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Use digital storytelling to share local experiences

Presented by Marcia Nykamp
in Communication

Sponsored by Driftscape

In 2020, the tourism industry saw a devastating impact due to COVID, one with lasting effects. People can no longer travel the way they used to. It is now up to municipalities to provide them with safe, local tourism experiences.

“Hyper local” experiences are trending. Municipalities are looking for new ways to promote their local sites and businesses. They want to stay top of mind while responding to changing COVID-19 protocols. They’re seeking an approach that will help them thrive during – and after – these challenging times.

Advantages of a Digital Shift

There is no better time than now to make the shift to digital. It is a way to respond to current challenges. It’s also a key way that municipalities can position themselves for the future, all while working with decreased budgets.

Printed guides have long been a staple of traditional tourism marketing. Even before COVID, printed guides were less attractive with younger demographics. But they’re even more problematic during a pandemic, as visitors do not want to handle print material. They’re also difficult to keep up to date, and have high production and distribution costs.

These factors create a push to “go digital” for many municipalities across Canada.

One such tool that can enable this digital shift is the Driftscape app. It is packed with user engagement features, including:

  • self-guided tours;
  • augmented reality; and
  • media support for audio, video, and photos.

While the app empowers municipalities with powerful insights, it also helps give visitors an immersive and safe experience. The app gives municipalities all the features they would expect in their own app. But they avoid the cost and hassle of creating and maintaining one.

Interactive Storytelling Possibilities

An interactive version of the physical visitor guide, mobile apps can help share stories in a whole new way. Municipalities can create and manage their own content. It is flexible, easy to update, and increases their reach to a much broader audience.

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For example, Brockville, Ontario used Driftscape to digitize their visitor centre. The app helped position them on the cutting edge of visitor services. They’ve been able to stay top of mind with visitors and locals alike. Users can use the app to go explore the city, or use it to “couch-surf” while planning a trip from home.

New Frontier in Tourism Marketing

The new world of mobile app marketing is the new frontier in the tourism market. This proved particularly true during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so much uncertainty, the first reaction for most businesses was to put the brakes on.

This past summer, a shift to doing business online became the new normal. Now, digital marketing and apps are key tools for surviving in this new environment. It is a way of staying resilient to the challenges communities face now – and preparing for the future, too.

Learn how your community can partner with Driftscape here www.driftscape.com/partner. MW

Municipal World Insider and Executive Members: You might also be interested in the full version of this article or in Ryan Maeck’s article: A simplified approach to emergency management. Note that you can now access the complete collection of past articles (and more) from your membership dashboard.


Marcia Nykamp, Director of Sales at Driftscape, has more than 14 years of tech sector experience and is an expert at building customer-focused teams. Nykamp has enjoyed working with municipalities across Canada to create engaging visitor experiences.

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