Creating a Social Media Plan For Tourism Marketing

If you wanted to take a vacation, you wouldn’t just hop in a car and go. You’d have a road map.

If you were going to bake a Boston creme pie, you wouldn’t just start mixing ingredients together. You’d have a recipe.

Seeing a trend? Most successful ventures in life generally start with a plan. Unfortunately, most who decide to use social media for marketing tourism and travel forgo necessary goal-setting and strategy. This typically leads them to wonder what they are doing wrong on sites like Facebook and Twitter when they don’t have as many followers or fans as they would desire.

Having a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter doesn’t “just happen” overnight. However, through the careful planning and interacting on these networks (and others), you can drive traffic to your destination. Here are a few steps to improve your social media presence.

First thing’s first: Set your goals.

This is probably the most valuable takeaway from your plan. If you are aimlessly wandering into the world of Facebook and Twitter just because every one else is, you will have no way to measure your success because you won’t know what “success” is. What specifically do you want out of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Increased sales of at least 25%? More inbound traffic to your CVB’s homepage? Be specific. Also, what’s more important: 1,000 fans or more hotel bookings? Decide this early on so you can determine what true social media success is.

Secondly: Know thy tourist.

You should have at least a general idea of who your audience is. The more specific, the better. This will help determine what networks you should participate in. For example, if your target audience is older than 45 or 50, MySpace is probably not the best network to join. Also, if you deal with niche audiences such as mothers, sports lovers or business travelers, there are specific niche social networks that you can join to help attract those groups.

Facebook seems to be a catch-all social network for most demographics, but knowing your audience will help develop strategies within Facebook that best targets your future tourists. Facebook marketing strategies range from paid advertising to fan pages and groups.

Third: Give them something to talk about.

This is the part that most jump into right off the bat, but it’s only after careful planning you enter this phase. Even after you begin this step of your master plan, you still need to know how to talk and what to talk about. For example: What are you going to do if someone negatively bashes your destination or staff? Respond openly or privately? Who is going to be the person updating your status everyday and does that person have a clear understanding of your online branding efforts? How much time daily are you going to commit to each social media account?

Also, remember conversation is two-fold. Don’t just talk. Listen, then listen harder. Go beyond comments written on your wall and find out what your fans are interested in on their own profile page. Learn what they like and don’t like and apply that to what you can do better.

Finally: Measure your efforts

Each month, measure your growth. Are you meeting your goals? Can you make better use of your time on Facebook and Twitter? Use tracking software and analytics to gauge where your traffic is coming from and learn from these reports.

Keep comparing your goals month after month and continue to improve on your efforts. Social media isn’t easy just because everyone does it these days. Creating a successful social media campaign means work and much time invested. However, if proper steps are taken in the set up and planning stages of your social media marketing plan, you will lay the ground work for destination marketing success.

Costa Rica Travel News – Costa Rica Tops Tourism Table

Costa Rica has been ranked as the number one Latin America vacation destination in a major international survey of the world’s favorite tourism hotspots.

The World Economic Forum’s yearly travel competitiveness report takes into account a range of factors including natural resources, cultural heritage, the quality of infrastructure, standards of Costa Rica hotels and other services, and the overall regulation of the Costa Rica travel industry.

The report commented on the country’s Certification of Sustainable Tourism program, and the country’s unparalleled richness in natural resources, World Heritage sites and number of protected conservation areas.

Known as the rich coast, the country is unique in the world for its level of environmental protection, with almost 30% of the country’s land areas designated as protected areas, either as one of 35 national parks, conservation areas or natural reserves.

The Costa Rica travel industry has played a major role in the country’s sustainable development program by helping to establish privately operated lodges and reserves.

Some of the most successful and well known protected areas include the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio National Park, Tortuguero National Park and the World Heritage Site on the Corcovado peninsula.

The country is known for its variation in natural landscapes which provide a home to the highest concentration of bio-diverse natural life on the planet’s surface. Thanks to the country’s compact size, even short Costa Rica vacations are able to include visits to several of the country’s world-famous natural wonders.

Supporting these strengths with abundant, high quality services such as hotels, car rental firms and high quality transport infrastructure, means that the country has been able to reinforce its position as a leading vacation destination in the Americas, and throughout the world.

