Best Practices in Social, Learn the Basics.

Working in the service industry is tough, even just looking at a service blueprint can be enough to make someone’s head spin. Navigating the digital world with today’s changing trends and themes can just be too much a lot of the time. Hopefully, some notes from my experience will help you survive and thrive in the digital world!

The very first thing that applies to any facet of business but especially your digital presence is a phrase that I was told when I was younger, Keep it simple, stupid. I would always go about making these huge elaborate plans when in reality the solution was far easier after all. My way I try to simplify things is simple, you should be able to communicate your point in two sentences or less. If it takes more than that to explain reevaluate your presentation first then if the problem still persists reevaluate your plan. When building a website efficiency is key, make sure they can find what they want when they want it no useless pages or,content, everything serves a purpose.

The next one relates to media and its use. Simply put with media, show don’t tell. Why would I tell you, You are going to have a good time when I could show you people similar to you enjoying themselves. Using pictures to communicate feelings is an invaluable skill. When it comes to photos never underestimate their importance, if you don’t Have a current stock of photos it’s worth it to get some professionally taken, your website is often people’s first impression of you it’s worth it to make it a good one

My third point is just don’t overdo it, your customer is there because they want to be, play it cool. Don’t try too hard to “fit in” the harder you try to seem “cool” the less cool you are.

Make it about the customer not yourself, lift them up, don’t try to make their content your own and design your content for their enjoyment.Create a sense of belonging even after their experience incentivise involvement. Have them share pictures, stories, anything, to show that your experience is about them. Lastly, don’t try to dazzle them, try to relate to them. If you show you’re here for them they’ll be there for you.

That builds on my last point. Just have fun with it, if everyone’s having fun people will want to come back. Make jokes, write stories whatever you and or your team is comfortable doing you can make work.

If you and/or your customers have a creative hobby, use your outreach to involve them, the contributor gets exposure and a sense of self-accomplishment while you get community aware content and outreach. If you do have in-house features on your outlets make sure you and your staff can cover each other’s responsibilities. In this communication is key, meetings and shared documents to make sure everyone can access information and expectations about projects are crucial.

Hopefully, with these in mind and a creative spirit, you too can go out into the digital world and thrive amongst the millions of others trying to make it in this emergent format.

How To Create A Great Tourism Experience

The tourism industry is currently going through a major shift as businesses strive to create experiences, rather than simply providing quality services. The reason behind this is simple: tourists are looking to gain lasting memories from their travels, and experiences are just more likely to satisfy this need. Interested in learning how to create great tourism experiences? Here are five characteristics that your business should be emulating:


  1. Globally Unique: Great tourism experiences are globally unique. When designing your tourism experience, consider what makes your geographic location special, and incorporate that into the experience. For example, tourism experiences on the coast should embrace their unique location by incorporating the ocean and coastal culture into the theme or activity.
  2. Personalizable: Creating an experience that meets each individual customer’s wants, needs, and/or desires is a great way to show that your company is willing to go the extra mile to ensure a great experience for each individual. For example, a guiding company can personalize their experience by offering outings that serve people of different experience levels and by allowing customers to choose between different trip lengths, group sizes, and activities.
  3. Interactive: Great tourism experiences get the customer involved and actively learning. When creating your experience, think about fun and engaging ways that the customer can get involved. This is particularly helpful advice for turning products into experiences – you can build an experience by getting your customer actively involved in the process of creating a new product.
  4. Involves All Five Senses: Get the customer immersed in the experience by involving all five senses. This makes the experience more engaging for the customer and can help make the experience feel even more authentic. For example, although a spa’s main service deals with touch, a spa can involve the other four services by designing a visually calming environment, playing relaxing music, employing aromatherapy, and offering water and nutritious health foods after treatments.
  5. Memorable: Most importantly, the experience should be memorable. Customers should leave the experience with memories that will last a lifetime. For the most part, businesses can make their experiences memorable by focusing on what makes them unique and exciting, and by striving to meet and exceed the customer’s expectation. Businesses can also help customers literally take home memories by allowing customers to purchase souvenirs and photographs from their experience.

Steps to Get the True Maine Experience

 If you’re a business owner in the tourism sector and want to know the best way you can provide a more personal experience for your customer, you will find this article particularly helpful. Enjoy!

  Step 1: Know Your Customers.

