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Working with Local Tourism Authorities

By Alex Gaggioli, July 15, 2015

If you are a hotelier in the United States, there are many benefits to interacting with your state and city’s local travel websites. Although this article focuses on The United States, most governments have dedicated travel websites and you should use them as a resource. Discover America, a public-private marketing entity, works with the travel industry to maximize benefits for both travelers and the hospitality community. They have created many resources for travelers looking to research American travel destinations. Discover America is the large umbrella that each state’s websites fall under. Hoteliers can and should take advantage of these resources.

A vast landscape typical of an American road trip.

Image: Phillip Capper

Discover America helps travelers explore, research and plan with their extensive tools and information library. They list official links to federal agencies, transportation services, and tourism organizations. Every state, most cities, and some regions have dedicated tourist authority websites. These websites offer travelers even more specific information than Discover America’s. They help travelers discover the best locations and hotels, just like yours!

It is beneficial to take a look at these travel websites and the tourist associations they represent for many reasons. They can offer your property and your guests a lot of value.

5 Ways to Leverage Local Tourism Authorities

Property Listings. Each state’s website aggregates hotel listings differently. For example, California lists hotels in their downloadable booklet, whereas Montana has a dedicated search function for hotels. First, you should identify how your state lists hotel properties. And second, once you find your listing, ensure that it is accurate. Let these free tools work for you by making sure potential guests can properly research and book your rooms. If your property is listed incorrectly, navigate to the bottom of the website. Look for a ‘Contact’ link and there should be an option to message the tourism authority. At the bottom of this post we have included a full list of the state’s websites.

Local tourism websites tend to rank well on Google for long-tail keywords. It is a good idea to get listed and get content written about your property because they will rank so well.

Brainstorming. These websites are packed with great content. Use this location specific content to brainstorm articles you can write for your website. You can also use state, city, or regional website content as a research tool. They are generally up-to-date and you may even discover something new about your city or region. Ideas for content to create include: “best of” lists, reviews and recommendations from your staff, and guest stories. You can see California’s spotlight series below, for example.

California's tourism website showcasing their unique content

Social Content. Tourism organization websites also offer great shareable content for your social media platforms. Finding credible content sources can often be tricky, but tourism authority websites are credible and well researched. Articles are often linked with official tourist maps and phone numbers so your guests will not be led astray. Montana’s lists of bike trails is a great example of the type of content you can share.

Montana's tourism website offering perfectly shareable content for your guests.

Promotion. Often, you can also use these types of websites to release a press release or big announcement. Most government local tourism websites allow properties and other venues to promote their business or an event. Each state’s policies and practices will be different, but generally you can inquire about media opportunities in their contact section. If the tourism association decides to run your story or you promote content on their website, the added exposure for your business will be great.

Benchmark. Use your state, city, and regional websites to benchmark your own website. You should look at both your state’s and other state’s websites to determine if your website is up to par, both in terms of aesthetics and content. We don’t encourage copying their websites, but because their business is about sharing the most useful information, they are a good way to measure your own efforts.

There are many destination tourism websites out there. We suggest looking for your official state and city websites and then eventually look to other popular tourism websites. Don’t be afraid to reach out to these sites, they are designed to help both travelers and industry related businesses.

U.S. Local Government Tourism Sites

We have included a comprehensive list of United States tourism websites below. Search for your state or region in the top right hand search bar, or click through the list with the arrows on the bottom right hand side.

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