Saratoga-North Creek Railway at the North Creek train station
Business owners in every community along the Saratoga & North Creek Railway are able to list their establishments for free on the railway’s website.
So far, though, only a few towns are taking advantage of this offering. Yet, it’s easy and it’s free advertising.
“I call the form ‘plug and play,’” said Luisa Craige-Sherman, marketing and public relations manager for the Saratoga & North Creek Railway. “It is very easy, and if anyone has ever ordered anything online, or even responded to an online survey, they can do it.”
Saratoga & North Creek Railway officials are encouraging people who operate businesses, attractions and other services to go to their website — www.sncrr.com — and type in their information.
Once on the home page, click on the button titled, “See all there is to do along the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor.”
Then pick the community:
•Glen Hudson Campground
Once a person clicks the community, listings can be made in six categories:
Then click on “List my business here,” and fill out the form. People must include their name, email address, business name, phone number, location relative to the train depot and brief description (maximum of 75 characters). A website address is optional.
So far, only a handful of communities have listings; however, North Creek is ahead of the rest with about 50 listings in all categories, except “winter activities.” Basic information may be uploaded, along with contact information. A website link can be made from the title of the business.
Craige-Sherman recommends that businesses along the entire railway take advantage of this free opportunity.
“We do a huge amount of media advertising far beyond the purse of most local businesses,” Craige-Sherman said. “Plus we tap into a niche of the railroad enthusiasts and senior and bus tours that most local businesses would never market to or have the resources to do.”
Having a one-stop space for information on attractions and services on the railway’s website makes it easy for travelers to plan their stays.
“We are hoping that by showing so much to do that multi-day stays become more the norm,” Craige-Sherman said. “We are starting to see that build slowly. Hotels in North Creek who are doing train packages are starting to see this.”
Officials at Iowa Pacific Holdings, the parent company of the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, decided early on to make these free listings available to local businesses.
“It is a symbiotic relationship,” Craige-Sherman said. “The more visitors see there is a reason to travel to North Creek or other stops along the route, the more passengers we have and the more customers businesses have. It’s win-win.”
Changes to listings can be made within a few days. The listings are limited to towns along the railroad line and communities that the railway services by a shuttle, or businesses that provide shuttle service from the train station to their business.
Events to be listed should be unique and held in towns along the railroad line. They should preferably be multi-day events.
“More communities are looking into thinking this way if they want to tap the passengers on board,” Craige-Sherman said.