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10 Ways Agritourism Operators Can Grow New Business with ExploreGeorgia.org

By Lindsay Isaacs

Last month, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced that the state's tourism industry generated a record-breaking $61.1 billion in business sales including direct, indirect and induced impact in 2016, up 3.5 percent, according to the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics. Georgia welcomed a record-breaking 105 million visitors in 2016, an increase of 3 percent, and visitor spending generated more than $3.2 billion in state and local tax revenue in Georgia.

The numbers are encouraging, showing that leisure travel continues to grow in Georgia, which presents new opportunities for agritourism operators. An increasing number of Georgia visitors are seeking unique travel activities and authentic Southern experiences, and agritourism destinations offer an endless variety of those opportunities.

If you’re looking for ways to increase visitation at your farm without spending any more money, you can’t pass up the marketing opportunities offered by Georgia Tourism. ExploreGeorgia.org, the state’s consumer website for travel planning, is a free marketing opportunity available to any tourism destination in Georgia, and it’s just the starting point for a whole host of promotion opportunities for your agritourism business. Get connected to Georgia Tourism through ExploreGeorgia.org, and you’ll find at least these 10 ways to boost your business.

Tap into 4.5 million unique annual ExploreGeorgia.org visitors. All of Georgia’s tourism advertising (broadcast, print and digital) points travelers to ExploreGeorgia.org to plan their trips, generating a lot of attention and making the site’s content rank highly in online search engine results. Get in front of travelers when they’re making their travel plans by creating a listing on ExploreGeorgia.org.

Be included in the annual Georgia Travel Guide. Information from ExploreGeorgia.org is collected to create the Georgia Travel Guide, which is available for order by mail and at Georgia’s 12 Visitor Information Centers, serving more than 13 million guests each year. Because space is limited in the printed guide, certain criteria must be met to be included in the Travel Guide – the first of which is that you are listed on ExploreGeorgia.org.

Promote your events. Post information about your festivals, tours and other events on ExploreGeorgia.org at least six weeks in advance, if not sooner. The sooner you can post your information, the greater chance you have at getting in front of travelers and tour group operators when they’re making their travel plans.

Post your deals. You probably already offer perks to entice visitors to stop by. Free samples, special prices on tours on select dates, and package deals with neighboring attractions and places to stay are all great ways to grab attention from travelers. Post information about them to ExploreGeorgia.org so travelers can find them when they’re planning their trips.

Create a microsite. Your listing on ExploreGeorgia.org is a great way to collect your brochures, social media channels and related listings in one place for Georgia travelers. Give travelers all of the information they need to find you and every reason to visit you on ExploreGeorgia.org.

Boost your exposure on social media. Tap into ExploreGeorgia.org’s more than 300,000 social media followers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and more. Post high-quality, eye-catching photographs on your listings that can be shared on social media. Send your Facebook event listings to ExploreGeorgia.org’s Social Media Content Manager Parker Whidby (pwhidby@georgia.org) so she can share them. Use ExploreGeorgia.org’s hashtags (#ExploreGeorgia, #GeorgiaEats, #GeorgiaFilm, #GeorgiaMusic,
#ExploreGeorgiaPup) to reach more followers with your own social media posts.

Boost your exposure with ExploreGeorgia.org’s Email Newsletters. Twice a month, the ExploreGeorgia.org email newsletter mails to 172,000 subscribers, featuring trip ideas, events and deals on the website. For a chance at being included, make sure your information is on the site.

Be included in blogs and articles by the Georgia Explorers. ExploreGeorgia.org’s bloggers write travel content weekly on topics including family travel, culinary destinations, budget-friendly trip ideas, outdoor adventures and festivals in Georgia. Their blogs and articles point travelers to listings on the site.

Write a guest blog for ExploreGeorgia.org. Show off your agritourism business by writing a guest blog for ExploreGeorgia.org and include eye-catching imagery that helps tell your story. Why should travelers take a detour to your farm, and what kinds of experiences can they have there? Tell your story in an ExploreGeorgia.org blog.

Access resources from Georgia Tourism on MarketGeorgia.org. The same login information you use for ExploreGeorgia.org gives you access to restricted content on the state’s tourism industry portal MarketGeorgia.org. Access the state’s marketing plans, tourism research, guides for posting to ExploreGeorgia.org, best practices for social media and more. Connect to tourism staff members who can point you to professional networks and even more resources to help grow your business.

Get started today by requesting an account to post information through ExploreGeorgia.org’s online Partner Admin system at http://partner.exploregeorgia.org. If you already have an account, log in to check your listing, add new photos, update your deals, and make sure your event information is updated. Plant the seeds today for a new crop of visitors in the future.

Photo credits: Georgia Department of Economic Development. Lindsay Isaacs is content manager for ExploreGeorgia.org and MarketGeorgia.org. Send guest blog ideas and questions about creating and editing ExploreGeorgia.org listings to lisaacs@georgia.org.