Access Point Improvement Project.

Joint Project

Between RTO 1, 3, and 4.

Distance

Spanning 280 kilometers.

Access Point Use

A diverse use available including hiking, canoeing and kayaking.

Wilson Flatts

The first site was completed in 2018.

Wilson Flatts Location

The first completed site, Wilsons Flats, is located in the Township of Centre Wellington.

Additional Access Points to be Built

5 additional access points being built.

DNA

In 2018 Elora Fergus re-emerged to the Ontario tourism scene as a destination to visit. This re-emergence was the culmination of a multi-year strategic destination development process. During the destination development process six strategic themes were identified and five sub-committees were formed to move the needle on the Elora Fergus strategic plan and represent the DNA of Elora Fergus.

Definition of DNA: Develop consensus on the essence of a place and its people.
5 sub-committees were formed
Festival and events operators and community representatives illustration
Local Tourism Businesses, City Staff / DMO and attractions illustration
Strategic themes were identified
Ways and Means, Accommodation and Natural and Heritage illustration
Tourism product offering, community support and festivals and events illustration
Some examples of the continued participation projects illustration
eo plus meetings, google 360 degree initiative, wifi installation and 12 plus project completed and implemented illustration.
Destination animation project, victoria park revitalization, destination ontario campaign and tourism workshop series illustration.

Destination DNA Definition

DNA means to develop consensus on the essence of a place and it’s people.

Committees formed

5 sub-committees were formed.

Committee members included

5 sub-committees members range from Festivals and Events operators, community representatives, Local Tourism Businesses, City Staff,  Attractions.

6 themes were identified.

From these sub-committees, 6 themes were identified.

The 6 themes are

Accommodation, Ways and Means, Natural and Heritage, Tourism Product Offerings, Community Support, Festival and Events.

Continued Participation

Some Examples of continued participation include Over 30 meetings, Google 360 Initiative, Wifi installation, over 12 projects completed or implemented, Destination animation project, Victoria Park revitalization, Destination Ontario Campaign, Tourism Workshop Series.

Hygiene

The Digital Excellence Centre was created with a clear mission – to improve a Destination’s digital hygiene and sophistication by providing insights into specific areas of improvement for each operator or organization, bridging the digital skillset and strategy implementation of the destination. The Digital Excellence Centre is a physical location where operators access one-on-one support with a digital expert using the data through the Destination Digital Audit.
Definition of Hygiene: Identify, fix and enhance basic visitor experience issues illustrator
2019, The digital excellence centre began in 2019 in elora fergus
In its first year digital excellence centre had 19 high level participants illustration
Number one Trip advisor destination category illustration
2019 79% Overhall web score (2018 web score 77%) Illustration
11,270 Facebook engagements in 2019 up from 2,472 engagements in 2018 illustration
8,748 Instagram engagements in 2019 up from 4,869 engagements in 2018

Destination Hygiene Definition

Hygiene means to identify, fix, and enhance basic visitor experience issues.

The Digital Excellence Centre

The Digital Excellence Centre began in 2019 in Elora Fergus.

Digital Excellence Centre Results

In its first year, the Digital Excellence Centre had 19 high-level participants.

Results from one participating operator

Results from one operator include improving from number 2 to number 1 in their destination category on Tripadvisor.

Website Improvement

This operator improved their overall website score from 77 to 79.

Facebook Engagement Improvement

This operator went from 2742 Facebook engagements to 11270.

Instagram Engagement Improvement

This operator went from 4869 Instagram engagements to 8748.

Destination Animation

In 2018, during the third cycle of the Destination Animation Strategic Co-Investment Project in Stratford, a successful application was submitted by Stratford Summer Music for their project called Museum of the Moon to be hosted on Stratford’s Tom Patterson Island. The art installation was an internationally renowned piece created by futurist Luke Jerram, a realistic lit reproduction of the moon.

Definition of Animation: For every hour someone travels toy your destination there should be approximately three hours of things for them to do there illustration
People looking at the moon illustration
20,000 plus visitors illustration
17,102 social media engagements illustration
10 plus earned media pieces (globe and mail, daily hive etc) Illustration

Destination Animation definition

For every hour someone travels to your destination there should be approximately three hours of things for them to do there.

The Museum of the Moon in Stratford

In 2018, during the third cycle of the Destination Animation Partnership Program in Stratford, a successful application was submitted by Stratford Summer Music for their project called Museum of the Moon to be hosted on Stratford’s Tom Patterson Island. The art installation was an internationally renowned piece created by futurist Luke Jerram, a realistic lit reproduction of the moon.

The Museum of the Moon Visitation

The Museum of the Moon in Stratford saw over twenty thousand visitors.

The Museum of the Moon Social Media engagement

It had over 17102 social media engagements.

The Museum of the Moon Earned Media

The Museum of the Moon in Stratford had over 10 earned media pieces produced about it.

Storytelling

The Sounds of Guelph is a video series consisting of short, shareable videos, optimized for social media while creating a unique visual and audio experience of Guelph. The goal was to demonstrate Guelph’s DNA through a wide range of unique experiences and events.

Definition of Storytelling: Increase efficiency of DNA storytelling and amplification illustration.
The Sounds of Guelph. To demonstrate Guelph's DNA through a wide range of unique experiences and events by showing what makes Guelph different.
Magnifying glass looking at a destination building illustration
12 videos illustration
77,397 Views illustration
2,756 plus engagements illustration

Destination Storytelling definition

The definition of Destination Storytelling is to increase the efficacy of DNA storytelling and amplification.

The Sounds of Guelph

The Sounds of Guelph is a video series that demonstrates Guelph’s DNA through a wide range of unique experiences and events by showing what makes Guelph different.

The Sounds of Guelph results

12 Videos were created.

The Sounds of Guelph views

There were 77397 views.

The Sounds of Guelph engagement

There were over 2756 engagements on social media.

RTO4 Business Plan

RTO4 Business Plan Cover