It’s crucial for any business owner to fully understand the customers you’re targeting. There are so many different types of travelers that visit and all of them expect you to be able to provide for there wants and needs without you even meeting them. To start, study your location(s) and the resources that it has to offer. Knowing what resources your business has to offer will allow you to target the right customer segments. Consider things like: is your business family friendly, are people going to want to plan a family vacation here, or do your resources provide activities that are more oriented for a specific customer only? By deciphering between these things, you will have a much better understanding of how to target your customer.
Here is a link that will explain the different types of customers:

Step 2: Determine the Theme or Story That Best Suits Your Capabilities to Your Customers Wants/Needs.

To determine this, look back to your location and the resources that it provides. First, what attributes make this location authentic? A lot of local towns in Maine represent a long history of the area, how it was developed, and how some of the local businesses operate. For example, you can travel almost anywhere along Maine’s coastline and get a taste of the fishermen’s culture that has been a way of life for local families dating back many generations. This is a great example of showing how tourism businesses along the coast have utilized the deep history of fishing to provide a representation of the locations authenticity. Secondly, determine something unique about your location(s) that can differentiate yourself from competitors. By differentiating yourself you put your business in a better position to target customers looking for a unique experience.

Step 3: Plan the Experience.

It’s crucial that the customer has a positive travel experience from the time they leave their house to the time they arrive at your location. This includes any transportation or equipment needed, any accommodations for the customer, and any activities that are offered. The information about your business provided to the customer and how it is provided to them is key. Determine where the customer will go, what they will do, the activities they will encounter, and how is it unique and authentic compared to competitors? How will the customer be engaged and interacted with? Is there one specific activity or are there several? By targeting these attributes, you are ensuring that the customer’s experience is well-planned and that they are the main focus.

Step 4: Map Out the Flow of Itinerary for You, Your Staff, and Your Partners.

Yourself, your staff, and your partners are what makes or breaks your business. These individuals are the frontline personnel that your customers are going to be interacting with. It’s very important that every staff member or partner understands the vision of the company and the goals they are trying to achieve when dealing with customers. To do so effectively, break each component of the experience into detailed segments that are easy for the staff and partners to understand and reciprocate. Promote safety standards and precautions, as well as a plan to execute such protocols. Plan and prepare for guest limitations (dietary restrictions, handicaps, age issues, etc). Being prepared for guests with any issue shows to the customer that you are taking the extra time to ensure that the experience for these customers is very important to your business.
Here is a link that will help you develop an easy to read and understand flowchart:

Step 5: Know Your Market Positioning.

Knowing your market positioning is very important in order for you to properly target your customers. Knowing whether you are targeting a mass market, niche market, major market or customized market is crucial for deciding how to market your business. To understand what your market positioning is, compare your businesses attributes with these questions: who are your competitors, how are they rated, what makes your business different, what about your location represents a sense culture or heritage, is your location nature-based or does is promote seasonal events, is your business targeting nationally, internationally or both? By determining these questions, you will have a good sense of what your market positioning is and how you can utilize your characteristics to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Here is a link that will help you understand how to determine your businesses market positioning:

Step 6: Market Your Experience.

Marketing your business to your customer is a must and to do it effectively will decide whether you attract attention to your location or not. Break the market into 4 sectors: Business to Consumer, Consumer to Business, Customer to Customer, and Business to Business. These 4 sectors are the ways that your organization’s information is passed throughout the company. It’s crucial that you target all of these sectors in order to effectively market the experience. Also, setting an attractive selling price is very important as a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Here is a link that discusses 7 ways to market your tourism business:

Step 7: Make It Unique and Authentic.

By providing a unique and authentic experience, you are able to connect with customers on a more personal level. Making sure that your customers are learning about your business and are getting hands-on in activities shows to them that your business is going above and beyond to meet the wants and needs of your customers. Connecting with your customers on a personal level makes the experience memorable for them, and they are more likely to share their experience with family, friends, or even post about it on social media. Making your service unique and authentic truly sets you apart from the competitors and proves that you’re providing a true Maine experience.

Step 8: Evaluate Your Progress.

It’s important to evaluate how the company is operating. If things are going awesome, see how you can introduce something new to test out. If things are not operating smoothly, see what you can do differently to make things more valuable to the customer. Or, should you save your money and choose a different path to the desired target market?

Understanding the Beauty behind Fall By: C.L. DeLisle

From a walk on Oct. 22nd, 2017

      I hurried out the door at 5:30 pm for a quick walk in the fading moments of twilight. Here in Maine, it’s that time of year where the insidious darkness of the encroaching winter becomes vivid. The sun had already set as I stepped onto the gravel drive. Utter silence dominated the air. There were no more boats cruising the lake, no more “summer people” walking their dogs, nor were there any cars. Not even a single squirrel could be heard prancing about the woods.


