Explore Kneehill campaign attracts tourism, website views

·2 min read

Kneehill County ran an online and social media campaign over the summer to help attract more local tourism to the region, and more visitors to their website, in a bid to promote the region as a local tourism destination.

The Explore Kneehill campaign, which ran between June and August and managed by Calgary-based marketing and web agency nonfiction studios, was a Kneehill Regional Partnership initiative led by Kneehill County with the goals to grow awareness and develop sustainable tourism to the region, promote local businesses through authentic experiences, and increase website traffic.

Explore Kneehill employed a number of tactics to promote the county’s attractions and draw tourism to the region.

Parking attendants who were on-site at Horseshoe Canyon for the pay parking pilot received training to better assist visitors looking to explore other attractions. QR signage was also installed at the canyon and generated some 300 page views to the Kneehill County website.

To gather more photos of the region, Explore Kneehill also employed a professional photographer who captured 60 photos of communities throughout the region, and a social media photo contest which helped get local residents involved also garnered an additional 70 photos. These photos will be used in future marketing and social media campaigns.

Calgary-based social media influencer and writer Leigh McAdam was also sent on a tour of Kneehill County. She shared her experience visiting Orkney View Point and Dry Island Buffalo Jump along with the small-town hospitality at various Kneehill County locales with her over 61,000 followers on her HikeBikeTravel destination and travel blog.

Overall, the campaign helped drive website traffic up 864 per cent-from a total of 3,166 page views in 2020 to over 30,000 page views in 2021. Kneehill County social media also saw significant increases, at over 900 per cent on Facebook and 1,800 per cent on Instagram; a majority of followers were female, and 26 per cent were from Calgary.

Economic Development officer Jacqueline Buchanan shared with council the total budget for the campaign was some $45,000, with the majority of the budget spent between May and September; the county received $15,000 from TravelAlberta funding and some $7,500 from municipal partner contributions.

Council accepted the presentation as information; the Explore Kneehill campaign will be brought back to council for consideration in the 2022 budget.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail

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