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tourism bc, Travel & Tourism

Travelers need for Insider Information

By William Bakker | 04.18.06 | Comment?

The internet is allowing planners to increase the awareness opportunities through word-of-mouth dramatically. Email and websites such as blogs are a great way to stay connected with loved ones.
Word of mouth is the most important source for destination awareness. Most trip ideas start by talking to friends and family about their trips or the desire to visit a friend or family member. Beside the official information, travelers consume information from a number of other sources of information while planning their trip. Word of mouth is the most important one.
The internet allows travel planners to meet the need for this information in new ways. The thorntree message board on the lonely planet website was one of the first places where travel planners would meet to discuss their trip plans. Since then, numerous websites have been created where users can write their travel stories, rate hotels and attractions, submit pictures and manage a travel guide collectively. Each of these websites either assist in creating destination awareness or assist in trip planning.
At Tourism British Columbia, we’ve learned through our focus group and usability research that travelers expect us to provide the official information but also ‘insider information’. This is the information only locals know; that cute little coffee-shop, a hidden hiking trail, a pub kayakers go to after their activities.
So about six months ago we started HelloBCBlogs.com, a blog site where a group of our staff can write about anything related to travel in BC. Most stories were related to personal tourism experiences from our staff members. But there are also tips travelers can use in their trip planning. The website was a success almost immediately with high visitation and a very high repeat visitation rate. So we knew we hit on something good.
Just a few weeks ago, we expanded our blog authors to include the staff of our Visitor Centres. There are over 110 Visitor Centres located throughout British Columbia, managed primarily by the communities and often with the help of volunteers who are passionate about their community and are also the local experts. So we invited them to join our blog and write about their communities to extend the information beyond the Tourism BC staff and provide the consumers with even more insider information. We’ve just started but I’ve already read some great entries.

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