Community calendar fragmentation

In any given week it seems there are many different kinds of events happening in Richmond and Wayne County. Sports games, lectures, art shows, educational events, government meetings, not-for-profit community meetings, outdoor adventures, book clubs, theatrical performances, events for kids and families, neighborhood meetings, block parties, live music, festivals, fairs, fundraisers, bingo, club events, sales and specials at local businesses, worship services, and much more.

There is a lot going on here, and that’s something to celebrate!

The challenge is that someone casually looking for “something to do” might have to search several different places before finding an option that appeals to them, and to get complete information about all of the events going on. If they don’t look in the right place, they might miss out. Doing a thorough search of all the local calendars could take hours, and each one has strengths and gaps in the info they provide.

For example, the Pal-Item events calendar has a lot in it and is the main source of info if you search online for “richmond indiana events,” but because they highlight regional items at the same level as local items, the “Popular Events” listings all take place outside of Wayne County. The WayNet calendar tends to be frequently updated, but only allows non-commercial events to be posted. The City of Richmond’s “things to do” calendar mainly features city government meetings. On some of these sites it can be very difficult to share the event details with friends and family, even just to generate an email with a link, let alone to re-share it on social media with all the needed details. And as you search through calendars hosted by our various not-for-profits, colleges/universities and other entities in Richmond and the surrounding cities, the trend continues.

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Tourism hospitality test

Welcome home

Years ago I worked at the front desk of a hotel, part of a chain of national business traveler properties.

Part of my job was to have at the ready lots of information that would be useful to people just passing through the area. I’d memorized the phone numbers of all the decent restaurants within a few miles, knew the operating hours of every good shopping location in the area, and could tell you just what time to get a cab from just the right cab company to make your flight without being too early or too late. Every time someone started to ask, “could you recommend a…” I’d be ready with several good options, and it helped them feel welcome and at home.

When I visit new places now, I’m careful to observe how well people there welcome out-of-towners and make them feel at home.

I’m especially sensitive to it here in Richmond, where I don’t think we’ve always done a good job of this.

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