The web 2.0 has become very trendy for many companies and also for customers. It offers the opportunity of a real one-to-many relation that forges new networks of customers and of efficient customer attention services that can help increasingly to reach a better customer satisfaction and to reach a competitive position for companies.
In tourism the Internet has become a fundamental channel for communication thanks to its easy and fast accessibility and to the huge amount of information available for the customer and for the companies. Information in tourism is essential for making the business more efficient, due to the distance in time and space between the reservation and the consumption of the services, and also because of the special characteristics of a market highly segmented and with an increasing personalization demand. For the customer it is very important to have the most updated and efficient information at any moment of the consumer process (information retrieval, decision making and choice of the destination and the services, reservation, preparing the trip, stay in the destination, and post consumption of the holidays or the trip). For the companies, it is fundamental to be more competitive and more responsive to the demand, to have knowledge of the customer’s interests, of the strategies of the competence, and of the social and economical conditions of the market and of the outbound regions.
Since the web 2.0, the only way to know about the demand was to do a survey. Today, we have a tool that let’s the companies know about their potential and real customers, that express their opinions through social sites like Facebook, Twitter, or specialized sites for tourists like TripAdvisor, etc. The cost of using these sites is ridiculous (mainly the time spent in following the customers) whiles the quality of the information you can gather is extremely high, especially because consumers use to provide it on a voluntary and sincere basis.
Recently, tourist destinations have understood the importance of this new scenario and as the Spanish newspaper El Pais explains in his article “Oficinas de Turismo Facebook (Facebook Tourist Offices) the number of these offices in a successful social site like Facebook has increased and seems to be very effective to promote and spread the information and attractions of the tourism destinations. Countries like Norway or Hungary are in Facebook and let their customers write the majority of the postst in ther wall of their page. Usually it is also more effective if the answers to these questions about the destination come from satisfied customers themselves that make free advertising with a high degree of impact on the readers.
What is also becoming a new trend is the travel diaries that many people are publicizing through Facebook or Twitter. They use to write short explanations of their journey, adding some picture that illustrates their experience. I tried it myself this summer in my holidays in England and Berlin (What was my surprise to realize that my family and friends asked me details about the trip once I was back or even commented my posts during my trip demanding specific pictures or asking for more personal impressions?
The new scenario means an excellent opportunity for tourism destinations and companies to approach the market more efficiently. Through different contacts with tourism managers I realized that there is a huge demand of professionals with skills and knowledge in managing their tourism marketing 2.0 sites. Thus, the Open University of Catalonia offers a new postgraduate course on Digital Communication applied in Tourism to prepare the tourism webmasters 2.0 that should give service to the tourism industry.
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