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MARKETING

Improving Signage
by Ron Mader

SIGNS WIKI

I owe my soul to each fork in the road, each misleading sign.
- Signage Notebook

Cultural Heritage

FLICKR ALBUM: Signage
SLIDESHOW


Make a good first impression! Visitors expect to find helpful directions -- online and on the ground. Orientation is key.

RULES OF GOOD SIGNAGE

Good signage obeys three simple rules:

1) The information is clear.
2) The information is accurate.
3) The information is where the traveler is looking.

Confusing, obsolete or hard-to-find information leads visitors to question the entire enterprise.

Red flags are displaying a good sign where the traveler is NOT looking or displaying ambiguous information where the visitor is looking.

Woe be the hotel that goes unnoticed because its own signage is too wimpy.

EFFECTIVE SIGNAGE

Effective signage demonstrates a commitment to improved communication among locals and visitors.

Signage -- signs, posters, bulletin boards, highway markers, restaurant menus, brochure racks -- educates and minimizes confusion.

Individual businesses need to promote themselves well and collaborate with local and national government campaigns. This is a great idea though sometimes difficult to make real.

Whether maintaining national parks or establishing information kiosks or visitor centers, the best facilities are proactive. They keep travel information up-to-date and acquire materials from local businesses.

Educate the traveler with locator maps. Do not assume they know where you are!. If you preparing a brochure or website, show the visitor where you operate. You can post a map online or link to Google Maps or other online services which provide additional layers of engagement.

PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT NEEDS

It's a simple fact. Travelers have different expectations and desires. They speak different languages. And effective signage needs to address multiple audiences.

What language do the signs need to be written? Ideally, the signs should be multilingual, capable of being understood by foreigners and locals alike.

For example, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, archaeological sites have markers in Spanish, English and Zapotec languages.

INCORPORATING FEEDBACK

Tip for locals - If a visitor says that a sign is confusing, listen without taking offense. Ask for suggestions. Implement the changes that work best.

TIP -- Problems with graffiti? Place the sign where it is less likely to be vandalized without compromising its visibility.

SIGNAGE MUSTS

  • Name of business
  • Open hours
  • Phone number, Facebook page Twitter id
  • Slogan (optional)
www.flickr.com

AUTHOR

Ron Mader is the responsible travel correspondent for Transitions Abroad and host of the award-winning Planeta.com website.


QUOTES

I owe my soul to each fork in the road, each misleading sign.
- Poi Dog Pondering, Thanksgiving

And in remembering a road sign, I am remembering a girl when I was young.
- Paul Simon, Obvious child


ABOUT THIS GUIDE

This Planeta guide is part of our professional 'How2' series featuring practical, multi-player tips on press trips, media releases and media kits. We also have suggestions on greening events and improving signage.


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