Tourism gets social

A guest post this week from @angela_tait, who works in our tourist information centres, but has really embraced social media to help promote what’s on offer. She writes:

Joining the County Councils Tourism Team back in October 2011 I was charged with managing the Tourist Information Centres and developing visitor information.

Immediately I was impressed by the staff I was going to manage, their immense knowledge of the county and their passion for attracting new faces to Northumberland. It’s not just about providing visitor information though, we also support more than 250 local producers, showcasing the finest locally made products from art, photography, jewellery, food, crafts and much more which made me question from day one – how do we tell people about this?

There was the usual leaflets, posters, holiday guides which serve their purpose well in Northumberland, which tends to attract a very traditional market, but what about those who don’t access this kind of information? What about residents who think they know what there is to do in Northumberland but actually only know the tip of the iceberg?

From the outset I was keen to promote and market our various offers to both residents and visitors but our tourism web pages were somewhat hidden, when you could find them on the corporate site they were housed in.

A conversation with the comms team helped me to look at this and provide the content if they could provide the technical know-how to re vamp the pages, and so a brand was born ‘What to do in Northumberland.’ Good quality, up to date information about what you can do in Northumberland and points of access if you want to know more, our Tourist Information Centres.

From here we have reinforced the brand and supplied information through social media such as twitter and facebook. The resident’s festival was the first campaign, this worked so well that we now tweet regularly about what is going on, discounted tickets we are selling as well as new products that are coming in to our TIC’s and Northumberland’s beautiful imagery is demonstrated through 60 pinterest boards.

Social media is the perfect medium to encourage those living within and outside the county to come a sample what Northumberland has to offer. In 9 months we have made great strides to communicate just what there is to do in the county and encourage people to get out and explore what’s on their doorstep, something we will continue to build on.

Whether it’s tweeting the Olympic Torch, running competitions on facebook or using Pinterest to share pictures of our unique landscape (see here) I know that social media has changed this job forever.

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