The Plan for 2022-23

Our goal isn’t to simply grow visitation to the region but to increase the positive contribution of tourism in our local communities.

Awareness of the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region increased tremendously over the past two years. The opportunity we see for the next year is to build on that momentum.

As a new destination we can’t afford the playbook used by established destinations like Banff, Jasper or Canmore. We can learn from them but we need to give ourselves permission to do things differently.

Isaac's Falls Winter Hike
Fall in Nordegg & Abraham Lake

The first thing we’re working on is finishing the work to set up Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake as a nonprofit corporation. This includes:

  • Completing the transfer of operations, including bank accounts, booking systems and insurance, from Nordegg Adventures to Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake;
  • Finish the work of updating explorenordegg.ca;
  • Finish the setup of photos.explorenordegg.ca to share the content created over the past year; and
  • Updating the brand guidelines and logo to better reflect our work.

This puts us in a strong position to expand on the work done in the past few years to grow the destination with the priorities for the coming year provided in this section.

Destination & Product Development

Work together with industry partners to responsibly grow our visitor economy.

Our focus is on supporting and facilitating projects to grow the destination that cannot be completed by individual partners on their own.

Partnerships

There are no fees to participate. Participation is by invitation with the requirement that partners have demonstrated an ability to work with others, are focused on practical solutions and offer a market-ready product that appeals to our target market.

Partners involved in events are expected to contribute either financially, in-kind or by volunteering on a per-project basis.

Partners who receive assistance to develop new products are expected to participate in the Sales & Business Development activities.

Actions

The work done over the past two years to build the foundation has put us in a good position as out-of-province visitors return to the region. We now have new products and itineraries becoming available, collaboration between operators is increasing and a clearer picture of our target markets.

The focus for the year ahead is on completing the work that has been started and improving how we execute those projects.

1. Provide a platform to tackle challenges, capitalize on opportunities and share resources.
  • Host industry meetings to encourage networking, collaboration on projects and input into our plans.
  • Facilitate projects and discussions to address the housing and staffing issues.
  • Facilitate capacity building and workforce development by sharing adventure development resources, including templates, workshops and courses.
  • Share the results of our work to increase awareness and promote collaboration.
  • Engage with the local communities to ensure that our work has a positive impact and to increase awareness of the role of tourism in our local economy.
  • Raise awareness for the Nordegg & Abraham Lake tourism industry with Clearwater County through regular communications, meetings and familiarization tours.
  • Work with partners in Rocky Mountain House, Clearwater County and Central Alberta to address issues that are unique to us within the administrative region.
  • Facilitate discussions with Travel Alberta, Alberta Environment and Parks and other government departments in regard to the needs of our visitors and partners.
2. Develop itineraries, packages and events to activate the four main themes.
  • Complete the work started last year on itineraries, packages and products for each theme.
  • Launch the first edition of the Frozen Wonderland Festival in January 2023.
  • Develop plans for festivals activating the Fall Colours and Winter Warmth themes for 2024.
  • Support local champions who are building new tourism products.
3. Collaborate with neighbouring regions to improve awareness for Nordegg & Abraham Lake.
  • Work with partners along the Cowboy Trail to create itineraries leading visitors to our region.
  • Work with Banff, Lake Louise, Canmore and Jasper to ensure that visitor services staff have the right information to promote our region.
  • Be present at tourism industry events.

 

Looking Ahead

The work on destination & product development will never be done and the results are mostly intangible, like the continued collaboration between partners and the increased awareness of the needs of the tourism industry with our Clearwater County elected officials.

At the same time, we can celebrate success as we reach milestones including new itineraries, products and packages becoming available.

Content Development & Distribution

Share the stories of the region through content that appeals to our ideal guests.

We know that our guests like to learn about the region, both while they visit and while they plan their adventure. They enjoy long-form content, stories that immerse them and features that allow them to feel like they already know the place before they ever visit.

They want to hear those stories from locals. That’s why our focus this year is on publishing more content on our own website and channels.

Media, bloggers and influencers continue to play an important role in extending our reach. Our content doesn’t replace their work but helps provide context and more detailed information.

Partnerships

Participation is on a per-project basis, with partners expected to contribute either financially, in-kind or by volunteering as required.

In addition to the partnership requirements for Destination & Product Development, partners must be aligned with the themes featured and must meet all safety requirements associated with the activities they offer.

Participation in projects that are specific to a single operator (e.g. photo shoot for a new product) requires participation in Sales & Business Development activities.

Actions

The support we received from Travel Alberta over the past two years for content creation puts us in a great position moving forward. We can now focus on the distribution side of content marketing.

4. Create guides (e.g. trail, camping, photography, activities, safety, responsible recreation) to address the lack of information available.
  • Fill the gaps in the existing guides for trails, activities and campgrounds.
  • Expand the guides to include climbing, mountain biking and photography.
  • Expand the existing safety and responsible recreation information, including offering it in different formats.
  • Create print versions of the most popular guides.
5. Develop long-form content around locals, adventures, history and environment to be hosted on explorenordegg.ca.
  • Develop an editorial calendar for each theme, coordinating with partners based on their seasonal needs.
6. Host creators and content shoots to bring the stories to life and fill in the gaps in our current assets.
  • Build on the creator trip format from Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 to host immersive events with a focus on longer-term relationship that allows us to go beyond the best-known locations.
  • Identify gaps in our photo assets once the itineraries are built. Arrange for a photoshoot or add to a creator trip.
7. Distribute the content through social media, email, print, ads, media and influencers to reach a wider audience.
  • Use social media and email marketing on a consistent basis to share engaging content about the region, including timely updates on local conditions.
  • Use ads to increase the reach of our content.
  • Consider a print magazine option to share the stories.
  • Realign our media and influencers program to align with our themes and editorial calendar.
Looking Ahead

The goal of our content strategy is to increase sales for our partners. Indirectly, this can be measured through increased visits to our website, increased engagement with our content and an increase in the stories shared about our region by the media and influencers.

Sales & Business Development

Increase visitor spending within the region.

Our focus is on generating new bookings, not replacing existing sales channels. Our consumer sales are focused on packages and add-ons that partners can offer. On the group and travel trade side our focus is on projects that individual partners can’t fulfill on their own.

Partnerships

Participation requires a product that can be booked through Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake with a 20% net rate.

Partners must meet a set of criteria that include quality, safety and insurance requirements.

Partners who do not meet those requirements can still participate by reselling products offered by partners to their guests.

Actions

The last two years have been focused on destination and content development. Now that these projects are coming along we can move some of our attention to the sales and business development initiatives.

8. Increase consumer bookings (activities, lodging, packages) through explorenordegg.ca.
  • All partners have their products set up in Checkfront and on the website.
  • Ad campaign to increase sales.
9. Provide destination services to attract groups, corporate retreats and films to the region.
  • Work with partners to identify packages and itineraries for groups and corporate retreats.
  • Work with Travel Alberta to better target opportunities for films and commercial shoots in the region.
10. Work with Travel Alberta to identify opportunities with the travel trade that best match our target markets and existing products.
  • Increase the number of products and itineraries that are export-ready.
  • Identify travel trade operators that would best match our destination and products.
Looking Ahead

Generate bookings for partners through Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake, in addition to referrals and other marketing activities that increase bookings made directly with them.