One of the best uses of social media is to engage the public directly, with the latest information available, when there is a crisis.
The Visit Florida tourism organization (a pretty well-oiled machine even without a crisis!) is harnessing the power of webcams, photos and live Twitter reports from humans on a new website page; it’s called Florida Now.
Rather than, er, sticking their heads in the sand about tourists avoiding the coast for fear of oil spill problems, they’re trying to gather eyewitness reports (particularly from beach areas) and make them easily searchable and accessible, so that people can see coastal destinations and make their own travel decisions.
In addition to graphics, there is a link to the Deepwater Horizon response team at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, plus links to specific CVB and DMO organizations across all of the regions in the state.
Visitors want to see for themselves. Make it easy for them.
Nice work, Florida.
Update: I noticed this tweet from Robert Reid (US editor for Lonely Planet and author of the excellent Reid on Travel blog.)
“Going to Florida? @visitflorida posting#oilspill updates, ‘real time’ photos; they promised to me they’ll keep doing even IF oil comes. #lp“
Note that even if things go bad, Florida tourism plans to let those real-time reports roll on in.
Thanks for your comments on our response to the oil spill in the Gulf. We appreciate you helping us get the word out!
Fantastic response from Visit Florida (who, yes, seem to be very organised, certainly in relative terms). It’s far better for tourists to understand what’s going on and what they’re in for, rather that to arrive uninformed.
Nobody likes surprises.
.-= Andy Hayes | Travel Online Partners´s last [post] ..What Reality TV Can Teach You about Social Media =-.
Hi Nate – happy to call attention to smart work. Hope you guys dodge a bullet on this one. Hurricane season is quite enough of a challenge for you, I’m sure. Signed, a Key West Conch
Hi Andy – more info is good if it’s the info you need, that’s for sure.
Every time i turn the TV on i see more dead fish, and oil spewing up on our beautiful shore line. This problem needs to be fixed real speedy…like NOW!