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Chamber announces redesigned website, separate tourism element

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Brainerd Lakes Chamber introduces tourism, business websites

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber announced it redesigned its tourism website, explorebrainerdlakes.com, and created a new chamber website, chamberbrainerdlakes.com.

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These websites, with transition between the visitor pages and the chamber pages, were created in collaboration with members, Faster Solutions Inc., and ChamberMaster.

The chamber reports the new websites offer easier navigation, more intuitive searching, drop-down menus, panoramic photography of the area and custom programming to meet the needs of website visitors. The websites also feature the chamber’s use of social media with highlights of the tourism and chamber Facebook pages and blogs.

“As a premier vacation and business destination, the chamber continues to invest in a strong online presence that will showcase our community. In doing so we felt it was important to split the tourism information from the chamber information,” said Steve Mau, chamber board chair and Brainerd General Rental owner, in a news release. “As a result, we believe visitors to the websites will find the information they want more quickly and in a more helpful format. And we think they will enjoy the clean, fresh look of the websites and the focus on great photography.”

Brandon Knowles, Faster Solutions owner, agreed.

“The new Brainerd lakes area chamber website is packed with new tools and features to help both area visitors and local users. By design, it has improved visual navigation and search capabilities to get what you need quickly,” Knowles said. “New social tools are fully integrated making it easier than ever to connect with the chamber and stay in the know. Overall, the website is an improvement on all levels and was developed with a strategic focus to better serve business members, tourism, and the chamber staff. We are proud to be a part of this project and to present the chamber with its new website for 2012.”

Scott Juranek, ChamberMaster CEO, said ChamberMaster was excited to again be part of the team that helped create the new website for the Brainerd Lakes Chamber. “We work with more than 1,200 chambers and business associations and Lisa Paxton (Brainerd Lakes Chamber CEO) and her team are very progressive in promoting the community and their members through their website. For most businesses it doesn’t take many website leads each year to have that value alone pay for a membership. The national business directory sites will never have the timely updates and depth of information that a local chamber can provide. When consumers do an Internet search, we are significantly increasing the chance that they are going to get directed to the www.explorebrainerdlakes.com and then have a great experience when they arrive at the site. We are pleased we were able to incorporate many of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber’s ideas into our now significantly improved product.”

Events calendars are one example of how information is being packaged to help create a better experience on the website. Visitors to the websites will realize three distinct calendars — a tourism-focused calendar, a community calendar, and a chamber calendar. The tourism-focused calendar, found in the primary navigation under Events at explorebrainerdlakes.com, has information about festivals and celebrations; arts, culture and entertainment; racing; recreation; culinary activities; and premier annual events. The community calendar also may be found at explorebrainerdlakes.com beneath the “About Brainerd Lakes” tab. This calendar offers information on more community-focused activities, such as educational classes, health and wellness events, fundraising activities, and community services. The chamber calendar offers information only about upcoming chamber events, such as Business After Hours, Lakes Vybe luncheons, and CHOW Time lunches.

“We think potential visitors to our region will want to come here after viewing the website,” Paxton said. “They will understand the Brainerd lakes area is a great place to live and a great place to explore.”

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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