By Dan Dickson
Social media is so pervasive in modern life today that it has become an important tourism marketing channel. Convention and visitors bureaus around the nation use everything from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram to communicate, network, build relationships and share destination content with potential visitors.
Industry researchers say travelers increasingly use social media to decide where to go on leisure trips.
“Our goal through all our social media channels is email acquisition,” said Larry Sieg, vice president for marketing for the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. “We hope people sign up for our newsletter or to receive additional information, like a travel guide, so we can convert them into visitors.”
Facebook and Twitter are the social platforms that Atlantic City uses most. But another, called Foodspotting, works well. Foodspotting allows diners to rate and recommend individual dishes they’ve tried. It’s not just about restaurants; it’s also about outstanding menu selections.
Foodspotting ties in with a popular winter event called Atlantic City Restaurant Week.
“We pre-sell gift certificates at restaurants for that week,” said Sieg. “It’s the most successful campaign we run through social media.”
Another involves Valentine’s Day.
“We encourage folks coming here to get married, renew vows or hold civil unions to snap photos for our Pinterest board,” said Sieg. “That starts social communication. People say, ‘I never knew [Atlantic City] was such a great place to get married.’ It leads to additional visits to our city.”
Philadelphia’s convention and visitors bureau just underwent a major transformation. The destination is now branded “Discover PHL”; the initials come from the city’s airport code. The CVB did a social media audit and found it had 40 platforms.