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Web contentContent is King

In Web 20 Content is king, so make it a primary and long-term investment. Content means information – whatever format it is held in (for example, text, audio, images, video, and Flash animations). It is what the medium ‘contains’ rather than the format in which it is held- and is what will stimulate and satisfy the needs of end-customers.

Social Networks are a new and powerful arena for tourism marketers. Identify your market segments to decide the priority audiences and topics, and be clear about which publishing channels you will use, and what formats these channels need. Don’t do it all yourself, work with partners to achieve quality content. Images and video are becoming paramount, both to motivate and inform.

An open data platform to take in and feed out content, and a good content management system with well-trained users, are essential investments. Content is stored separately from the various ways in which it is delivered –your websites and other people’s, via print, contact centres, mobile phones, radio and TV. Some of the information may be collected with a specific medium or target market in mind, but the guiding principle is that wherever possible it should be capable of being formatted for any need.

In daily practice there is a distinction between data and editorial content:
• Product data (including geocodes), stored in structured databases, with someone originating or procuring the data, and monitoring the quality of it.
• Editorial content created in, or imported into, a content management system (CMS), with a web editor and other staff responsible for this.
The division is practical, but it can lead to duplication unless the two work closely together, within the same overall marketing team.

The customer’s first and favoured source of information seems likely to become user-generated content (UGC). Some 70% of Internet content is forecast to be created by individuals as opposed to publishers and brands within three years. UGC is set to rapidly shift from a budding consumer trend to a serious business over the next five years. Despite the ongoing challenges facing UGC sites to find a business model that works, and despite continued hesitancy among some major brands to even go near the explosive space, eMarketer predicts that category leaders such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Photobucket will lead the charge in terms of legitimizing the medium over the next five years.

The nearly tenfold increase in UGC advertising spending in the US reflects optimism in the ability of companies like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook to continue to build and retain vast audiences. Plus, users have shown no indication that creating their own Web content for others to consume is a passing fad, found eMarketer. By 2011, the researcher estimates there will be 95 million Web users creating content online, up from 64 million in 2006.

Video is vital. Consumers have already adopted do-it-yourself video, and the sharing of it on sites like YouTube, in massive numbers. Video is likely to be the key tool for creating awareness and projecting brand values. Done well, it is powerful, emotive, personal and persuasive. The combination of UGC video and professionally-produced video will be the mainstay of online travel communication between tourism businesses and their customers, and between visitors.

Establishing identity and trust with the customer are vital in online marketing. These are qualities that are hard to establish and easy to lose. Your content therefore needs to be:
• Accurate
• Timely
• Attractive and motivational

Be transparent about who produced the content, whether your own or that of third parties. This applies to everything from weather forecasts and hotel reviews to blogs containing personal opinions. Advertorials and sponsored content should be identified as [Sponsored Article] or [Advertisement]. It should always be clear who is talking. Do not hesitate to use the logo of a partner where it is justified.
For internal quality control, set standards and then audit them at regular intervals – frequently if for volatile types of content, and annually for the rest.
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, Development, Education and qualification, IT, Market knowledge, Performance and management, Sale and marketing.

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