In May 2009, Development Counsellors International analyzed more than 3,000 tweets from 39 of the nation's largest convention and visitor bureaus to determine what these organizations were sharing via Twitter. DCI then ranked the extent to which the CVBs engaged their followers, looking at factors such as the number of followers, tweets, community partner retweets, contests and deals. This resulted in naming the Top 6 Travel Tweet Elite, which included organizations from Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Tampa Bay, Fla. But just how useful are these elite tweets to planners?
Communication posted via Twitter is typically "consumer-oriented," according to Angela Jackson, director of public relations for the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau; for meetings, the SFCVB created a Facebook site (facebook.com/sfmeetings). But that doesn't mean planners won't find useful nuggets through the bureau's Twitter feed. One SFCVB tweet from late October read, "Here's a great list of where to eat, drink & entertain around the Moscone Center: http://budurl.com/camr."
Is following CVBs on Twitter the best way for planners to receive such information? "Everyone in our industry is still learning how to make the best use of the medium," says Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications and public relations for the New Orleans bureau. While her office's Twitter efforts to date have focused primarily on the leisure side, Schulz explains that a goal for 2010 is to work with convention customers to boost attendance using the tool. "We've only just begun to discuss integrating our social media efforts with theirs," she notes, "but we are committed to really making it a part of our plan."