I’ve just returned from a 10-day “fam tour” (familiarization tour, sometimes called a press trip) to the Hawaiian Islands with a diverse group of bloggers who were sponsored by the state’s Hawaii Tourism Authority and organized by Cilantro Media.
Our trip made the front page of the Pacific Business News, and in the fight for the legitimacy of bloggers and wired writers/photographers/videographers as information sources, that’s kind of a big deal.
More thoughts to follow, but the bottom line is that I see our “So Much More Hawaii” tour as a breakthrough in the use of social media for tourism and travel organizations.
It shows that bloggers can provide legitimate insights into a destination.
We can also reach an audience that might not be swayed by glossy brochures, advertorials in newspapers that we don’t read or TV ads on programs that we don’t watch (because we watch TV on Hulu.com instead.)
Seems a little strange that economic desperation is largely driving this interest in social media, but we’ll take what we can get.
Just So You Know Disclaimer: The state Hawaii Tourism Authority through Cilantro Media paid my way to Hawaii for the So Much More Hawaii bloggers tour, and also paid most of my expenses while I was there.