Digitizing the Tourist Guest Book


Yep, that is live on an iPad. Total build time: 42 minutes.

The Utah Welcome Center is pretty standard.

Brochures, a few dioramas of various Utah scenes, a nice lady passing out information and a guest book.  Sitting on the counter, restricted by paper and pen.  Longing to be useful.

As I approached the counter, I asked for the Utah OVG (Official Visitors Guide).

Of course, sign our guest book?

Sure.

I wrote down my name, email address, party size and destination.

I was handed a lovely Utah Visitor Guide, and then watched as the page I just signed was turned over, revealing a clean sheet of paper.  Waiting for 10 more signatures.  Which would be added to the stack patiently awaiting a more useful life.

For the Utah Office of Tourism, and I dare say every DMO and CVB across the country…worldwide, even…this is a waste.

The guest book, in its current form, is a waste.

But it does not have to be.

It could be the best lead and revenue generation tool that you are not using.

Here is how.

10 Steps to Digitizing the Tourist Guest Book

1. Buy an iPad.  Get rid of the paper and pen, spend $399 on an iPad.

2. Call your email provider and see if they offer anything like MailChimp’s Chimpadeedoo.

(Nope, not being paid by MailChimp, I just love the service.)

2b. If the answer is no, fire your email provider and sign-up with MailChimp.  Or just add a second email account via MailChimp, your call.

3. Download Chimpadeedoo from the iTunes Store.

4. Customize Chimpadeedoo to include form fields for:

  • First Name
  • Email Address
  • Party Size
  • Destination

Last Name, Zip Code, etc. are optional.  And maybe offer an ‘end’ date or a limit to the number of emails sent.  Oh, and drop in a hidden field to identify the visitor center.

4b. Continue the customization with a nice background image.

5. Connect your Chimpadeedoo to your MailChimp account.

6. Create an autoresponders for any new email sign-ups.

7. Choose your email message.  May we suggest:

  • Information and a direct link to your mobile website or application.
  • Coupons and discounts from local merchants (Revenue opportunity for you!).
  • Games / Trivia / Photos corresponding to the geography, history and culture of the road or local area.
  • A mobile VIC contact list…phone, email, Twitter…to allow for additional questions.

8. Target and segment email messages by Destination and Party Size.  If they are heading to Provo, send them relevant info.

9. Give the iPad to that nice lady running the visitor center and begin capturing guest information via iPad.

9b. Repeat the process for all new visitors to your Visitor Information Center.  Oh, and maybe delay the email 10 minutes or so…you don’t want to look like a stalker.

10. Celebrate your new found relevancy with a pizza party or kegger.

Utah Office of Tourism, I await your call (720-515-6010).

10 steps to turn that worthless guest book into a full-blown marketing machine for your tourism destination.

Okay, maybe that is a reach.  But it will certainly make your guest book much more relevant to your guests.

Which was the whole point, right?

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.