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E-tourism_social_networking_and _travelThe New Travel guide- Users

Travellers are increasingly turning to their peers as a valued source of information, guidance and recommendation. User-generated content influences over US$10 billion a year in online travel sales, with consumers finding User-Generated Content (UGC) more credible than professional reviews or information from travel companies. Websites where consumers can read travel journals and reviews of hotels, cruise ships and attractions written by fellow travellers are rapidly gaining popularity.

Travelling is an intensely social activity- it’s all about getting out and interacting with the world- and with other travellers- so it is no surprise that travel has become an important part of Web 2.0 social networking culture. Travellers will increasingly turn online for advice, recommendations and contacts provided by their fellow travellers and social network contacts- both via sites such as Trip Advisor and general social networks- and may simply search Twitter to see what people are saying about a particular desination right now.
User generated travel content, reviews and information- often provided directly from travellers during their trip is seen as vastly more credible, reliable and personal than content from a travel supplier or destination website. You will find more and more clients are reaching you via links provided by members of their social networks.

The effect of social networking is hugely increased through blogging and the use of tagging, both of which serve to enlarge the global community of users who are focused on a particular subject. The power of social networking is also getting recognition from advertising executives. While they still consider search engines to be very effective and, indeed, the most effective online medium, social networking comes through very strongly, particularly if online video and blogs are combined with it. Another aspect of social networking is the enormous growth in the use of video. This is particularly helpful to DMOs in their task of communicating the essence of their Destination remotely.

About 44% of US consumers will use social networking at least once a month according to eMarketer. Although Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate the market, changes are afoot that will extend social networking activities beyond a single destination site and into many other facets of the consumer Internet experience.

Profiles will eventually become portable, meaning consumers need only create one profile and be able to use it in many places on the Web. Small applications or “widgets” that today work with only one social networking destination site will be designed on an open platform, extending their reach. Activities such as online shopping, searching and even sending e-mail will be enhanced with social networking features. Social networking will remain a key online activity.

etourismfrontiers E-Tourism Frontiers Resources
Staying ahead of the game in the dynamic world of e-tourism can be a real challenge, especially for those of us in emerging markets. E-Tourism Frontiers aims to provide tourism and ICT professionals with the resources and guidance they need to succeed online. The material in this section is a general overview of the topics covered and resources provided in our training courses.

To gain full understanding and make maximum use of these resources, join on of our training seminars, which provide attendees with intensive hands training in online sales, marketing and management skills for both destinations and tourism companies. Our trainers are experienced professionals with extensive experience working in online tourism around the world, including first hand experience of working in emerging markets. We use live demonstrations of working websites and technologies and will give you the skills, resources and support to begin making changes to your business and use the web to improve your organization and business. For full information on our training seminars please see our training section.

The following is a basic overview of the topics that we cover, complete with more information and advice on each area:
What Does Social Media mean for Tourism?.
Online Travel Trends.
Social Networking and Travel.
Travel Social Networks.
New Technologies for Tourism.
Tourism eMarketing.
Destination Management.
Customer Relations Management (CRM).
Gathering Customer Data.
Email Marketing.
Website Design & Management.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Web Content.
Content Management Systems.
Online Advertising.

E-Tourism Frontiers is a global programme to develop online tourism in emerging markets around the world.
Our aim is to open the developing world’s tourism trade to the world of online travel distribution and marketing- a sector in which the region has been left far behind- with very little inventory available to the online travel shopper. This situation threatens the sustainability and diversity of Tourism and the communities and environment that it supports.
We hold pro-active business driven conference events and training seminars featuring leading online tourism companies, experts and trainers- as well as regional road-shows targeting the travel trade, destination managers and National and regional tourism offices in all emerging markets, including the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

The success of our events speaks for itself and is changing the way both the public and private sector do business, manage their resources and market themselves globally, and creating new business relationships with leading international players and technology providers. We work with a range of major international sponsors to be sure that these events are of the highest international standards, as well as accessible and affordable to the complete spectrum of tourism players, including Small to Medium Enterprise (SMEs), Community and Eco-Tourism projects.
Our sponsor partners to date have included major global brands includingMicrosoft, VISA, Safaricom, Vodacom and Coca-Cola and many more together with regional tourism and ICT authorities. Our events have been attended and opened by Ministers and Vice Presidents- and attended by a diverse range of tourism players, from Multinational CEOs to University tourism students.

This article is quoted from E-TOURISM FRONTIERS.

The article is uploaded by Majbritt Magnussen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’. Please join the online Views On Tourism network and discussion group in order to achieve personal goals as well as encourage a sustainable tourism development in Bangladesh and South Asia. Read more about this group and how to become a member here.

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Posted in Best practice, Cooperation and network, Development, Education and qualification, IT, Market knowledge, Performance and management, Sustainability.

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