Thursday, May 10, 2007

The not-so-accidental tourist

posted by Andy Leff
Actually, make that the not-so-accidental tourism marketer. We're talking about -- and with -- Annie Heckenberger, Social Media Director at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation. (You have to love her title!)

Annie is part of the dynamic team behind the City of Phildelphia's image. She's an expert in new media, which includes online outreach, mobile content, and even computer gaming.

One of Annie's most visible efforts has been uwishunu, a blog her department created to tap the talent of Philadelphia's creative class, and tout what Annie refers to as "unconventional city life." (Here's the complete 411.)

The secret to uwishunu's success as a tourism initiative: Annie's team used the right approach for the right audience. They needed to reach tourists who wanted to 'stay like locals' in the city. And they knew these people had near-total use of Internet tools to research, purchase, and plan travel.

So they met them on their own turf, with a funky, well-designed blog that attracted fresh content from local artists, musicians, foodies, and more. The result: a fun, informative source on the newest regional hot spots that reached its intended audience, and convinced them to visit Philadelphia.

Listening to Annie's podcast is a fast and effective way to glean her proven insights on creating and leveraging a successful tourism blog. And if you like what you learn, pass it along to spread the good word!

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