This commitment to a sustainable and environmentally neutral tourism industry has been well documented in the past. The UN World Tourism Organization has previously praised the country’s Certification of Sustainable Tourism initiative, calling it a model that the rest of the world should follow.

This Costa Rica travel news update was written by a travel-loving Costa Rica vacation expert at Costa Rica For Less, a member of the Latin America For Less family.

Latin America For Less, a US travel agency established in 1998, offers a complete South America vacation service to destinations across Latin America, including Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.

The company is unique in its ability to offer a price match guarantee as well as the highest standards in quality and customer service.

Fully customized itineraries coupled with personal and friendly service are the hallmarks of a Latin America For Less vacation.

Cheap Mexico Beachfront Lots – Invest in the World’s Tourism Leader

When buyers consider cheap Mexico beachfront lots in up-and-coming tourism areas, much can be said about the lifestyle investment, and living in a beautiful home, on a large lot directly next to the soft sand of one of Mexico’s splendid beaches.

While these points are completely valid, there’s also another very important factor to consider; Mexico’s tourism is currently emerging as a world leader in the industry and investment in real estate that’s related to this growth offers very high potential for return.

Consider the following points:

Mexico is focusing all its energy on tourism growth

2011 marked the beginning of a new era for Mexico’s tourism when President Felipe Calderon signed the National Tourism Agreement. This is an agreement between the federal government and the 31 states that each government will make decisions, policies and public investments based on the primary goal of increasing tourism. This creates a very good likelihood that new tourism areas will begin to grow and gain popularity even more quickly.

Within a decade, the country will be in the world’s top 5

The purpose of the National Tourism Agreement is to bring Mexico into to the world’s top 5 nations within the decade. As of the beginning of 2011, Mexico was positioned #8. This means large investment and promotion in order to beat out some stiff competition. As of early 2012, Mexico was showing that it was up to the task, with a year of heavy investment and promotion, greatly increased private sector investment, and significantly growing tourism numbers.

Undiscovered real estate areas are already gaining international attention

As Mexico continues to grow, new beachfront areas will begin catching the attention of international tourists. Mexico has excellent beachfront areas that are surrounded by beautiful nature, near Mayan ruins and charming, well-kept up colonial cities. Because of Mexico’s economic strength over the past decade or two, there are also good roads offering direct access, phone service, high-speed internet and nearby international airports. Stores like Walmart and state-of-the-art hospitals are located in cities that currently seem out of the way and unnoticed.

Any real estate on the beach will likely soon be in high-demand

As more tourists notice these areas, there will be demand both to rent and to buy real estate on the beachfront. People who buy cheap Mexico beachfront lots and build now may be investing as little as $150,000 USD when all is said and done (lot, building, etc.) We all know how much beachfront homes are going for even in less expensive tourist areas.

So, besides a relaxing life on the beach, all indications point to a very good investment. What we have to wonder now is, what are people waiting for?; Mexico’s Leading Network of Specialists for Finding and Purchasing Mexican Properties Safely

Mexico Real Estate NETWORK; “Mexico’s Leading Network of Specialists for Finding and Purchasing Mexican Properties Safely!”Region: Playa del Carmen real estate Thomas Lloyd graduated from Purdue University Krannert School of Management with a degree in Management/Financial Option Investments.He has been living, investing, and working professionally in Mexico for over 15 years.A Mexican Certified Realtor he is the current president of TOPmexicorealestate.

Backpacking South America Guide Reviews

These days, you can get almost all the information you need from the internet. So why would you waste space carrying around a huge guide when you are backpacking South America? First of all, a guide is great resource to have even before you travel! Use it to plan your trip, and keep it on your nightboard to keep you motivated while you are saving up money for your adventure.

Second, the guide is always a great backup to have in situations where internet or other resources aren’t available. How much should you pay for a taxi from the airport to the city? Where is there a hostel in this god-forsaken town where I am the only English speaking person in miles range? It’s always a good thing to have a guide as backup, even though you might not use it every day!

There are loads upon loads of guides for backpacking in South America. Some cover the whole continent, others cover only countries, cities or islands in greater detail. What kind of book you should buy depends on how your trip is laid out. Are you planning to stay in only one country? Or only one city? Or are you planning to do the whole caboodle? If you are planning to do a large trip covering more than one country.

