August 2010 – Dog Days Edition

Those summer dog days can leave you feeling whupped! (courtesy kirainet at Flickr CC)We know.

It’s pretty darned hot (for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) and things may seem to be moving slowly, but….

….in reality there’s a lot of activity going on in the social media and tourism worlds.

Not everyone is in the Dog Days doldrums!

(In fact, we’re kinda wondering where the heck our summer “vacation” went!)

Here’s our Report from the Front….

Tourism Currents Classroom is Open!

Our online course is now open and we are looking forward to welcoming new enrollees.

“Everything here is created with your profession in mind. All the examples and interviews in Tourism Currents are based on tourism. Everything you learn can be applied immediately within your normal workday.  Learn social media, understand it and use it to bring in more visitors.”

We offer multi-part lessons, exclusive video interviews with experts and a member forum that we moderate.

Ready?

Go here.

Want Us In Person? Vegas in October, Baby

We are really excited as we ramp up for our one-day tourism workshop on October 14 at BlogWorld and New Media Expo in Las Vegas, and we’re finalizing plans with some amazing CVB representatives to join us and tell you how they rock social media.

BlogWorld and New Media Expo, Las Vegas NV

Nowhere else will you get both social media education sessions and the chance to connect with thousands of influential bloggers who are also attending one of the biggest tech conferences in the world.

To truly understand how some of your visitors are using technology now (and to catch a glimpse of how the mainstream may use it in the future) you need to Go Where The Geeks Are, because tech events matter to tourism and travel.

During October 14-16, 2010, be in Las Vegas, Nevada!

BlogWorld & New Media Expo is the first and only industry-wide tradeshow, conference and media event dedicated to promoting the dynamic industry of new media including: Blogging, Podcasting, Social Media, Online Video, Music, TV, Radio, Gaming, Entertainment and Communities.

In addition to the only industry-wide new media industry exhibition, BlogWorld & New Media Expo includes more than 100 seminars, panel discussions and keynotes from iconic personalities who are on the leading edge of online technology and internet-savvy business.

You can register at www.BlogWorldExpo.com and get 20% off of any pass (we recommend the Full Access one) by using code TC20.

Two very important things to know:

***  BlogWorld attendee discount pricing expires 9/16! 2010 Pass pricing and link to register is here:  http://www.blogworldexpo.com/attendee/register-and-travel/conference-packages-pricing.aspx

***  Hotel discounted rooms are booking up quickly – don’t miss the great prices! This is some of the best hotel pricing in the history of BlogWorld, with partner hotel rooms from $45 and they even include free Internet access.  🙂  2010 hotel pricing and link to book rooms online is here: http://www.blogworldexpo.com/attendee/register-and-travel/housing-information.aspx

BlogWorld is on track to draw 5000+ bloggers this year.

We really hope that you can join us!

Have Photos? Make a Video with Animoto

Everyone is pressed for time, so it only makes sense to have your work do double duty where possible.

If you already take a lot of photographs, for example, take a bunch of them and turn them into a video.  That helps keep your YouTube and Facebook Pages populated with videos, and if you tag/title/describe them just like you do your photos, you’ve helped your SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)

One tool for this is a service called Animoto, which can make video slideshows set to music.

There are three levels of service:

***  Basic – You can make a free 30-second video from your pictures, but it is hosted on the Animoto site.  Start with this to experiment a little.

***  All Access – For $30/year you can make unlimited full-length videos that you can download to your hard drive (and then upload to your YouTube channel or Facebook Page.)  There is a small Animoto logo at the end of the video, but we think it’s pretty unintrusive.

***  Pro – For $249/year you get no Animoto branding, more music options and a higher-quality video. The most flexible option for your branding.

Here is how TFEA (Texas Festivals and Events Association) used the All Access Animoto to make a video from photos taken at their annual conference in July 2010 (and here is the direct link to the video on YouTube if the embed box below won’t work….)

How great is that?

Integrating Social Media Into Your Workflow

We’d love to hear your comments below, about how you integrate social media tasks into your daily workflow.

In response to a question from one of our Tourism Currents Charter Members, Becky wrote a post on how to do social media marketing in the least amount of time on the computer, and she also wrote a Small Biz Survival post on the same topic of workflow (managing your social media marketing time) but we want to hear more of YOUR ideas.

Please tell us in the comments what you think, so we can all learn from each other!

What’s My Guidebook? Yelp

During Sheila’s recent trip to New York to speak at the TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference, she found herself using Yelp on her phone as a handy guidebook.

She says,

“I can now stand on a street corner in a city, bring up the Yelp application on my Android phone, and have an instant guide to every restaurant, bar, drugstore, etc. all around me.  Using the GPS locator on my phone, Yelp pulls information on everything nearby, and then I can skim the reviews and decide where I want to go. No-brainer for me as a traveler. The best reviews are those by the locals, who really know their neighborhoods and support their favorite businesses with detailed reviews.”

CVBs and DMOs can be really helpful here. They can:

**  Teach their member businesses about the importance (and marketing impact) of mobile technology.

**  Reach out to locals on their Facebook Page or Twitter stream and remind them to provide feedback on services like Yelp, or comments on Gowalla, or tips on Foursquare.

We think these services have changed how people travel.

Other Places To See Us

Becky and Sheila will both speak about blogger fam tours/wired press trips at the TACVB (Texas Association of CVBs) annual conference, in Lubbock.

Catch Becky at the Midwest Rural Assembly in Nebraska, the North Dakota Governor’s Rural Community Summit and speaking about social media as linkage to multiple markets at the International Economic Development Council in Columbus, Ohio.

Sheila will talk about using social media to bring convention and trade show business to your town, at the TTIA (Texas Travel Industry Association) annual Texas Travel Summit in Galveston.  She will also talk about creating more blog content with less time at the first-ever Symposium on the Use of Social Media in the Tourism Industry (follow #SoMeT on Twitter.)

The Last Word

Don’t let your member businesses and fellow CVBs get hoodwinked.

We shook our heads at this series of tweets from UK-based Darren Cronian, who blogs about consumer travel issues at Travel Rants,  runs the My Life in Yorkshire website and also organizes Travel Blog Camp during London’s World Travel Market:

“Spent this afternoon talking to local biz owners and I don’t think they believed me it only cost £24.99 for a domain and hosting for 12 mths….No wonder so many local restaurants, cafes and bars haven’t ventured online yet!….They were told by some “consultants” that getting online would cost them £1k for a site. Told them about WordPress, and that it’s free.”

Go, Darren!

Is your CVB or DMO out there myth-busting? Send ’em to us – we can help, too!

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If you found this newsletter helpful, go here to learn more about our online course and here to sign up to get the newsletter by email. Thanks!

Commenting area

  1. Andy Hayes - Travel Online Partners August 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm · ·

    Cat got everyone’s tongue?

    I batch my social media work. Every Sunday night, I spend about 20 minutes to setup my daily Fan Page updates, my tweets, and set up anything else I can for the week. That way when I check in during the week, I just reply to messages and check in to see what’s going on.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Andy. Every single productivity article/blog post/book that I read is big on batch tasking. You can get into a groove and just go.

  2. Thanks for sharing your workflow, Andy.

    I can see I have some spacing issues to fix. We’re stuck waiting on a plugin conflict before we can do any formatting, but I’ll get on it.

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