A few weeks ago I attended a meeting of the Curacao Hotel and Tourism Association (CHATA), of which I am a member. There was a lot of discussion about the official Curacao website, www.curacao.com and the plans for improvement. Online marketing & technologies and tourism are not (yet) my areas of expertise, but as I drove away, I realized how little talk there was about social media.
What is social media? Follow this link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media. (I said I was not an expert)
"Social media describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share content, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives, and media itself.
Social media can take many different forms, including text, images, audio, and video. The social media sites typically use tools like message boards, forums, podcasts, bookmarks, communities, wikis, weblogs etc."
We know that customers' attention and belief in "sponsored" advertisements online and offline is decreasing. Word-of-mouth, and social media is the ONLINE equivalent of word-of-mouth, is increasing more influential. I tried to remember when, if ever, word-of-mouth was not the primary reason that I chose a vacation destination.
So, maybe we should start talking about social media, for tourism as well as for other industries?
If you are still in the dark, here is a list of social media listed by Wikipedia.
A few prominent examples of social media applications are
Social networking: MySpace and Facebook
Presence apps: Twitter and Jaiku
Video sharing: YouTube (video sharing)
Virtual Reality: Second Life
News aggregation: Digg and Reddit
Photo sharing: Flickr and Zooomr
Episodic online video: Stickham, YourTrumanShow
Media sharing: Izimi and Pownce
Social bookmarking: del.icio.us
Online gaming: World of Warcraft