I would advise you to only bring a “bible” guide that covers it all. Carrying around too many books will take up to match space and bring a heavy load on your back. There are mainly 3 Guides that are recognized as backpack south America bibles.

Lonely planet – South America on a Shoestring:

South America on a shoestring is definitely the most popular book to bring to South America, and also that book that goes as “the bible”. The book covers the whole South America with information on everything from big attractions to restaurants in a small outback town. Lonely planet books are known to be very good on accommodation, restaurants, things to do, and so forth.

Drawbacks are that the book gets a bit dry with only text and no pictures, and also the historical and details on locations can be a bit thin. Still this Is one of the better books on South America, and the book you will see the majority of people are carrying around.

Rough Guide to South America on a Budget:

The rough guides are the new modernized version of Lonely Planet. While Lonely Planet focus on pure quality information, Rough Guides are heavier on readability and visual enjoyment. The positive sides with RG are the Top-todo lists for countries, inspiring pictures and good detailed historical and guide information to places. Negatives are that it lacks some on the resource side. Many of the listings seem to be outdated, and hostels/restaurants might be closed down or moved. Rough Guides are a very good book for those who prefer visual reading enjoyment and good background and historical information.

Footprint South America Guide:

Footprint is the old dog in this competition. Back in the 70s; Footprint were topping all the travel guide lists. After a few years in the dark, they are now fighting to regain their position as top dog. And the new 2010 edition surely is a new good breeze, however it still has a few important flaws. Footprints new book is heavy on good detailed information on all the major places and in many cases it also covers the minor cities in much greater detail then the other two.

Footprints major drawbacks are some unnecessary mistakes that should have been fixed before publication. Many of the maps are incorrect and some of the basic resource sections are outdated. They have done a good job fixing up many of the mistakes in the new 2010 edition. This book is in many cases better than the two others, especially on information on places and attractions, however the book still has some flaws, especially on maps and locations that need to be fixed for this book to be top notch again.

When you are going to pick out the book that fits you the best, you should really consider what you will be using the book for. Are you planning to only use it as resource for restaurants, hostels and directions? Or do you also like to read information about cities, countries and so on.

Figure out what you want and pick the guide that fits you the best. And last, if you are planning to backpack South America in the near future, you can never buy your guide early enough. Once you buy it you are one step closer to your dream of backpacking around South America!

Backpacking Guide to Cuba

Cuba is alleged to be a country at a crossroads; and with the recent rate of change travelers would be wise to visit the nation before its romanticized past becomes the stuff of memories. With an abundance of things to see and do, the country is a popular destination for budget travelers led by a sense of adventure.


Discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, the Caribbean island of Cuba enjoys an enchanting history now centered upon the life of famous revolutionary Che Guevera and the reign of Fidel Castro.

Both the museum at Santa Clara and Havana’s Museo de la Revolucion provide a background for those seeking to understand modern day Cuba. Situated nearby is the Granma cabin cruiser, in which Castro and Che nearly drowned in 1956.

Elsewhere in Cuba, attractions include the cultural city of Santiago and the spectacular beauty of stalactites and stalagmites in the caves of Pinar del Rio. Havana’s oldest fort is also a sight that should not be missed and simple pleasures such as a casual stroll along the El Malecon seawall and a guided tour of the Havana Club Rum Factory will illuminate any backpacking holiday.

Food and Drink

Cuban food is a cacophony of Caribbean, Spanish and African influences with black beans, rice, pork and plantains featuring heavily in the local diet. Criollo or creole food is served in a paladere, or private dwelling, and offers travelers an inexpensive and authentic dining experience. Restaurants owned by the government are significantly more expensive and the staff often depend on tips for wages.

Cuban bars are always lively and serve speciality rum cocktails such as the mojito and Cuba Libre. Venues often provide great live music with Cubans never needing an excuse to reach for the guitar and enter into spontaneous song. Those who make it to Santiago should not miss performances of son cubano, a unique style of music originating in Cuba and the inspiration for salsa, at the Casa de la Trova.

Where To Stay

For the complete Cuban experience, stay in Cuba hostels, or casas particulares, which are private hotels adapted for travelers and backpackers. Havana hostels usually consist of a room in a private home. This kind of accommodation is abundant and of good value with prices varying depending on facilities and location. As food and other services are likely to cost extra, so backpackers with a very tight budget should ensure they ask about these prices on arrival.