Link Friday: The Halloween Edition

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014 by Kate

It’s almost Halloween time!

  • For some, Halloween is all about the gore. For others, it’s all about the costumes. But it can also be a great excuse to travel! Check out America’s best towns for Halloween.
  • If you love being scared silly, you won’t want to miss the most terrifying haunted houses in America, including scary trips through a swamp and an abandoned meat processing plant and encounters with live alligators in a maze of complete darkness.
  • For a more kid-friendly Halloween vacation, check out these fun destinations.
  • On a non-travel related note, have you heard about the teal pumpkin project this Halloween? Concerned parents started it to encourage people to offer alternative treats on Halloween for kids with food allergies, but it gained national attention through social media. Never underestimate the power of the internet!

Link Friday: The Food Photos Edition

Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014 by Kate

You know you’ve done it. You’ve taken a photo of food and posted it to social media. It’s okay. You’re not alone. Ninety new photos hashtagged #foodporn are uploaded to Instagram every minute.

  • Forget your friends’ food pics – if you’re serious, you follow this Twitter account. All food, all the time.
  • Food photos now have their own social network, called Morsel.
  • Did you know photos of your lunch can do more than annoy your friends? Check out these ways they can actually do good!
  • If you’re going to post food photos, the least you can do is make them look good. Here are some helpful tips.
  • And finally, here’s an entire Instagram account full of really bad food photos. Learn what not to do here.

Link Friday: The Social Media & Charity Edition

Posted on Thursday, October 9, 2014 by Kate

So we all saw the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos fill up our news feed this summer.  It’s proof that social media and charity make a great team.

  • So why do some charity events go viral when others go unnoticed? For the Ice Bucket Challenge in particular, it was the perfect storm.
  • Social media remains one of the first places people hear about charitable initiatives. Check out this list of other interesting finds about social media users and philanthropy.
  • Ninety-eight percent of the biggest charities in the U.S. use social media and for most, the main goal is raising awareness. They’re finding videos to be their most effective tool.
  • Here are some ways you can use social media to promote your charity or fundraiser.
  • And last but not least, here are some social media dos and don’ts when you’re running a charity.

Look who joined the team!

Posted on Monday, October 6, 2014 by Tyler

Jessi Johnson lives and breathes creative design. He has a broad and impressive portfolio of visual work that includes posters, park signs, menus, maps, vacation guides and web advertisements. Mr. Johnson captures the attention of travelers with his clean, smart and effective ideas and his enthusiasm for destination marketing.

Look who joined the team!

Posted on Friday, October 3, 2014 by Tyler
Ben Jones

Mr. Jones pairs his travel and writing passions to inspire others to pack their bags. He’s a former journalist and a skilled communicator who believes that one of the best parts of travel is the moment one decides to take a trip. Mr. Jones loves using words to help people find those moments.

Link Friday: The Fall Festivals Edition

Posted on Friday, October 3, 2014 by Kate

Fall is full of festivals. But they’re more than just fun. They play an important role in tourism.

Link Friday: The Travel Podcasts Edition

Posted on Friday, September 26, 2014 by Kate

You’re thinking about a vacation. You’ve visited the websites, ordered the guides, read the books. But have you ever listened to a travel podcast? There’s one for every different kind of travel and every unique destination.

  • A little bit of everything travel-related, the Extra Pack of Peanuts podcast appeals to the financially-conscious traveler, foodies and extreme sports enthusiasts.
  • Zero to Travel showcases folks with incredible travel stories. Like the guy who participated in the 546-mile hitchhiking race around Scotland or the wheelchair-bound traveler who completed a 500-mile pilgrimage through Spain.
  • If you’re interested in specific destinations, you can find some really thorough audio walking tours of Europe from travel guru Rick Steves here.
  • Budget travelers will love the Indie Travel Podcast. You’ll find money saving tips and learn how become a full-time traveler (take that, career!).

Link Friday: The Fall Travel Edition

Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2014 by Kate

The official start of fall is just a few days away. Here’s a little glimpse at the travel outlook.

  • Here’s a pretty comprehensive overview of what travelers can expect this fall. (Spoiler alert: airfare prices are up, hotel costs are up even more, but car rental prices are down.)
  • It’s not all bad news. Fall is also “shoulder season” which means certain kinds of travel (and travel to certain places) are actually a way better deal this time of year.
  • Check out these best cities in America for an autumn adventure.
  • Thinking about how to market your destination for fall? Tourism powerhouse Pure Michigan gives the season its own section of their website, including a color map, great fall activities and stunning imagery.
  • No travel itinerary in your future? Explore this photo gallery of the finest fall color in North America.

Link Friday: The Tourism Mobile App Edition

Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2014 by Kate

Did you know travel-related apps are the 7th most downloaded type of apps?

  • So it begs the question, does my destination really need an app? And if you can ignore the fact that it’s a pitch from a place that makes mobile apps, this e-book has a lot of great facts and figures about mobile use in relation to tourism.
  • Most destination apps are an extension of their websites and/or visitor guides. The clever ones include an element of fun, like the Middleton Pick-N-Play app we created, where users who aren’t sure what they want to do in town and just shake their iPhones and let the app choose for them.
  • Another great concept for a travel app is to tap into popular activities in the area. For example, in the Map It Vilas County app we created, users can find the perfect trail for any activity and any season, and it even has filters for mileage and pet allowances.
  • If you’ve got a lot to offer (like a whole country’s worth of stuff), you could go out all out, like the Hong Kong Tourism board did, creating a ton of different apps including a virtual tour guide with full panoramas and apps for island walks and heritage walks. P.S. Thailand went a little overboard too.
  • However you choose to do your mobile app, just be sure you do it well. Wonky apps look cheap and research is showing that a good number of smartphone users don’t trust apps when they don’t know who’s behind them. Make sure your tourism entity is completely transparent in your descriptions.

Link Friday: The NFL Edition

Posted on Thursday, September 4, 2014 by Kate

Are you ready for some football? The regular season is finally here!

  • Have a look at the NFL teams with the highest social media acumen (based on fans and followers).
  • Did you know pro athletes have their own social network these days? It’s called Sqor (pronounced “score”) and believe it or not, Brett Favre is on the board of directors (until he decides to retire and then unretire, anyway).
  • NFL commish Roger Goodell got a good old fashioned (or maybe new fashioned?) public shaming via social media in late August and policy changes in the NFL actually came of it. Further proof that the public’s influence via social media can be incredibly powerful.
  • And far be it from us to deny you some college football action in this Link Friday, so check out this list of the 50 best college football personalities to follow on Twitter (former Wisconsin Badgers coach Bret Bielema made the list. Discuss.).