In just a few short months, a new term has entered our tourism marketing lexicon – Travel 2.0 – otherwise known Consumer-based Destination Marketing. There is no doubt that the much of the early innovation and development of the web was due to travel and travel related products. I’d say this is one industry that has embraced the new distribution opportunities made available by the internet. Unfortunately, destination marketing never really got on this boat. Joe Buhler is one of the few that noted early-on the growing influence of Web 2.0 and the implications for tourism.
For DMO the dynamics of existing business relationships will no doubt undergo rapid and significant change. It will no longer be sufficient to maintain and develop an information rich destination website but build a platform that taps into and feeds off the sites mentioned earlier and to facilitate the dialog among past and potential future visitors. The opportunities have never been bigger to truly achieve WOM (both the mouth and mouse kind) and stimulate the buzz. What no DMO should attempt is to try and control the dialog or manage it. The mirror has never been shinier but it also has never been pointed as directly at the destination and its suppliers as it is today. Accept it, embrace change, innovate and start joining the conversation, today. The alternative is to be left behind and risk being ignored.