Twitter For Tourism

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On Friday I asked what is the point of Twitter? And today, the tourism industry offered up an answer.

A new report released by by destination marketing firm, Development Counsellors International (DCI) states that . Baltimore , Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, San Francisco and Tampa Bay are the top U.S. destinations using Twitter to market their cities.

Convention and Visitors Bureaus are Using Twitter

DCI’s study aimed to find out how destination organizations like the Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) use social media tools, including Twitter, to market their communities and create a dialogue among potential visitors. An estimated 300 CVBs have Twitter accounts.

The survey also revealed that marketing effectiveness is not solely a function of the numbers of followers or updates a CVB makes. The top cities had large numbers of followers and updates, but also ranked highest in ‘connecting with potential visitors, community partners and other important constituents’.

“If engaging your followers on Twitter is the key to using Twitter effectively, then having the most tweets or followers isn’t enough,” said Andy Levine, President of DCI. “Twitter must be utilized to connect on a more personal level. In social media, we don’t just tell stories; we participate in storytelling.”

Messages to potential visitors and to community partners have the effect of building relationships, according to Mr. Levine. Users who follow their community partners and copy their news to their own page are taking a step further by solidifying their relationships, he said.

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What Do Tourism Promoters Tweet?

Additional findings in the report include the types of Tweets each destination marketer uses, although not necessarily the most effective, and the percentage of Twitter activity each category consumes. The types of Tweets most often used are:

  • Announcements about upcoming local events/news – 54%
  • Social Tweets – 28%
  • Replies to followers – 20%
  • Deals (both travel and non-travel related) – 17%
  • Re-Tweets from community partners – 13%

DCI analyzed and compared nearly 3,000 Tweets posted by the largest CVBs in the U.S. during a 30-day period from May 1, 2009, to May to 31, 2009. These groups represent the major destinations (by population) in the nation’s top 50 MSAs. To view the full report, visit www.aboutdci.com/The-Tweet-Elite.aspx.

How are you using Twitter? And how is it working?

Image Credit: TenSafeFrogs, Flickr