Saturday, July 18, 2009

San Francisco dining experience: How it applies to museums

While I was in San Francisco last month, we went to this restaurant called Blue Plate. Tracing our path, and our experience, might be illuminating as to how your visitors find you and what they expect. To find this restaurant, I searched on Yelp for "San Francisco" and "slow food," having learned that "slow food" was the key search term to finding great restaurants serving local produce and meats. I found this restaurant, read the reviews, checked their website, and read their menu. I felt confident that we would have a good dining experience. I then used Google maps to map out the directions.

While driving there, Google maps sent us the wrong way, so our dinner guest fired up his iPhone, put in the address, and navigated from the back seat. We were happy to see this fun little neighborhood restaurant, and the facade was familiar from seeing it on their website.

The interior was welcoming, the staff seated us promptly, and we enjoyed the open kitchen where we could watch the staff cook, with love and local ingredients.

The food was fabulous, and the bathroom was tiny and absolutely charming.

Tip of the Day: How does this relate to your cultural attraction? Let's deconstruct:
  1. People are more likely to find you on the Net than any other way. A recent study found that 75% of North Americans now use the Internet.
  2. Word of mouth is still important, which is why people use ratings sites like Yelp to make decisions.
  3. Having the right information–that's easy to find—on your website is key to capturing potential visitors.
  4. Think about what search terms visitors might use to make leisure-time decisions, then make sure your website uses those terms, especially in your page names (individual URLs).
  5. People are increasingly using smart phones to navigate the world.
  6. Your web experience needs to match your bricks-and-mortar experience.
  7. If people enjoy their time with you, they're likely to use social media like blogs and Twitter to tell their friends, increasing your positive word-of-mouth advertising.

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