What's Wrong With Visitor Packets

August 12, 2006

Yesterday I received yet another visitor packet from some local Texas Hill Country Chamber of Commerce from whom I made a request some six weeks ago.

Hmmm ... six weeks. Need I elaborate further?

Six weeks is a horribly long time to wait on information when planning a trip. Imagine a scenario in which a tourist and their family may not have decided on a destination. I don't know about you, but it sure would make it easier for me and my family to decide to go somewhere that we knew something about. This is a major challenge with the traditional snail-mail type of visitor packet. Exercising the discipline to get these things out the door promptly is a never-ending—and very expensive—process. Envelopes, printed materials, postage, labor. Geez, too bad we haven't figured out a better way to distribute information in this modern age.

Of course, timeliness is less important if the information contained in your visitor packet is dreadfully poor to begin with. This, in fact, is my biggest complaint of all regarding the materials we received from the 30-some-odd towns from which I was able to conjur any sort of response to my initial request. Few visitor packets had any information that really made me want to jump out of my lazy boy recliner and say "Honey, I found the perfect place!" This just stuns me. Nobody seems to get it, and dollars just keep being poured down a leaky well in spite of what should be obvious by now.

Here's what we at Digett would like to see:

(1) A visitor packet on demand. Not a form I fill out and submit to the Internet gods in hopes that I'll be blessed with a response. Rather, an immediately downloadable PDF. Speed translates directly to effectiveness, and this miracle form of information distribution saves a lot of dough on staff time, postage, and tree-killing, space-consuming, landfill-bound printed brochures.

(2) Valuable information. Huh? You know, good stuff. Don't give me a glossy, four-color, 100+ pages of fancy advertisements. Give me something I can use to help make some decisions. Give me some ideas for how I can feed my thirst for an intimate meeting with Mother Nature. Tell me a story about how your town will feed my children's lust for a performing arts experience. Show me—through cleverly-written prose and narrative—what will occupy my wife's time while I seek to feed my addiction to a rush of adrenaline. Is this so hard to do?