PHOENIX — The Arizona Office of Tourism is offering a way for small businesses to reach more people, hopefully, to help their owners create more revenue than before the pandemic.
Through online webinars, they are hoping to help businesses understand e-commerce, Google My Business, Google Ads, even understanding the guidance to reopen when the state's stay-at-home order was lifted.
Monica Nicodemus owns JoyRidesAZ with her husband. Their business provides golf cart-led tours through Old Town Scottsdale. They have a photographer tour, a scenic tour, and another tour that stops at a few local restaurants.
During our beautiful spring weather, they are used to seeing plenty of customers, especially out-of-town guests.
"Folks visit here often, so... every year, Susie and John come back," Nicodemus said. "Or Alan and Sue are back in town. It's really fun."
But, Nicodemus said by March things started to change quickly.
"Our phone started ringing," Nicodemus recalled. "It was folks wanting to cancel and we thought, 'Well, it's not their fault that they can't come.' So we just need to do what's right and return their money."
The coronavirus pandemic cost them thousands of dollars -- almost immediately, she said.
"Instead of me... chomping at the bit, I needed to do something," Nicodemus said.
She decided to take action to ensure that when visitors and Valley residents feel safe hopping aboard again, she would be ready to make back the money lost and even expand from there.
"I'm 55," Nicodemus said. "So, I didn't grow up with the computer or... Google, Instagram, Facebook."
She told The Rebound Arizona team that she has participated in 30 webinars since the pandemic began, including free ones with the Arizona Office of Tourism and Off Madison Ave.
"We did the first one on 'Google My Business' and basically just how to set-up a business account with Google so that your website and through search engines can actually be found," Off Madison Ave Partner Roger Hurni explained.
They have been putting together those webinars which are geared toward helping businesses boost sales by utilizing technology.
"We noticed in some research that we had done that a lot of small businesses just weren't prepared for a new digital world," Hurni said.
The next webinar happens Wednesday, June 10, at 11 a.m. and will tackle the best social media practices.
"We only touched on the tip of the iceberg of what we could do and... we were doing really well before the pandemic," Nicodemus said. "So I have faith that we're going to do even better by understanding how to use these different platforms."