Another of the presenters at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism was Ryan Bifulco, president of Travel Spike, a travel technology and travel marketing company based in Atlanta that provides custom online booking engines and technology for Destination Management Organizations and other travel companies.
Bifulco spoke of the value of podcasts for disseminating travel information, and referred to Journeypod, of which he is the executive producer, where visitors can listen to podcasts about luxury travel. The company also has a blog. Journeypod apparently worked up a music-oriented website for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. I checked out the “podcast” page, which seems like a good idea but does not offer much content.
Asked about current trends in travel info on the web, Bifulco mentioned the desire of people to interact with a site a la MySpace. He noted that people want to upload their own photos and videos and to have a reason to come back to a site more than once. For travel people who like to have control over everything, this sounds like madness, but the better sites will find a way to manage their enthusiastic contributors.
One questioner asked how visitor’s bureaus should react to amateur videos or reviews–not always positive ones–that people put on sites such as YouTube. Bifulco noted that restaurant or attraction owners cannot control negative uploads, but they should add more their own presentations and hope that, over time, viewers will sense when someone has an axe to grind and will come away with a more balanced opinion.
Bifulco recommended these sites as two of his favorites: