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Banff receives 2014 Google eTown Award

Banff has received a Google eTown Award for 2014 from Google Canada.  The Google eTown Awards celebrate the towns and cities across Canada whose businesses are embracing the power of the web to grow and fuel their local economies.

“The web helps people everywhere discover the best of what’s around the world or around the corner,” said Sam Sebastian, Managing Director of Google Canada. “As Canadians live more of their lives online, the small and medium businesses that boldly embrace digital are finding new customers, growing their businesses and succeeding in an increasingly connected world.”

Google worked with independent research firm IPSOS to analyze the online strength of local small businesses across Canada, and Banff is one of five cities to be recognized with a 2014 Google eTown Award.

Kurt Schroeder, Director of Marketing & Communications, Banff Lake Louise Tourism, commented on Banff’s latest accolade: “As the destination marketing organization for Banff National Park, the Town of Banff and the hamlet of Lake Louise, Banff Lake Louise Tourism has worked hard in recent years to differentiate our destination against competing travel experiences the world-over.  It’s truly fantastic to see the town and its businesses being recognized by Google for embracing the digital era so proactively and with such success.   

Having a strong presence in the ever-evolving world of digital usage and essentially ensuring we continue to ‘be found’ by travel consumers is key to Banff Lake Louise Tourism’s content marketing strategy and our ongoing support to our members.  Google has been a vital partner for us to develop our efforts in line with the changing digital landscape and we look forward to even greater collaboration in the future.”  

Google recognized innovative Banff businesses during a community celebration on September 3, 2014, whereby Banff was presented with the 2014 Google eTown Award.

"I am proud to see Banff named as one of the leading digitally engaged towns in Canada. Banff's tourism and small business industry is booming, and I'm pleased our great community is receiving this award,” said Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose (Alberta).

“I applaud our Banff businesses who recognize the importance of superb online service in achieving our goal of sustainable economic prosperity and I thank Google Canada for recognizing and encouraging our efforts. To achieve eTown status from no less than the world’s foremost expert in Internet marketing and services is truly a thrill. It’s safe to say Google knows a thing or two about how to success online, so we are delighted with this award,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen.

Banff-based Discover Banff Tours is one business that is leveraging the web to grow their business. The tour company wanted to build awareness among visitors who were planning a visit to Banff and those who were already in town. Using online advertising, Discover Banff Tours targeted potential customers that were searching for Banff attractions. The company also found that they were missing an opportunity to connect with visitors who were searching on their mobile devices.  The company used a specific Google AdWords campaign for mobile users and streamlined its mobile website, which resulted in increased mobile and online website traffic.

“Online marketing and AdWords are giving us the opportunity to connect with potential customers at different times, in different locations and on different devices. It’s a reach we haven’t had before,,” says Melissa Callaghan, Marketing Manager for Discover Banff Tours. “We’ve seen a 260 per cent increase in our mobile traffic. On top of that we’ve seen a 40 per cent increase in clicks so our online marketing has definitely made an impact.” 

A study by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority shows that Canadian Internet users are among the most highly engaged in the world, with 87 of our households connected to the Internet. In contrast, only 41 per cent of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses have a website. Research also shows that small and medium-sized businesses that leverage online tools grow faster than those that do not.

Google Canada hopes that the 2014 eTown winners will inspire Canadian businesses of all sizes to explore the potential for economic growth that can be achieved through the web.

2014 Google eTown Award Winners:

Whistler, British Columbia
Oakville, Ontario
Banff, Alberta
Rosemere, Quebec
Chester, Nova Scotia

Banff Lake Louise Tourism