Tired of Searching for Flickr Photos of Your Destination? Automate It!

Flickr Icon[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]As many of you already know, I am a huge fan of Flickr.  I use it personally to share photos from my life and my travels.  I also use it professionally to help promote the Colorado River Trail region with our Flickr group.  With this group, I’m able to get candid and often high-quality photos from people enjoying my destination.  I’ve used them in blog posts, on Facebook and Twitter, and even in a publication (with the photographer’s permission, of course).

Finding these photos can be very time-consuming – especially when your destination consists of 11 Texas counties.  Manually searching for town or attraction names is tedious at best.  What if there were a way to have great photography delivered to you on a daily basis?

What if you didn’t have to hunt for them any more?  What would that be worth to you?

Now.  What if I told you it was free and just takes a few simple steps to get set up?

Well, wait no more!   Continue reading

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Fish Where the Fish Are

A man's man's breakfast

Courtesy of Coos Bay-North Bend VCB/David Miller

Back in June of 2009, I wrote a post about The Ones To Watch.  In it, I highlighted two smaller communities that were using social media effectively to help promote their destinations.  And while neither of them have really left the scene, Coos Bay, OR is back with a simple lesson to us all: Fish where the fish are.   Both literally and metaphorically. Continue reading

Customer Service … IRL (gasp!)

SCRTD - Del Amo Customer Service Center RTD_1119_11[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]I felt inspired to write a post about good customer service.  There are lots of examples of good online or social media-based customer service out there.  This post, however, is about customer service IRL … meaning face to face … without computers … or <gasp!> Facebook.  In other words, no technology was harmed in the writing of this post.

If you’re cool with that, then let’s proceed.  I think you’ll enjoy this.

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To Experience or Collect? That Is the Tourism Question

Road Trip![tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]Your annual summer vacation.  That Spring Break trip to the beach you took in college.  Disney World with the kids.  Name your poison, but travel is an integral part of Americans’ lives.  Many of us consider it a birthright.  We may cut back on spending in other areas, but by God, we are GOING on vacation this year!

I was intrigued by a blog post I saw in the Dallas Morning News.  In the post, the author Nicole Stockdale, poses a basic but very interesting question.  One in which the tourism industry in general – and DMOs in particular – should probably consider.  Her question?  Is travel (or tourism) an experience, or merely just a checklist?  Wish I’d have thought of it first.

What is it that motivates people to get in their car and drive for 16 hours (like I did with my family over Christmas)?  Is there some unique, experiential aspect of the trip that drives you to do it?  Or is it something more commonplace?  How do we know when we’ve really been somewhere?  As Stockdale suggests, is it when we visit someplace cool like a local restaurant with regional fare?  Or notable and unique to the area like the Statue of Liberty?

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Creative Uses of Twitter Lists

Just the Grocery List [tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]Ahh, lists.  We all use them – probably daily – to make life a little easier.  For those of us over 40, they are a staple tool to help get us the job done.  But lists are simply just utilitarian and functional.  Institutional even.  Or are they?

Enter the Twitter List.  According to Wikipedia, “In late 2009, the “Twitter Lists” feature was added, making it possible for users to follow (as well as mention and reply to) lists of authors instead of individual authors.”  Mashable wrote a great piece about 10 Ways You Can Use Twitter lists which covered most of the basics.  Many DMOs took the ball and ran with it, creating Twitter lists to help visitors and potential visitors find information about their destinations quickly.  If you were to look, you’d find that most social media-savvy DMOs have at least a few Twitter Lists at the ready.

But sometimes even a list can be a helpful tool and still have a little fun.  Not satisfied with simply being helpful, the examples below help to highlight the unique personality of the destination or of the creator.

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Don’t Mess With Texas … or our Tourism Advertising Budget

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]Texas tourism has enjoyed a fairly good ride over the last several years.  We are the third most visited state in the nation – and have been for quite some time.  So imagine my surprise when I read that Texas gubernatorial candidate Bill White wanted to zero out the Texas tourism advertising budget.  I guess this should be a lesson to every DMO out there.  Whether you are state or local.  You will constantly and continually have to prove yourselves.  Never rest.  Never think that your advocacy efforts are enough.

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