School days. School days. Good ole golden rule days. Now that Fall is in the air, many people are heading back to the classroom. Whether it’s my own (soon to be) 8-year-old who is starting the second grade, or if you’re heading back to college yourself, September is synonymous with “back to school”. That, and college football. But that’s another blog post entirely.
If you’re in the tourism industry, you’re wrapping up the busy summer season and beginning your preparations for holiday celebrations. Sure professional development is important, but who has time? If we’re lucky, we can attend a seminar sponsored by the chamber of commerce. Or we might make it to our state’s Governor’s Conference on tourism. To top it all off, now there’s social media marketing to try to get a handle on.
There are plenty of conferences, seminars, and other learning opportunities that cover social media and marketing with social media. There are few, however, that deal specifically with using social media in a destination marketing organization (DMO) setting. Until now.
I’d like to introduce you to a couple of friends of mine who are developing a web-based learning resource specifically for tourism. The modules will cover mainly social media tools and their application in tourism marketing, but there will be lots of other information as well.
First, here’s a little background on the two principles.
Becky McCray is a Twitter friend of mine. Though we haven’t met in person yet, I count her among my trusted online friends. If you need to know something about tourism, small business, entrepreneurship, or economic development, then Becky’s your “go to” person. She has a knack for simplifying complicated issues and providing useful how-to information.
After reading any of her blog posts, you’ll walk away knowing exactly how to tackle a problem. Becky hosts and co-authors a blog called Small Biz Survival that provides tips, success stories, resources, and more for doing business in small towns and rural America. Knowing how important tourism is to small town economies, Becky focuses a lot on tools to help small communities better utilize their tourism resources.
I first “met” Sheila Scarborough through Twitter. I commented on one of her blog posts, and she commented on one of mine. I quickly realized that Sheila and I live in the same town – Round Rock, TX – and that we had to meet. Sheila organized a group called Jelly Co-Working in Round Rock, where people get together in a non-office environment to work for part of the day. I found out about a meeting, attended, and finally met Sheila.
Since then – and a few Jellies later – Sheila and I have collaborated on some ideas, and she’s even going to speak about travel writing and travel blogging at a tourism seminar I’m hosting at my job.
Sheila is a writer and social media trainer/consultant. She has her own blog called Sheila’s Guide to the Good Stuff, which covers tourism and social media topics. She has a blog on the BootsnAll network covering family travel – check it out at BootsnAll Family Travel Logue. Sheila also writes frequent posts on a few other blogs, including the Perceptive Travel Blog. Oh, and don’t forget her recent print article in the September 2009 issue of Texas Highways magazine.
So together, Becky and Sheila have devised a way to share their vast knowledge of tourism and the social web with DMOs all over the country. Their tool? Tourism Currents. Tourism Currents is an online learning community that provides social web learning resource specifically for tourism professionals.
Tourism Currents will launch with it’s first instructional module on September 9, 2009. Until then, you can sign up for the E-mail notification system to get updates from Becky and Sheila. More information is posted on the website all the time, so check back periodically to see what’s new.
The site will tell you that “content will include downloadable training materials, a forum, regular members-only Q&A sessions, interviews, opportunities to discuss issues with the two instructors, and lots more.”
One distinguishing feature that sets apart Tourism Currents from other social media training (aside from being designed by and for tourism professionals) is that this training will equip you to DO something with your new knowledge. While there will always be information on what these social media tools are, the Tourism Currents training will set itself apart from the rest of the pack by providing step-by-step instructions and “how-to” information on how to use these tools to promote your destination.
Sound good? I thought so! Stop by the Tourism Currents website and sign up for their E-mail notifications today.
Tourism Currents is designed to help you do your job and find new ways to promote your destination. Do you have a social media learning need? What tourism marketing questions do you have that social media could address? Let’s hear from you now.
Photo courtesy of freeparking.