Let’s take a short break from staff training and talk about signage as you get ready to open your venue.
Ever notice how dependent we are on signage? Whether it’s in our car and we’re looking for a particular road, or in the grocery store and we need to find a certain item, or in a store and we need the restroom, signs make life easier! They save time, make life easier and even help us make money. If people can’t find their way around, they will sometimes give up all together and go where things are clearer and simpler. When I’m on the highway and need to stop for gas, I rely on the signage to decide if to get off. Sometimes I want to know how far off the highway it is as well! It is no different in your agritourism venue. Your guests need to be able to find their way around and not have to guess where they need to go next. So aside from a map, make sure signage is your next navigational priority!
We offer some sign options on our resource page that may be just what you are looking for. Or, we can work with you to put something together that is unique to your venue. Visit our page at: https://www.agritourismideas.com/first-impressions
If I were to be forced to put signage into four vital categories, it would be these:
Ok let’s break those down and see if you have them covered. I will give you a definition of each and some examples of where you might find them in an agritourism venue.
Directional Signs - Signs that point you in the general direction of an event or activity.
Ok these are sometimes both informational and directional, but let’s focus on the directional. There are some huge venues out there where parts of your business are so far removed from one another that guests wander around looking for things. Sometimes it is based on sheer distance or the topography of the land. Either way, it is impossible to know what’s around the next corner. This is where it’s important to use your signage to move your customers in the right direction. Pick a point of intersection where there are many options from which to choose and use that as a sort of sign post. It may require more direction further down the path, but begin with some arrows to move them in the general vicinity. If there is a question of visibility, put them up high where they can’t be missed. And make them venue appropriate! You are a business, not a hobby. Invest some money in your signs and use them for years to come.
Examples: Anything that may be hard to find should get a directional sign. Entrance and check in are biggies. Parking and restrooms are crowd favorites. Anywhere your guests need to get to. It may be as simple as one sign with a list of activities and one arrow or multiple arrows. If your venue has two main activity areas, maybe they just need to know how to get to the other one!
Informational Signs - Signs that give information! (I know I used the word in the definition).
These are wide and varied and will probably make up most of your signage. These convey all types of information that let people know where they are or what they need to do. They are more of the sign you encounter when you get there than the ones that get you there. So, I’ve followed my directional sign to the hayride area, but the hayride sign lets me know I have arrived and where I enter. It may also have another sign that communicates some of the necessary guidelines for that location. “Stay behind the ropes” “Don’t throw corn” etc. Informational signs are huge in an agritourism venue. The concession signs are visible and appealing to bring people to your stand. The menu and price list let them know their options. Your information board is full of informational signs. From how your maze is built, to hours of operation, to special events and so on. Again, don’t skimp on quality and make it fit in. You will use most of these for many years.
Examples: Corn Cannon, Hayride, Pony Ride, Maze, Restrooms, Concessions, Rules Board, Informational Board, Hours of Operation, Duck Races Etc.
Interactional Signs - Signs that allow your guests to interact with them.
These are less common but still vital. They require some type of action from your customer to serve their purpose. They are primarily used for marketing and branding, and can be helpful for the bottom line.
Examples: Photo Op Signs. These allow your guests to take some creative photos while at the same time connecting your venue name to the photo memory. They usually involve funny signs with cut out faces etc. Contests. We use signs within our contests and base them on our theme. We used political signs during the election for targets in several locations. During the NFL theme, we had signage that was used for accuracy in our passing competitions. Lots of creative ways to go in this category!
Educational Signs - Signs that are used to teach
These are big in an agritourism venue. One of our goals in agritourism is to help our guests learn about this often-forgotten way of life. This type of sign is used heavily during field trip or generally during any weekend visit. There are many educational signs that are also interactive.
Examples: Cider Making, Pumpkin Facts, Animal Facts, Bee Behavior, Corn Facts, Etc. No end to these!
How clearly can your guests navigate your venue? What does your venue look like from their point of view? Use signage to help them experience all that you have to offer!