I’m the first to admit I’m the human version of Pavlov’s dog. But for me the stimuli is not the sound of a bell, but the mention of Disney. And the response is not salivation, but travel planning. Recently, my husband mentioned that his upcoming work conference is being held in Orlando. He mentioned that perhaps the whole family should join him and make a Disney vacation out of it. Ding Ding Ding. That’s all I needed. I was off to the internet to check availability, prices, and attractions.
I’m not alone. Most Americans go online when they start to plan vacations. I heard about that and more when I attended the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism last week. In his keynote address travel marketing consultant Roger Brooks offered suggestions to state tourism offices, convention and visitor’s bureau offices and more about how to more successfully market their location. Much of his suggestions involve greater use of the tools provided by the internet. For information go to his website at www.destinationdevelopment.com.
After hearing him speak he inspired me to see what role areavoices blogging could play in meeting the needs of the tourism and travel industry. So here it is:
The 5 Reasons Tourism and Travel Officials Should Start a Free Blog on areavoices:
1. Travelers want MORE, MORE, MORE. I’m quoting Billy Idol here, but it’s true: travel planners want MORE information both from experts and from other travelers. Brooks reports that 70% of those who go online are frustrated by travel planning. They are seeking as much as they find about how they will spend their hard earned money. What are their options? What can they do to get the most for their money? They want to hear from the organization, state or attraction to whom they’ll ve visiting and they want to hear from other travelers who’ve been there/done that. They will book trips based upon 3rd party reviews. Shouldn’t your online pitch be out there in your own blog?
2. You need to be where the people are. Many of us have probably done it. You’re at work. You need a little break, so you do a little surfing regarding your vacation. According to Brooks, 94% of Americans are using the internet to plan their vacatons. A full 19 out of 20 people are doing it. Brooks says the web should be the #1 place for their marketing efforts.
3. You could be featured on newspaper websites throughout the upper midwest . Through areavoices, not only are you accesible on the worldwide web, but you might also be featured on Forum Communications Company newspaper and broadcast websites in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin, a region ripe with tourist attractions from the Wisconsin Dells to Teddy Roosevelt’s Medora from the lakes of Minnesota to those 4 famous faces in South Dakota. Areavoices blogs are part of a network that reaches 1.5 million people, your potential travelers.
4. Reach the people most likely to visit your destination. Americans will vacation closer to home this summer. Travel officials know this better than anyone. With the economy still recovering and gas prices skyrocketing, many Americans say they will spend their vacations closer to home. That means fewer plane trips and shorter road trips. People living in the upper midwest are looking for fun options in this region. Say for example a man living in Jamestown, North Dakota wants to take his family on vacation. He knows he can’t travel far. When he goes to The Jamestown Sun to catch up on the news of the day, he sees a blog from Minnesota tourism about the beautiful North Shore of Minnesota. There’s a fairly short road trip that he might normally not have heard about. Lots of potential to reach lots of folks.
5. Now is the perfect time of year. Whether it’s those of us sick of snow and cold, or those people who just got back from spring break anxious to go again – this is the time of year when people start examining their summer travel options. If we can’t get away from it all right now, going online to plan our vacation at least gives us a mental vacation! It makes sense to get your organizations’ travel blog up and running now to attract all of those travel planners before the rush of summer begins.
It’s nice to see have already picked up on the trend including the North Dakota Department of Tourism and the Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. they recently started their blogs on areavoices. We’re hoping it’s just the beginning. We also know not everyone travels. Some people stay at home and enjoy activities in their own town. So we would also like to work with parks and recreation departments to share news of their events and attractions.
You know where to reach me if you who want to start a blog: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get a lot of information right here on my blog or go to www.areavoices.com. I promise it”s easy and remember it’s FREE.
How great is that?
Right up with summer vacations!