Winter Campaign Objectives

We’re working to address three main challenges as we grow our destination: industry collaboration, increasing visitor spending and community engagement.

None of these are new. They have all been addressed in various studies and plans including the Central Alberta Destination Management Plan, the David Thompson Country Regional Tourism Strategy and the David Thompson Country Visitor Friendly Assessment. Our goal is simpler: focus on what we can do together to move us forward.

Mornings at Expanse Cottages
Bighorn Sheep along Abraham Lake

More details on how we are addressing each of those challenges is available below.

1. Working Together

The Problem

There is a long history of a fragmented industry in Nordegg with diverging priorities. Most attempts at collaboration have been focused on the greater region (Clearwater County) or on including all operators (Nordegg Chamber).

The Solutions We’re Testing

How might we continue to improve collaboration between operators and stakeholders?

  • Focus on partners that offer a market-ready product in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region and who are willing to work with others. Partners must put the visitor at the centre of all adventures, offer experiential travel with a sense of adventure, be passionate about their products and the region, meet all industry standards while being committed to doing the right thing and continuously improving what they do.
  • Focus on areas where we can get short-term success while building for the future. These include bookable itineraries featuring multiple partners, collaboration on content creation, cross booking of products and collaboration on marketing activities including media, influencer and creator tours.
  • Simplify communication between operators. We are currently using Slack to more easily collaborate and communicate with each other and planning to host monthly meetings to provide more opportunities to get to know each other.

2. Increase Visitor Spending

The Problem

A year ago our main problem was a lack of awareness for the region. This changed with the pandemic. Our challenge is now to attract the types of visitors that will spend money locally, extend their visits from a few minutes to a few days and improve their experience.

The Solutions We’re Testing

  • Attract visitors that will spend money locally:
    • Ensure that all our content is geared toward our ideal guests.
    • Change the conversation from random camping and negative issues toward positive messaging that resonates with our ideal guests.
  • Expand the length of their visits:
    • Use the Abraham Lake ice bubbles, Crescent Falls and Siffleur Falls as anchors to build itineraries that showcase other sights and activities.
    • Offer tours and activities at more locations to help the guests create a stronger connection with the region.
    • Create packages around those itineraries.
    • Focus the stories around those itineraries.
  • Improve the experience at each step of the journey:
    • Set the right expectations. Share the stormy days along with the bluebird ones. Show people dressed for the weather with proper gear and embrace the changing conditions we experience. It also means focusing on existing products instead of aspirational ones. It’s easy to forget that what we’ve seen a thousand times, our guests are seeing for the first time.
    • Improve our DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) efforts to better reflect our visitors, including ethnicity, LGBTQ+, body types, ability levels, age and more.
    • Continue to grow awareness for the region with the understanding that we must also provide how-to guides since information on the area is limited.
      • Develop in-house content hosted on explorenordegg.ca that provides detailed guides and information on the natural and human history of the region. Connect the guides to bookable activities and itineraries whenever possible with direct booking options on the page.
      • Work with influencers, creators and media to feature the itineraries along with raising awareness for the region. Focus on long-term partnerships over short-term metrics.
      • Use social media and email lists to promote the content being developed.
      • Work with David Thompson Country and Travel Alberta to align content whenever possible, understanding that we each have complementary branding and purposes.
      • Create printable versions of select guides that can be distributed at gas stations, hotels, partner locations and visitor information centres.
    • Provide information on services, risk management and what to do in case of emergencies and make it easier for guests to plan the logistics of their adventure, including meals and gear rentals.
Longer-Term Solutions to Consider
  • Expand the types of products offered, either by current partners or by working with new partners. Focus on organic growth and supporting local champions instead of investment attraction.
  • Reach out to bloggers to update inaccurate information and encourage them to re-visit the area with a guide.
  • Work with the Government of Alberta and Clearwater County to improve signage. This includes making the access to Nordegg more visible and implementing TODS signs for trailheads.
  • Work with the Government of Alberta and Clearwater County to address parking issues and highway speed concerns.

3. Community Engagement

The Problem

Even though Nordegg is being developed by Clearwater County as a tourism hamlet, residents are reticent to embrace tourism for various reasons including the misconception that all tourism is mass tourism, a lack of local benefit from tourism and safety concerns in regards to Abraham Lake.

The Solutions We’re Testing

  • Increase engagement with the community through participation at events organized by the Nordegg Community Association and through the Nordegg Squeek emails.
  • Increase local spending through multi-day itineraries as well as connecting Abraham Lake and Nordegg for services and adventures.
  • Work with the Nordegg Community Association Recreation Committee on local trail priorities. This includes supporting the cross-country ski trail development and assisting in obtaining the required permits from Alberta Environment and Parks.
  • Offer Showcase Adventures for locals to experience what we offer and to provide information on responsible recreation on Abraham Lake.