One of the best ways to find information for a trip to a particular destination is to ask a local or to find someone who has been there before. Using your position as a community expert on a particular area can help you determine what visitors are looking for and what you can offer those visitors to help “close the deal.”
There are several ways to establish yourself as an expert on travel to and around your particular community:
- Join one of the TripAdvisor.com Forums. This is a very active travel tourism community and they assign “expert” status to a select few forum members who have proven a comprehensive knowledge of the community for which they participate. Local Experts are chosen by TripAdvisor forum administrators based on their contributions to the forums. They look for people who contribute good advice, are friendly and respond to many different topics on a regular basis. Members who meet qualifications are then invited to participate by email.
- Once you have joined, you can write a profile for your chosen screen name that tells all about your life and what you do. You can actually say in your profile that you’re the manager or innkeeper at your establishment. This is indirect advertising, but still valuable.
- Fodors.com also features a forum where you can ask and answer questions regarding trips to particular destinations. Everyone is invited to participate and the sign-up process is free. The nice thing about Fodors is the fact that they are a trusted name. Everyone who travels even a small amount is familiar with Fodor’s Guide Books. Participating in their forums gives you the opportunity to talk about and promote travel to your town/area/region.
- Upon joining the Fodors.com forums, you cannot write a profile like you can with TripAdvisor, but it’s still valuable to be a participant and get the word out. Choosing a screen name that describes what you do can also help (i.e. “NapaInnkeeper”)
Here are a few other resources for online travel forums. The choices are endless, so keep searching and you’ll find the community that’s just right for you.
- VirtualTourist.com Forum
- LonelyPlanet Thorn Tree Forum
- TravellersPoint Travel Community
There are countless numbers of forums out there that you can choose to participate in. This really should only take a small amount of time out of your day, but you can use the opportunity to promote travel that will help you and your neighbor businesses for years to come.
Carrie Hill – Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc.