On December 1, our office hosted our second annual New Media Workshop. This year’s workshop focused solely on the power of incorporating video into your marketing efforts. Our three presenters (find their presentations below) go through the whys and hows of video and even provide a case study (The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis).
Joy Cropper – Williams Randall Marketing
Jenny Messmer – The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Rocky Walls – 12 Stars Media
**UPDATE – Gowalla has been purchased by Facebook and the service will shut down at the end of January, 2012**
Gowalla is a location-based app that, until last week, shared a lot of similarities with Foursquare – the leading location-based app today. First launched about two and a half years ago, Gowalla has steadily grown to an active user-base of two million (about one fifth the number of users that Foursquare has). I’ve always liked Gowalla and I think they have a better interface and user experience than Foursquare, but there have always been so few people in Indiana who use Gowalla.
Just last week, Gowalla released a brand new version of their website and mobile app (iOS version here and Android version here) that really rebrands Gowalla. Rather than focusing on being a location-based check-in network (and, honestly, they were losing that fight to Foursquare. Even Facebook recently gave up on Places - their equivalent check-in service), Gowalla now seems to be more of a curated location guide app. If that sounds kind of weird, keep reading.
In the image above, you can see the new curated guide for the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. By working with staff at Notre Dame, Gowalla put together a great guide showcasing what visitors to the university needed to check out while they are in town. There are more than 60 curated guides available for cities throughout the world and Gowalla is working to add dozens more soon. While Gowalla has worked with select cities and destinations to create these branded and curated guides, you can still create guides on your own, both as an individual and as a DMO.
When looking at the tourism industry as a whole, there are benefits to using both Foursquare and Gowalla. If you own or work at a hotel, attraction or a restaurant, Foursquare makes more sense as they allow users to manage venues they own and offer check-in specials. But, if you work for a city, county, regional or state DMO Gowalla probably actually makes more sense to use. As a DMO, you have the built-in authority about your area and you can create great guides for anything you want – wine trails, food trails, museum guides, historic sites and more. When you create guides for your visitors, you’ve putting your stamp of authority on the guide and letting them know which things they absolutely must do before leaving your location.
Have you ever used Gowalla or Foursquare? Do you think Gowalla’s new curated guides functionality would be helpful as a visitor to a new place?
At its core, Pinterest is a social bookmarking site similar to Delicious or SpringPad, but where Pinterest differs (and where they really shine) is how their bookmarks are organized. Rather than saving a list of text links, Pinterest is 100% image-based. The visual nature of Pinterest creates a clean and easily browsable interface that can be extremely addicting.
So, how does Pinterest describe itself?
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
You’re likely to find boards and pins full of decorating ideas and recipes as well as just about anything else you could think of, but Pinterest has a really unique opportunity to be a great place for Tourism entities to set up shop. In fact, I set up an account for Visit Indiana a couple months ago and have received a pretty good response so far. I’ve created boards for Favorite Indiana Destinations, Indiana Artisan Products, Indiana Beer and Wine, Indiana Arts and Crafts and Indiana Experiences. Each time I come across a great picture of somewhere in Indiana or something Indiana-related on Etsy, I pin it and share it with everyone who follows Visit Indiana.
You can browse Pinterest in several different ways. You can view just pins from your friends or you can search for and browns pins in countless topics (travel, decorating, recipes, etc.). One of the coolest features on pinterest is the ability to “repin” other people’s pins. Just like sharing on Facebook or retweeting on Twitter repinning posts the pin on your board so your friends can see it. It’s a great way to catalog pictures or links you want to keep handy.
Regardless of what kind of tourism organization you work for (State, County or City DMO or individual attraction or lodging facility) Pinterest offers you the ability to share great photos of places in your area, locally-made products or hidden destinations for visitors and residents alike.
Note that Pinterest is only available on iPhone/iPod Touch right now.
Are you already using Pinterest? If not, do you think its a good fit for your organization?
Apps like Yelp and Foursquare let you take pictures and leave reviews at restaurants, but unlike those and other apps, Foodspotting is completely devoted to food and pictures of food. Like many other apps, you can hook Foodspotting up with your Facebook and Twitter accounts and start following friends through there, but where Foodspotting really differs (and really shines) is in the ability for you to follow not just friends, but places (specific restaurants) or foods you love (pizza, burgers, etc.). Think about that for a minute – you can follow specific foods through Foodspotting. If your favorite food in the world is a breaded tenderloin pork sandwich (if that’s true, then you really need to come to Indiana) you can follow tenderloin sandwiches and find the places near you that have the best ones.
Also, similar to the way Gowalla allows users to create Guides, Foodspotting also lets users to create Guides like Taste the Vintage in Bucks County - created by the Bucks County Conference and Visitors Bureau. This particular guide looks great on both the mobile app and on the website and it details some great wineries throughout the county. As a bonus, you earn a badge once you visit all the wineries within the Guide.
As a tourism office, you’re in the unique position to be the curator for great food in your area. Like Bucks County did, you could created Guides for great wine, great burgers, great ethnic food or anything else food-related for visitors and residents to complete and add to. The more people that jump on the platform and add their favorite foods, the more useful and robust the app will become.
Check out the screenshots below for examples of the Footspotting mobile app (Foodspotting is now available for iPhone/iPod Touch, Windows Mobile and Android devices right now – a Blackberry app is coming soon). Have you used Foodspotting before?