On a recent trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, we used several methods to find restaurants and coffee shops. The hotel had a city map with advertisments as the border of the map, and we found several good places to eat that way. There was also a pamphlet-sized tourist guide and a magazine-sized regional guide for us to use. We were not disappointed with our results.

However, we also visited one of Halifax’s physical information sites and spoke to a lovely woman about having dinner in the city. She mentioned several restaurants, one being a Thai restaurant not far from our hotel. We had dinner there, and it was delicious. So good, in fact that we went there for a second evening meal a few days later. This restaurant was not listed in any of our informaiton sources.

In April, we visited Staunton, Virginia, and also used a pamphlet-sized tourist publication to find an Italian restuarant. The food there was very disappointing, although the after dinner coffee was superb.

Our coffee shop experince was somewhat different. Each morning we asked a different hotel employee where their own favorite coffee shop was, and went to several. They were all very good, and very different from each other, and we felt we’d gotten a good sense of the flavor of the city…off the beaten path!

Those establishments listed on your hotel map, and in the tourist publications have paid to be listed there. There is no guarantee of the quality of their offerings. However, many of them got tons of business as a result.

Where do you show up, and how will people find your business if they are looking for what you sell?