Culinary Tourism: Best Practices

10150652_10151906093381652_940896882_nbest practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. Wikipedia  We’re listing a few best practices in this post and encourage you to work together to flush them out and see where you can go with them.
Anything you do publicly, you should do well.  You will be judged and talked about.  This is not a bad thing!  You want people to take pictures, ask questions and share on the social media platforms.  Let them tell their families, neighbors and friends about a great place they visited!  And … if you screw up, own up.   Right away – it is better to tell people there is a problem and we are working on fixing it than to ignore it and hope it goes away.   Failure is actually okay, it’s a way of finding what doesn’t work and correcting it.
Best practices for Growers and Producers: 
  • Wide variety of product available
  • Seasonal festivals
  • Host cookbook authors
  • On site bakery and gift shop
  • Preserves, artisan bread, some kind of added value products
  • Be on a food trail, or create one with your neighbors
  • A strong web presence is essential.  Not just facebook either, be sure your website is up to date and that you are on the review sites.
  • Agri-tainment … Hay rides, straw maze, antique tractor displays, tours of the fields and barns
Best Practices for Accommodations:
  • Online shopping and ecatalogue on your website for value added products
  • Heritage gardens
  • Brewery on site
  • Newsletter
  • Added value products
  • Campfire cooking classes
  • wine tastings
Best Practices for Restaurants:
  • Showcase best, local food
  • Call out producers on your menu
  • Link to the profiles of your producers on your website
  • Tours, classes, events
  • Harvest dinners
  • Restaurant promotions
  • Presence at major food events
  • for reservations
  • Active on social media
Best Practices for Partnerships:
  • Increase awareness
  • Leverage expertise
  • Add credibility
  • Fill in gaps
  • Pool resources
  • Avoid overlap
  • Promote innovation
  • Share responsibility
  • Expand audience
Best Practices for Community partnerships:
  • Taste trail is a criteria based program – decide beforehand what the criteria should be and stick to it
  • Open 8 months of the year, post hours and adhere to them
  • Invest in a marketing strategy, bring in a professional to help
  • Have a contest for food ambassador and then put them to work once the winners are decided
Find your strength and overcome perception, the reality is consumers want to be told where and when to go. 
Rebecca LeHeup in the middle

Rebecca LeHeup in the middle

The past three days of posts were made possible by attending the Central Iowa Tourism Region training by Rebecca LeHeup from   CITR is a local, Iowa organization that our Chamber belongs to and provides this kind of training throughout the year.  It’s a partnership for us and we’re proud to work together to strengthen tourism in Iowa.  These notes are just that — notes.  I hope that you take them, refine them and use them to your best benefit.  It’s more than just something to think about.  It’s the beginning of something big — if you want it to be.  

And once you’ve begun be sure to visit and register your location!  Let the fun begin ….


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  2. Glenn Muske on April 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Good ideas. Straight and to the point. Glad you discussed partnerships, especially community partnerships

  3. Deb on April 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks Glenn – you are one of my heroes! This definitely gives people a jumping off point to have a conversation.

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