Blue Water visitors bureau brings innovation to tourism pilot project

Getting people to stay longer and come back more often.

It’s the job of just about any tourism and visitors bureau. The visitors guides one sees at hotels and rest stops certainly help, chock full of the area’s restaurants and attractions.

But the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has come up with a new way to let people know about destinations throughout the region, bringing the visitors guide into the 21st century.

The visitors bureau has launched a tourism pilot project in Port Huron and Marine City, distributing QR code window clings to area businesses. Scan the codes with your phone and immediately be taken to the visitors bureau, Downtown PH, or Visit Marine City websites.

“It’s the easiest, fastest way to get tourism information while walking around a city. Whether you’re looking for a good restaurant, park, or event, just scan the code with your phone. You don’t have to spend your time looking around for a visitors guide,” says Katie Stepp, marketing manager for the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“It’s also great for the ever-changing world of events. It’s an accurate, up-to-date tool.”

Stepp got the idea for the QR codes while attending a meeting of the Michigan Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus. She says she noticed that in the age of COVID-19, restaurants have embraced QR codes as a means for customers to access menus without touching anything and applied that idea to visitors guides.

The Blue Water visitors bureau created the codes and had them printed on window clings to distribute to businesses in Port Huron and Marine City. The bureau will take the winter to analyze the data gleaned from the codes and assess the quality of window clings before distributing them to other communities throughout the region.

“I like the concept with or without COVID. It definitely caused more thought into making things hands-free, but it’s useful regardless,” Stepp says.

“It’s a forward-thinking concept, COVID-19 or not.”

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