Go digital, Lt. Gov. Guadagno tells tourism industry gathering
New Jersey boasted another solid year of tourism spending in 2014, but in order to keep up the momentum, industry leaders may have to update the way they serve and connect with their visitors.
Addressing an annual conference in Atlantic City on Thursday, Acting Gov. Kim Guadagno suggested that New Jersey transform into a digital marketing powerhouse, recognizing that the "2015 visitor" is one that accesses and shares all of their information digitally.
"That's the world we live in today," said Guadagno, who also directs the state's Division of Travel and Tourism. "That's the 21st century."
Instead of grabbing a paper brochure upon arrival, Guadagno said, visitors whip out their iPads or cell phones to get the information they need. And they're not using a Kodak camera to take pictures. All that's needed is a phone and the occasional selfie stick, with the ultimate goal of posting their experiences on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Guadagno said the best way to connect with evolving tourists is through the social media channels they use each day.
During her speech, Guadagno launched a social media campaign to get the ball rolling. Using the hashtag #tourismtuesday and the handle @LtGovGuadagno, residents are encouraged to invite Guadagno to their favorite New Jersey destinations. She'll be visiting some of the suggestions each Tuesday during the summer.
New Jersey's tourism industry in 2014 accounted for $42.1 billion in economic activity, representing a 3.8 percent increase over the year prior. Visitation to New Jersey jumped by 4.4 percent.
Twenty of New Jersey's 21 counties saw an increase in tourism sales. Non-shore counties made up more than 51 percent of the total pot.