Let's Talk Tourism

Let’s Talk Tourism Ep1 – What is an RTO?

RTO stands for Regional Tourism Organization. Ontario is divided into 13 RTOs and we are #8 – RTO8. Regional Tourism Organization 8 (RTO8) is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries to promote regional tourism activity in the area that is now branded as Kawarthas Northumberland.  The purpose of Kawarthas Northumberland is to support a competitive and sustainable tourism industry, attract visitors, generate economic activity, and create jobs within the region that encompasses:

City of Kawartha Lakes

City and County of Peterborough

County of Northumberland

This is achieved through consumer marketing campaigns with the Kawarthas Northumberland brand and partnership initiatives such as the Butter Tart Tour and Trent-Severn Trail Towns. RTO8 also supports the tourism industry through professional development opportunities and a partnership funding program.

Head over to our About RTO page for information on how the RTOs fit into the broader hierarchy of tourism organizations. As a tourism business within RTO8 your first point of contact is with your Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). If your DMO does not know about your product or experience you are missing out.

How to best Leverage your DMO & RTO8 to Benefit Your Tourism Business

  • Make sure your social accounts are optimized – your social accounts should be business pages, with a name that is the same as (or very close to, if the exact name isn’t available) your business name. And make sure you have claimed your Facebook username for your business so that we can tag you.
  • Have a website, or at the very least an active Facebook page…  Your DMO needs to have somewhere to send people.
  • Get familiar with your DMO and RTO about their marketing pillars – the more you can align your content with what they are promoting, the more likely they will talk about you.
  • Tell your DMO about your events and new tourism products. When the DMO includes your event on their events calendar or features your business, it allows the RTO to find and promote it. And your DMO won’t know about it if you don’t tell them!
  • Give us some lead time. Speaking of letting your DMO know what you’re up to, make sure you give lots of lead time – social media content calendars are planned in advance, and if the information is available early, they’re more likely to be able to work it into their calendars and pass the info to the RTO.
  • Take great photos and videos! High-quality visual content is an essential part of our content strategy – if we can’t find good images, it’s much less likely that we’ll be able to promote your business. You don’t need to have a professional photographer on staff, a newer smartphone or DSLR camera and a little bit of know-how can get you far. If you are considering having pro photos done, check out RTO8’s Partnership Allocation Program to take advantage of some free funding.
  • Use the appropriate hashtags in your posts – This allows the various organizations to find your stuff, so they can promote it. Also, Tag your DMO and RTO in your posts. If you tag us, we’ll see it. If you tag us on Instagram Stories, it’s even easier for us to share directly to our Stories. Here are the hashtags to use and social accounts to tag:

Kawarthas Northumberland

#ExperienceKN

Facebook: @KawarthasNorthumberland

Twitter: @perfectwknds

Instagram: @perfectwknds

Trent-Seven Trail Town

#TrentSevernWaterway, TSWTrailTowns 

Facebook: @TSWTrailTowns

Twitter: @TSWTrailTowns

Instagram: @TSWTrailTowns

The Buttertart Tour

#ButterTartTour

Facebook; @ButterTartTour

Twitter: @buttertarttour

Instagram: @buttertarttour

City of Kawartha Lakes 

#KawarthaLakes

Facebook: @ExploreKawarthaLakes

Twitter: @explorekl

Instagram: @explore_kl

Peterborough and the Kawarthas

#PTBO #theKawarthas

Facebook: @TheKawarthas

Twitter: @pktourism

Instagram: @thekawarthas

Northumberland County

#NorthumberlandT

Facebook: @NorthumberlandCountyTourism

Twitter: @NorthumberlandT

Instagram: @northumberlandt

  • Attend training sessions and stakeholder events – the better we know you and what you’re up to, the better able we’ll be to identify opportunities to promote you in the region’s marketing strategy. It also allows you to gain a better sense of where the organization is going, how you can work with us, and find opportunities to partner with or learn from fellow tourism operators.
  • Remember that we can’t share everything you do. But if you consistently engage with us and provide great content that aligns with the region’s marketing, it makes it so much easier to leverage your tourism product!