A still Great Pond. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson). 

The foliage is at its peak. Or, in many places, maybe even on that dirt camp road, it’s on the decline. It’s starting to become noticeably colder after an unseasonably warm and welcoming fall. My hands were shoved into the pouch of my Bauer sweatshirt, my breath visible as I walked. An increasing number of leaves were falling from the treetops, covering the gravel of the narrow road beneath a colorful carpet. The carpet was stitched with various shades of red, orange, and yellow leaves that had been knocked free by a powerful wind that blew the night before.


Hathaway Lane in Rome covered in a blanket of leaves. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson). 

Towards the end of the road, the woods open up on the left to a field of wilting grass in which horses once grazed. Across this field there’s an ancient white farmhouse in which a cranky old man lives. There’s a large red barn with a sign hung above its wide doorway that reads “Lakeview Farm”. At the very end of the road, the field opens on all sides to reveal a spectacular view of Great Pond. That night the lake was calm, mirroring the image of the burning sky at dusk perfectly.

While approaching the end of the road, I noticed the sky becoming increasingly visible through the thinning canopies of the white birch trees. The sky looked as it did in the springtime, though the remaining leaves that still clung to the branches were now crisp and brown – in spring, they were moist and green.


Adolescent leaves budding in spring. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

Arriving at the end of the road, I stopped to look out over the still lake: there weren’t many lights left on along its shore. After a few minutes, I turned and headed back towards home. The crimson, maroon, fire orange, and bright yellow canopies of treetops across the field caught my attention; I thought of how beautiful fall is. But then I began to contemplate why it is that fall is considered so beautiful.


Colorful tree line across the field on Jamaica Point. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

Of course, the reason is largely due to its aesthetically pleasing foliage, as people from around the world who travel to New England this time of year will vouch for.


Tree at peak foliage in the Belgrade Lakes. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

But more importantly, fall is beautiful because is is the END. It is the end to something long anticipated and lusted about year after year; it is the end to summer. We often make the fondest and most cherished memories during those long days and warm nights.


A campfire along the Dead River this past summer. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

But when we are living through them, people will often argue that summer is never as sweet as we imagine it; I couldn’t disagree more with this argument.

On my walk earlier that spring, around the same time of day and looking at the same trees I see tonight, only then full of youth, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the excitement that comes with spring. The days would get longer and warmer, everything would get better. I dreamt about all the times to come laughing and living with friends and family. For me, the reality of summer always seems to outshine the fantasy of the dream.

Sure, the present is often unsatisfactory. But it is also where lasting and cherished memories are made. By focusing on each aspect of the present, knowing that soon it will become a memory, each day becomes more valuable. With every leaf that shakes free and dances towards the ground, I can’t help but see a new memory of mine lying within.


A lone leaf that fell from the trees during early fall. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

I see journeying through the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking out over the spectacular expanse laid before my eyes and feeling the warm breeze against my back (read previous blog: “A Walk Along the Ridge”, if you want to know more about that experience).


Horizon line from atop the Blue Ridge Mountains. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

I feel the sweat streaming down my spine on a sweltering June day in Portland. The uneven cobblestone streets of the Old Port make me unbalanced as I hobble around in a walking boot. The annual Old Port Fest is underway and I’m with a group of laughing and smiling acquaintances.


Old Port Fest 2017. (Photo courtesy of Michael Leonard) 

I see four friends lugging an absurd amount of camping gear down a secluded dirt road running along the Dead River. A light mist is falling and they are slightly intoxicated due to a successful “play run” (a non-commercial rafting trip) on the Kennebec River earlier. One of the girls is complaining and asking, “How much further?”. To this, I see myself, still wearing a walking boot, replying: “Just around the next corner,” for the entire two-mile trip.

Adventures consist of both highs and lows


A group of three friends and myself wading in the Dead River. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

I feel the weight of a hiking bag full of equipment pulling heavily against my shoulders as I ascend a mountain with a pond on top to campout. That night, a violent thunder storm rolled in and I can hear the endless pattering of rain against the tent’s roof throughout the starless night.  I feel the stickiness of waking up the next morning, two friends having slept in a pool of spilled boxed wine (just the bag, no box, too bulky for hiking mountains).


Alexandra McCown and Myself atop Tumbledown Mtn. (Photo courtesy of Alexandra McCown)

I see a group of bearded AT (Appalachian Trail) thru-hikers from around the world walking along Route 201 in The Forks with their dirty thumbs out trying to hitch a ride. I see slowing down to pick them up, hearing their fantastic stories around a campfire that night, and bringing them rafting for free the next day on a play run (“Trail Magic” is what they called it). Man did they stink after almost 2,000 miles of walking through the woods!


