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Edmonton Tourism looking for ‘YEG Experts’ to personalize visitor experiences

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WATCH ABOVE: Tourism officials are looking for locals who are tapped into everything Edmonton in hopes of connecting them with visitors to positively influence their overall experience. Plus, the mayor has announced the winner of the YEG 2017 pics photo contest. Emily Mertz has the details. – Jan 8, 2018

Do you pride yourself on being an expert when it comes to Edmonton’s food scene? Or maybe you’re fluent in festivals? Edmonton Tourism wants to tap into your expertise.

The goal is to connect Edmontonians with visitors, to share their suggestions — whether it be local restaurants, sports or arts and culture — and positively influence the overall experience.

“YEG Experts are anybody who lives in Edmonton — locals but also front-line staff in the tourism sector and hospitality sector,” Edmonton Tourism spokesperson Renee Williams said on Monday.

“We’re really trying to just empower both audiences combined to give great visitor recommendations to visitors who are coming into Edmonton… to show them what some of the hot spots that they love are and to be part of our marketing strategy.”

The YEG Expert Program offers training to front-line staff who engage with people visiting Edmonton.

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“For everybody in the hospitality sector — so, concierges at hotels, front-line staff at restaurants and attractions — we’re going to be taking a training program out to them,” Williams explained. “It talks a bit about who the visitor is, the types of visitor we attract to Edmonton, a little bit about who we are as a city, our brand as Edmonton Tourism and what we have to offer, how to point the visitor to some of those unique offerings and also a little bit of social media 101.”

Edmonton Tourism will start compiling lists of YEG Experts in particular areas and then match them with visitors making travel-related inquiries.

“Whenever we’ve got a visitor from an international market reaching out on social [media] looking for something to do, we’ll connect with some of these varied YEG Experts and say: ‘Hey, we got a great query about a new hot spot to check out by way of culinary, what would you recommend?’ We’re making them part of the conversation and part of the engagement.

“It’s going to personalize [the visit] and customize it for sure,” Williams said. “We’re an authentic city — that’s a huge part of our brand, that’s what we push.

“So, I think we’re really going to see that authenticity come through in all our social channels that much more when we’ve got locals giving the recommendations.”

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Williams said the way tourists research their upcoming stay has changed significantly in recent years.

“People are looking to find star ratings and recommendations,” she explained. “They want to know that those who’ve gone before them have truly tested something and checked it out and have said, ‘Yeah, this is great. Go check it out.’ People are doing their homework in the social and the digital space before they land in destination.”

Anyone interested in the YEG Expert Program is encouraged to check out Edmonton Tourism on social media and engage with staff there.

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