August 2, 2018 | Network Spotlight: Main Street Maine
Maine’s 10 Nationally Accredited Main Streets Unveil Interactive Web Portal Aimed at Attracting Visitors
Yesterday, the Maine Downtown Center launched an interactive web portal aimed at attracting visitors through one-stop shopping and compelling content. The website is a collaboration among the state's 10 Main Street Maine programs and the Maine Downtown Center, with guidance and matching funds from the Maine Office of Tourism.
Main Street Maine features local makers, innovative events and natural assets in Maine’s downtowns on one connected, user-friendly website. “People come to Maine to discover one-of-a-kind places, and Main Streets have them in a big way,” says Anne Ball, Program Director for Maine Development Foundation’s Maine Downtown Center. “We’ve learned from the Maine Office of Tourism that today’s visitors seek cultural, food and unique experiences. They want to know about world renowned museums in Rockland and Brunswick, the newest restaurants in Belfast and Augusta, great boutiques in Biddeford and Bath, cool breweries in Westbrook and Saco, and the best festivals in Skowhegan and Gardiner. This website provides one-stop shopping.”
The tourism project came about after a group from Maine attended a 2017 Main Street Now Conference session on cultural/heritage tourism. Once home, Delilah Poupore, Biddeford’s Main Street program director, and Abbe Levin, the Maine Office of Tourism's heritage tourism consultant, met to talk about how they could collaborate to attract visitors to Maine’s Main Streets. They came up with the idea of the website and brought the concept to the rest the state's Main Street programs for the green light. Poupore, who served as the project’s coordinator, applied for a $9,500 grant from the Maine Office of Tourism. The Maine Downtown Center and the other Main Street programs committed to pitching in for the requisite matching funds.
The grant was awarded in November 2017, and roll-out began immediately. Belfast, Maine-based web designer Bonneville Consulting was selected because of their experience with tourist-facing websites. From February to July of 2018, branding for the site was completed and messaging was fine-tuned. Levin worked closely with the group on key features that tourists sought (e.g., had to be mobile friendly, they seek advice not lists, etc.). Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media pages were created in advance of Monday’s launch to help direct visitors to the website.
“The site is full of advice and blog posts that recommend great food, coffee and brews as well as key cultural events and amenities,” explains Poupore. “Once people get to their destination, they’ll look around and find a lot more to do, or even head to another one of the state’s Main Streets.” Visitors to the state’s Visitor Information Centers can pick up a rack card that directs them to the website. In addition, the project will include marketing to the Boston area, to encourage travel from that region.
For questions about the Main Street Maine tourism project or the MainStreetMaine.org website, please contact the project coordinator, Delilah Poupore, executive director, Heart of Biddeford, at 207-284-8520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.