Group of raft guides and AT thru-hikers enjoying a sunny day on the Kennebec River. (Photo courtesy of Matt Morelli)

I see myself conquering the tallest mountain in Maine with another group of four friends. I can feel my shirt being whipped about like a flag in the cold wind as I drink a similar bag of wine while standing triumphantly atop the Mount Katahdin sign.


Drinking a bag of wine atop Mt. Katahdin with Alexandra McCown. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

Fall is most beautiful because it is the end; it’s the end to one chapter and the beginning of another. Overtime, the leaves become part of the ground they fall upon, reshaping the face of the Earth. Like the leaves, our memories become part of us. The people and places that helped make them may fade, but they (the memories) never leave us. They add to us. They teach us. They help us grow and become stronger. They reshape us.  And best of all, they never stop coming.

More Foliage

Orange and Red foliage on Jamaica Point Road. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

Soon, all the leaves will be gone and there will be a seemingly endless darkness. But as we all know, nothing, not even the Earth and sky, lasts forever. A few months from now the atmosphere will once again start to bloom full with life. Each fertile leaf that’s buds from the treetops will hold the promise of new memories to come.


New leaflets blooming in the spring. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

Pay attention to the little details of the present and choose your company wisely, for those are what make a memory eternal.

  • What do you all think about this latest blog post?
  • Do you agree with my idea of why fall is beautiful? If not, what is your reason?
  • What are some of your most cherished memories made during the summer of 2017?

Shoot me an email or a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What Have You Done This Summer?


What are you up to this summer-

Hey, everyone! We hope you are having a relaxing summer so far filled with awesome adventures!

We want to know what those adventures are! Are you hiking, kayaking, rafting, biking, camping, or fishing? Send us pictures of you and your friends enjoying your favorite summer activities. Let’s show everyone just how fun and action packed a Maine summer can be!

Send your pictures and adventure stories to us on Facebook or email them to us at for a chance to be featured on the blog!

Enjoy the rest of this summer and get outside and explore!


Thank You!

mitch albom.jpg

As the semester and school year come to end we would like to thank everyone for all their support and contributions! During this first year, TRAIL  has allowed students to share their work and experiences in and outside the classroom here at UMF with so many people around the globe!

As Maine enters its peak recreation seasons be sure to keep your eyes peeled for posts over the summer from TRAIL staff on many exciting topics!

Have an awesome and adventure filled summer everybody!!!

4 Key Elements of Visual Content on Your Social Media Site


1: Get target markets engaged in your content in less than five minutes.

In today’s world, people are busier than ever. People are constantly in a rush. Most people rarely even take the time to read the newspaper anymore. Today, visual content is one of the biggest aspects of advertising. The internet is becoming increasingly more popular every day and Youtube and Instagram are some of the most popular examples of social media. And people just find it entertaining. Today there are many companies that utilize visual content. For example, the entire RedBull Champaign is video content and people are very engaged in their commercials. In fact, their commercials have very little to do with their product. However, the biggest reason why this is a good outlet is because people can get a feeling, and make a connection to whatever it is that resonates them in less than five minutes during your lunch break.

2: It can be Humorous

One thing that I know for certain is that humor is a great way to engage people. A visual campaign that makes people laugh is a great way to get people interested in your social page. For instance, a potential target customer goes on your website and is immediately brought to a humorous video advertising your company. If this video immediately makes them laugh, it will probably create meaningful a meaningful experience for them.

3: Provides Simple Social Analytics 

The nice thing about most of these visual content pages is that they have a comment & like section for your content. Now, it may not be the most accurate representation of how people feel about your company but it will give you a rough idea of what people think of your content. For example, if your Youtube video or blog gets many dislikes you will know that you must change something up if you are not getting views. Things you may need to work on are your tags, and if people have questions in comments you can easily reply to them. This keeps your target audience feeling informed which will make them devoted to your company.

4. Video is a Popular Media Source

Remember, YouTube is a social network that comes with a pre-loaded community just waiting to see how your business can inform and entertain them. Video is a great media source. Most people use videos to learn and discover new things. With busier times come with busier people and less time for a newspaper. You can also create video blogs which may be easier for some people to do because they are uncomfortable with their writing skills. 


We live in the digital age. Video is getting increasingly popular and most people use it as a reliable media source. This source is used and will be used for time to come.