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Tourism experts who understand the Web: Philadelphia PA

Today I’d like to acknowledge a tourism organization that “gets it” when it comes to online presence and Web 2.0/social media savvy.  I’m talking about the fine folks who want you to visit Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Look, if your destination is crummy for family travel, I’m not recommending it no matter how great you are on blogs or on Twitter.  The good news is that I’m happy to recommend Philadelphia because it is stuffed with things for families to do. Their tourism people have designed a Web site that helps frazzled parents with easy-to-navigate tips and advice, like family-friendly Halloween events in the area and their top 10 things to do in Philly this fall.

Here’s their Weekend in Historic Philadelphia….with Kids; it’s a detailed itinerary with links, maps, a slideshow, etc. Put your travel planning brain on autopilot and just follow it!

Don’t miss SoundAboutPhilly for downloadable audio tours of unique themes/places in the city. Tours on iPods are a marvelous way to get kids (and parents) to learn something without making them stand around in guided tour groups.

Sure, lots of tourism organizations have navigable Web sites, but what I like about the Philadelphia representatives is that they are also active on Twitter (find them at https://twitter.com/visitphilly) so you can also get some expert advice and give feedback even more quickly and easily.

They also read and understand blogs, like how nice it is to comment and how important commenting can be for Web visibility, since your comment name is also a clickable link back to your Web site. Say hi to Visit Philly’s Caroline, who commented on our recent post about family-friendly Pennsylvania.

Maybe they understand blogging because they have a fab blog of their own, UWishUNU: Philly. From the Inside Out. It’s a little more adult-ish in content, but there is still plenty of advice about upcoming events, places to eat and things to do. Their “Philly Blogs” blogroll includes tons of other Philadelphia-based blogs like the Mac & Cheese food blog. Of course, UWishUNU is on Twitter as well; follow https://twitter.com/uwishunu.

I’m starting to get rather crabby about travel professionals who are hesitant to get in here and understand the interactive Web. What can they possibly be afraid of?

I had more than 800 unique visitors to the Family Travel Logue last week (and that is low – our traffic is still recovering from moving to this new URL on BootnAll) and I can’t imagine why any tourism representative wouldn’t want to reach more than 800 readers who are specifically interested in family travel. Many of my readers have been supporting and commenting on this blog since I started it in early 2006.

Note to tourism organizations and CVBs (Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus:) the way to reach the Web 2.0 world is not by spraying out press releases via email, like you’ve always done. The way to reach this world is to immerse your organization in it and figure it out, the way the Philadelphia people have done, so that bloggers like me see that you’re here, you’re authentic and you care about your city/state/region/country.

I guarantee that your enthusiasm and your presence will pique our interest, but you’d better get with the program because the longer you fiddle around and wait, the harder it will be for your message to get any traction or interest.

You’ll wake up in a year or so and wonder, “Where are my visitors? How did we get left so far behind?  Maybe we need to mail out more brochures?”

Um, no.  You need to be online, all over the Web, NOW.

Update as of this afternoon: Thanks for the terrific response and comments. Let’s give props to some who are figuring it out on Twitter:  @baltimoremd, @ArizonaTourism, @Visit_Jax (Jacksonville FL,) @fairmonthotels, @MarriottIntl, @PensacolaCVB, @ashevilletravel, @galvestonguru and then individual travel PR folks like Hawaii tourism reps @MichaelNi and @NathanKam.