Beautiful Virginia scenery for all the bikers (courtesy Motorcycle Grand Tour of VA on Facebook)How can you make a fun biker event even better? More effective integration of social media platforms.

Don’t bolt them on as an afterthought – tie them together and ensure that they feed off of one another.

I was traveling through Front Royal, Virginia recently before a short drive down to Luray. At the local visitor’s center (while putting up a TwitPic of the nice staffer helping my Dad) I noticed a poster for the Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia.

According to the website, bikers can enjoy….

“A motorcyclist’s dream tour of the Commonwealth! The ride includes stops at 82 destinations and tourism attractions all across Virginia. The more places you visit, the more fun you’ll have as you collect points for special prizes….The program kicks-off April 10, 2010, and official Virginia Grand Tour passports must submitted by Nov. 1, 2010.”

This year’s special emphasis is recognition of the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I’d been thinking about bikers and tourism because of Joanne Steele’s excellent post on her Rural Tourism Marketing blog – are motorcycles a good match for your rural tourism town?

What I like about Virginia’s tour is that social media channels are included in the communications effort.

What They’re Doing Right

There is an active Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia Facebook Page, with people who are excitedly talking about picking up their Tour passport stamps at various stops (there are over 500 registered riders,) telling stories about their experiences and uploading photos of their bikes in different towns.

There is a Tour Twitter stream at @MotorcycleVA, too.

3 Suggestions for Improvement

The efforts would be even more integrated if the Facebook logo, link and feed activity widget were included on the website, so that people didn’t have to hunt around themselves on Facebook to find the Page. It’s the most mainstream social media channel right now, and if you want people to interact with your organization there, then cross-pollinate that presence on your other sites.

I’d love to see a much more interactive tour map, with photos and links back to at least the CVBs of each destination town….the current Tour map is a static JPG photo.  Again, Joanne Steele to the rescue with her RippleNW post about how to create a customized Google Map.

Finally, when I checked with my Android smartphone, I found that the main Tour website is not optimized for mobile users, which I’m sure includes a lot of those riders out on the road.

I’m not a biker myself, but I am certainly a fan of backroads and Virginia has some gorgeous ones. I wish the Tour great success!