Travel Insights 100 homepageWhat do people who live and breathe travel have to say about Twitter?

Look no further than a recent survey of members of the Travel Insights 100.

It’s a group of 100 travel writers, bloggers and thought leaders across eight travel categories, and yes, I am honored to be a part of the 100, a wonderful project co-sponsored by Tips From the T-List, the BootsnAll Travel Network and UpTake.

So, what do we think about Twitter?

Bottom line: it is here to stay, and we like it for finding travel tips, deals, information and connections, insider tips and recommendations and sometimes to connect with Twitterers in the places where we travel.

37 – 39% of us recommended that consumers use Twitter to follow the hotel where they will be staying, and follow the destination management organization/company (or CVB) to learn about the destination.  Don’t you think that percentage should be higher? I do.

How do we decide who to follow?

As fellow 100 member Vera Marie Badertscher pointed out in her analysis post about the results:

“When asked how they decide who to follow, NO ONE said they follow only those that they know.  Twitter is a place to break new ground and find out about new things….They are looking for intelligent people with interesting posts.”

Most respondents aren’t just looking for tweets about travel, but some want only that information. We’re a diverse group with diverse interests, like any bunch of humans. One respondent said, “I follow people who seem interesting” but another said, “Must be 90% tweeting about travel.”

To each their own on Twitter. Do your thing and be yourself; those who don’t like it, don’t have to follow you.

When asked who others should follow on Twitter, this is what I said (we could only pick 5 and there are a ton of others who are worthy, too….)

***  @Marilyn_Res because she casts a wide net & works for a magazine I love (National Geographic Traveler.)
***  @nerdseyeview because she writes like she talks, which is a great compliment.
***  @WyomingTourism because they sell their destination with poetic thoughts.
***  @SeattleMaven because she sounds like your best friend who just happens to PWN the city of Seattle.
***  @CoffeeGroundz because you need an awesome coffee shop and wine bar in Houston TX.

What we tweet about varies as well – travel industry news, our latest blog post, links we like, general travel and event information. My favorite summary from one of the 100 was, “Is it a 140 character postcard? If so, it’s on.”

What did I say about what I tweet as @SheilaS? “People get (mostly) the Whole Me, and I’m chatty.”

I also tweet as @TourismCurrents and @FreelanceAustin, and I try to keep those tweets specifically focused on their respective topics: tourism/social media and freelance tips/opportunities.

Don’t over-analyze it, though.

The other day I was reading this excellent interview with the guys who do social media outreach for New York’s Roger Smith Hotel (@RSHotel on Twitter) and one of the two hoteliers said:

“I did a sort of Twitter 101 course for a bunch of hotels in the region and I said, “Reach out to this person. Ask them if they’re coming in this weekend. Ask them what they’ve got planned.”  I could see them [the audience members] cringing. “I don’t know if I could say that or do that.”

OK, come on, you’re in the tourism and hospitality business and you don’t know how to interact with customers?  Of course you do; that’s your bread and butter! With Twitter and other social media tools, it’s simply digitized and has an incredible reach that you’ve never had before.

Want to dig in further about what the 100 say regarding Twitter? Here’s a SlideShare presentation with more of the results:

Travel Insights 100 Media Page.