Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 16th, 2008 at 11:06 am
is leading an effort to create a
new bike tourism website.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Travel Oregon knows a good thing when they see it — that’s why they’ve decided to invest in a major new website that will be devoted to biking in Oregon.
A committee to help map out the objectives and oversee design of the site met at the offices of Cycle Oregon in North Portland last week. The meeting was led by Kristin Dahl, Travel Oregon’s sustainable tourism specialist.
In addition to Travel Oregon staffers Dahl and their Community Relations Director Vernoica Rinard, the committee includes a who’s-who of Oregon bike advocates including; newly hired State of Oregon Bicycle Recreation Coordinator Alexandra Phillips, Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Executive Director Kenji Sugahara, Jill Van Winkle with the International Mountain Bicycling Association, PDOT veteran and bike touring specialist Jeff Smith, Cycle Oregon ride director Jerry Norquist, BTA Executive Director Scott Bricker, Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves, and others.
Travel Oregon has selected Substance, a local web design firm (with a bikey vibe) to create and develop content for the new site.
At the meeting, Dahl said they want to create a site that “serves a variety of purposes…not one that just puts heads in beds.” Jerry Norquist, who is one of Oregon’s most influential and effective bike advocates, expressed deep gratitude for Travel Oregon’s willingness to invest in this project.
“Thanks to Travel Oregon,” he said, “we’re (Oregon) going to lead with this.” Norquist went on to emphasize how no other state is likely to have such a robust and professional website devoted solely to bike tourism.
Substance content producer Lynn Twiss said they hope to build a site that becomes a “place where everyone can interact and get what they need about biking in Oregon.”
Three Substance staffers were at the meeting and they asked the assembled group what they hoped the new site would achieve. Some of the ideas that were discussed included a listing of the state’s top rides, a focus on selected bike events, special sections for biking in different parts of the state, a system to let site visitors rate their experiences (one certain routes, hotels, etc…), and more.
I reached Travel Oregon’s Chief Strategic Officer Scott West by phone after the meeting and asked him to put their investment in this project into perspective. West chose not to share a specific dollar amount, but said that, “We’ve made a significant contribution to make sure this site gets off the ground and that it’s a world-class product.”
West said biking is perfectly aligned with many of their top goals including their “sustainability agenda” and geotourism. He also pointed to potential to promote biking based on tourist surveys:
“When we look at our research from visitors, they view Oregon as an outstanding place to ride…and then when you look at the amount of actual biking activity going on, that amount — and the differential of how they view it — that’s the opportunity.”
According to West, cycling is part of a $1 billion outdoor tourism market in Oregon. The site is expected to launch in beta form in mid-April at the annual Oregon Bike Tourism Summit.
Stay tuned for special opportunities to provide feedback on the design and features.