Archive | December, 2009

Travel and Tech – how it’s changed and how it’s the same

22 Dec

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Augustine

This has always been one of my favorite quotes. I use it frequently to justify to my more financially conservative family members the amount of my household budget that I spend traveling every year. But as our traveling habits are increasingly impacted and enhanced by new opportunities to connect, share and influence it seems more apropo. If traveling opens our eyes to a full novel of experiences, then our increasingly technologically connected world provides Cliff Notes for every page and chapter.

Travel is an inherently shared experience. Even if you travel somewhere solo – the adventure is enhanced and relived as you share it with others after the fact. What technology has done is close the loop on that experience. Not only are you able to share your adventure to one or many immediately (or even in real-time if you prefer) – you can share it before you even have it and change the experience before it happens.

Through a colleague, I connected with a writer for the AP working on how ‘Social Networking is Changing the Way We Travel’ – how it has gone beyond posted reviews of hotels to the push and pull of travel recommendations through Twitter, Facebook and more.

Outside of Facebook and Twitter feeds, there are a plethora of social media channels that are platforms for those existing sites, or completely new experiences. A few to check out:

  • Twisitor – Learned of this aggregator through the AP piece. It pulls together all of the tourism centers and visitors bureaus on Twitter into one map for easy following depending on your travels. Yes, they have the ulterior motive of making sure you enjoy your travel 🙂 but they are great resources.
  • Everlater – Fairly new social media travel site – think of it as an online travel journal on steroids. And the addition of the iPhone application that allows for easy journal entries on the go is a huge bonus. I’m obsessed with tracking elements of our trip and then easily sharing on my other sites (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) and this allows me to sync and share easily between them. Follow them on Twitter for the latest updates as they refine their platform.
  • TripIt – For those of us that need ‘trip packets’ when we travel – I consider this the Type-A traveler’s friend. I’m trying this one out on my next trip to see if it enhances my experience of getting where I’m going with less stress and more organization. With a value statement of ‘Build Your Itinerary, Get Organized, Stay Informed’ – I’m hoping it can help!
  • Foursquare – Have to admit, I haven’t drunk the kool-aid for this one yet. But any application that encourages people to discover the adventures available in their own backyard is a good thing. There are some Foursquare addicts and top cities out there (unfortunately – Boise isn’t one yet). I’m holding off before jumping in the pool on this one.

I still rely pretty heavily on Twitter – both push and pull of information – and Facebook to influence where I wind up on my travels. In the article, Mary Madden of Pew summed up perfectly why – “People start to rely on those trusted portals that help sift the cream from the top. Otherwise people would be overwhelmed by information by doing research on line.”

Soul of Skiing VideoAnd lastly, an example of interaction and innovation in the travel industry. Full disclosure – we work with Ski Idaho, helping to promote and showcase the 17 ski areas throughout the state. In the past two years the organization has expanded its share of voice online and raised the profile of skiing in Idaho through various social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It’s allowed us to better share the experience of skiing and riding in the Gem State. The next step launched this week with Idaho Olympian Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson sharing his love for the soul of skiing with the world through an interactive, personalized promotional video – a partnership between Ski Idaho, Idaho Tourism and its ad agency Drake Cooper. Besides hearing from Speedy and seeing a whirlwind overview of great skiing destinations across the state, logging in to check out the video enters you to win a heli-ski trip or one of four Idaho ski vacations. Check it out and let us know what you think!

– Jess

(Have to give props to a fellow travel PR professional and partner Lisa Gerber of Big Leap Creative, whose guest blog post was featured by BurrellesLuce as part of their 2010 Predictions for Media Relations)