Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Over Zealous Websites

Sometimes web designers and festival organizers create websites that overstate what is actually being offered. All festival and event organizers want people to come to their event. Your website, of course, needs to be interesting and exciting enough to attract people to first read it and then to motivate them to come to your event. I believe, however, that overstating what you are offering will ultimately become a negative.
Here’s an example of what I mean. One particular weekend we were looking for a festival to visit, so I went onto the Internet to do some research. I looked at a number of sites and finally found one that looked interesting. It sounded like a great festival with lots of really interesting activities scheduled. The website was very detailed as to what was being offered. We decided to go to it. The problem was, that when we got there, the reality didn’t match what was advertised on the website. You might say, “What does that matter, it got you to come to the festival”. That may be true, but don’t you want your visitors to come back year after year? Don’t you want them to tell their friends and family about how great your festival was and that they should attend? It’s not that we wouldn’t have visited this festival, we likely would have, but the sour taste that was left from our disappointment meant that we wouldn’t recommend the festival to our friends and we certainly wouldn’t go back to it. If we felt like this, wouldn’t others?
Yes, as I said before, it is very important to an interesting attention grabbing website, but it must be factual and not overstated. You definitely want to draw people to your event, but not under false pretenses. If you have special plans for your festival, great and by all means state them on your website. But, and this is a big but, make sure your special plans happen! If you find, as you get closer to your event that you can’t meet your plans, revise your website the match what is actually going to happen. Remember the old sales adages, “It’s easier to keep a satisfied customer than it is to find a new one” and, “Every dissatisfied customer will tell at least 10 of their friends”.
Be wise, deliver what you promise!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Troubled Websites

A few weeks ago I was thinking about an event we wanted to visit. I decided to go to their website to get more information. The opening page was fine and I was able to get to the menu page easily. From there on in it was an ordeal! The menu page needed to be activated to use the controls just to get into the sub-pages. The menu icons moved. So, even with the controls activated, you had to time your cursor perfectly to catch the selected icon just right before the page would open. If you happened to miss (which I did frequently) you had to start all over again. Once a sub-page was open, it had some kind gimmick to get to the information and, to make matters worse, they were all different. One of the pages had floating bubble that had to be captured with the cursor before the information could be accessed. The bubbles moved quickly so they were difficult to get to and click on. I am sure the web designers had a lot of fun designing this site. It was an expensive site and I am sure it had all the latest bells and whistles, but from my point of view it was just down right frustrating and annoying. I spoke to a computer savvy friend of mine about it and he suggested that the site had been design for kids because it seems to have incorporated some of the challenges that can now be found computer games. That may be well and good and perhaps the kids who visited the site loved it, but it’s not the kids who drive to these events and it’s not the kids who make the make the final decision on where to go and what to see. It’s the parents, and they don’t usually play these computer games. Yes, to be sure, some of them do, but the majority doesn’t. Most parents just want to get the information they need easily, with a minimum of hassles, so that they can make an informed decision. Interesting websites are important because you want to catch the readers’ attention. Being too cute is definitely a negative! My suggestion to festival organizers is to make your website interesting but simple and user (adult) friendly. And, as an added thought, make sure your site has a way for readers to contact you. There is nothing more frustrating than to have a question or comment about a festivals or an event and not to be able to reach someone. Include a contact page that has telephone numbers and e-mail address. The whole idea for having a website is to inform those who want to attend your festival or event. If you make it difficult they just won’t bother.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Beauty of a Website (Part Two)

Fortunately the office was open, so I decided to go in and ask where the festival was being held. I came back to the car with a long face, “It’s been cancelled!” were my first words as I got back into the car. Then I told Gary that the tourism girl had told me that we weren’t the only ones looking for the festival. Approximately 50 other people had made the same enquiry. That meant that over 50 people had driven to town and had left very disappointed. They were upset not only with the festival organizers, but with the town in general. How many of these people would think twice about coming back to that town to attend a festival, any festival. How many other people did they tell their missing festival story to? It’s like a rippling effect! Everyone involved, organizers and town officials alike were tarred with the same brush. No-one looked good. The solution was very simple update or delete the website. If the organizers wouldn’t or didn’t make the change, the town or its tourism department should have. The tourism department should be aware of all festival and events happening in their town and know who to contact when problems arise. If this had happened in this case, a simple website update, 50 plus people would not have traveled 100’s of unnecessary kilometers. Updating your festival’s website is not only “good business”, it is a common sense courtesy to your customers and patrons. Make sure you give your webmaster the information he/she needs to update the site and then make sure the webmaster makes the changes immediately! There are no excuses for an out-of-date festival website.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Beauty of a Website (Part One)

A website can be the best boon to a festival or event or it can be its worst nightmare. Websites are designed to communicate with readers of the website. If the site isn’t up to date or has incorrect information, the ramifications can be very serious. Take for example “the Festival that wasn’t there”. When we search for festivals we might want to visit, we go to their website. I am sure that we are not alone in doing this. We had found this particular festival in the “Festival & Events in Ontario” Guide. It looked like a great festival to visit. We hadn’t been to that region or to that kind of event, so it was a perfect festival to consider. I checked out their website and it still looked like a good festival to attend, so we put it on our “to visit” schedule. The day before our visit, I re-checked the website to see if there were any changes. Everything seemed okay. The website was the same as the first time I had looked at it. I always print off a copy of the website for reference during our visits. It was going to be a 4 hour trip, so we got up early so that we could have enough time to visit the festival properly. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we took our time traveling, enjoying the sunshine and the picturesque scenery. All was well, or at least we thought, as we drove into the town where the festival was taking place. We drove into the downtown area looking for festival signs along the way. There were none! We decided to drive around the town looking for the festival. We couldn’t find it! Finally, out of desperation we drove back to the downtown area and found the local tourism office.