West Texas’ Social Media Rock Star – Shanna Smith Snyder

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]West Texas is known for a lot of things.  Big skies, ranching, oil, rugged terrain …  One thing it hasn’t always been known for is being a hotbed of social media activity.  Until now.  Enter Shanna Smith Snyder with the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB).

Shanna and I first got acquainted on Twitter, where I became an instant fan of her work with the CVB in Abilene.  After building our online relationship for a while, we finally got to meet at a Texas Travel Industry Association function.  Shanna impressed me so much that I asked her to speak at a seminar series my organization hosted called “Social Media for Economic Development and Community Marketing”.  As I expected, she did a fantastic job getting our attendees to realize that social media marketing was not out of reach.

I think her story will really resonate with a lot you out there.  ACVB is a small- to mid-sized bureau that does all their social media marketing in-house.  Yes, it’s possible and yes, it can be done.  Shanna is living proof.

So here’s my one-on-one interview with Shanna Smith Snyder.

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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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Go Behind the Scenes with Tourism Currents

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]There’s just nothing cooler than a behind the scenes tour.  Getting to see something that most people don’t?  Well, that’s the stuff that bragging rights are made for! Come on.  Admit it.  Going behind the scenes makes you feel a little special, doesn’t it?  Well it should.

That’s just how I hope to make you feel with this post.  Special.  You’re going to get an insider’s look at Tourism Currents (affiliate link) – one of the best places to get social media training for tourism industry professionals around.   I wrote about Tourism Currents in a previous post. Go ahead.  Look for yourself.  You’ll see – it’s good stuff!

So here is some Q&A with Sheila Scarborough, half of the Tourism Currents team.  Becky McCray is the other half of the team.  Together, they possess a treasure trove of knowledge and experience.  They are the dynamic duo.  Trust me.  You’ll think so too.

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National Travel and Tourism Week Goes 2.0

NTTW logo[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”] National Travel and Tourism Week is here again (May 8-16, 2010).  This year, as with every preceding year, I watch with great interest to see what destination marketing organizations (DMOs) around the country will be doing to extol the virtues of the tourism industry and promote their destinations.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of DMOs are participating in this year’s efforts to raise awareness of the economic benefits of our industry.  The U.S. Travel Association heads up the marketing and public relations efforts for National Travel and Tourism Week, as well as U.S. Travel Rally Day.  They’ve put together a very helpful toolkit that’s full of ideas, templates, logos, and more to help DMOs run a successful campaign.

There was one thing a bit different in the toolkit this year that caught my eye – it was a PDF with social media tips for National Travel and Tourism Week.  Maybe they did it last year and I just missed it, but this (to me) was something new and fresh.  They’re asking tourism industry people on Twitter to use #traveltuesday or #travelrally when you update your status on May 11 to help increase visibility and searchability of National Travel and Tourism Week in general and Travel Rally Day specifically.  After seeing this, I started noticing that a few DMOs had gotten on the National Travel and Tourism Week social media bandwagon too.

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#tourismchat – Q&A with Its Creators Anne Hornyak and Betsy Decillis

tourismchat logo[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”] Social media is a two-way street.  It’s about the give and take.  The conversation.  It’s about sharing what you know, and knowing that others will reciprocate when they can.

In the tourism industry, I think this comes naturally.  We’re all a pretty friendly bunch, with he sole goal of helping people have a good time in our destinations.

It works the same way with fellow tourism industry professionals.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard one DMO person say to another, “I’m gonna steal that idea!”  To me, that’s the highest form of flattery.  Someone else thinks your idea is good enough to use in their own efforts.  Why re-invent the wheel, right?  If there’s an idea you can use, modify for your situation, and put to good use, then why the hell not?

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5 Tourism Industry Tweeps You Should Follow in 2010

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]David Letterman gets it.  His Top 10 list is usually the part of his show that everyone looks forward to.  I know I do.  I love lists.  To me, they’re like when you’re at a presentation and the speaker says, “If you only remember <insert any number here> things from my speech today, remember these.”  It catches your attention, right?  Now, you’re really listening.  Lists distill all the great content down into bite size pieces.  Things that are relatively easy to remember.  The good stuff.

I’ve seen several “Top 10” lists since the start of 2010.  You’ve got your top 10 predictions, top 10 trends in one industry or the other, top 10 reasons why something is the greatest thing ever, top 10 companies to watch, etc., etc.  And the list goes on.  Truthfully, I’ve probably read most of the ones I see.

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The Easy Button: Does Your DMO Have One?

the easy button[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]In today’s fast paced way of life, who doesn’t want things to be easy?  Everyone is so busy, our schedules so hectic that anything that makes things easy is welcomed with open arms.  Staples, the office supply store, really nailed it with their “Easy Button” campaign.  Need toner for your printer?  Press the Easy Button.  Need your office supplies delivered on the double?  No problem – just press the Easy Button.  Staples recognized a consumer need in the marketplace, and developed a strategy to fill the void.  Genius.

The Earthquake in Haiti

I got to thinking about this strategy while following the news about the Haiti earthquake disaster on Twitter.  It was such a horrible situation.  Such incredible need.  The American Red Cross (and several other charitable organizations) responded to that need by making it easy for all of us to help.  Their method was astonishingly simple.  It’s something most of us do everyday without a second thought.  The answer?  Send a text message with “HAITI” as the subject to 90999.  The results were overwhelming.

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