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.
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.
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 included 1 influencer campaign, 18 photography projects, 12 videography projects, 2 radio advertising campaigns, 34 social media campaigns, 24 website upgrades.
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.
Identify and align a diverse group of key stakeholders.
The Grand River Access Point Improvement Project.
Between RTO 1, 3, and 4.
Spanning 280 kilometers.
Access Point Use
A diverse use available including hiking, canoeing and kayaking.
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.
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.
Destination DNA Definition
DNA means to develop consensus on the essence of a place and it’s people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.