Here is a very interesting article written by Steve Keenan about how tourist boards are using social media to get their message across:-
This weekend, 28 bloggers will arrive in Canada to begin an epic rail trip from three different departure points that meet up in Toronto at the end of the project. It’s the brainchild of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), arranged to tie in with a blogger conference in Toronto, and shows yet again how tourist boards (or Destination Management Organisations – DMOs – in new media speak) are increasingly engaged with social media.
The bloggers will travel from Vancouver, Gander and Halifax stopping off en route, and will blog, video and Instagram on their travels, which will all be collated on an excellent Tumblr page created for the event. The CTC is also lobbing in the chance to win a rail trip – entrants must retweet the page, ensuring wide distribution of the project.
Canada has been at the forefront of DMO development into digital and social media: it’s Facebook page has more than 217,000 ‘Likes’ and the latest #ExploreCanada project follows on from other blogtrips created by the CMC.
But Canada is still in a minority among DMOs, however. A conversation I had recently with one in-house expert painted a rather dismal picture of how the 200 DMOs in England are getting to grips with social – she estimated fewer than 10 are ‘getting it.’ Scotland, Wales and Ireland are far further advanced, although that is much to do with funding and political will.
Internationally, Spain, notably the Costa Brava and Valencia regions, is doing extremely well – with necessity the mother of invention (the country’s international marketing budget has been cut by 90% in the current economic climate). Australia, Germany, Flanders, Austria and several US states are also advanced in moving to social to build personal relationships with visitors.
Others are starting out on their social journey, particularly in south-east Asia where Thailand and Malaysia have publicly stated intentions to further develop their digital/social output. But large swathes of the Middle East, eastern and central Europe and Africa (South Africa excepted) have yet to begin.
One critical decision they will have to make is how to start that journey. Facebook and blogtrips are two important components, although it is interesting to note that Canada is using Tumblr as the main platform to promote its blogger rail trip. Costa Brava is a big fan of Instagram, and brilliantly sustains the hashtag #incostabrava for all blog trips and social interactions.
By doing so, Costa Brava keeps the conversation going indefinitely, acknowledging that a lot of social interaction will take place long after a blog trip – so it makes sense to find all the created content in one place. Canada, with its #ExploreCanada hashtag, has the same philosophy.
It all serves to remind that social and digital marketing is still in its infancy among DMOs, with many heading in different directions as they strive to understand and implement future policy. But that’s the beauty of social at the moment – a fizzing box of technology which inspires a technicolour raincoat of innovation. Long may it continue – and we’ll all work it out in the future.