The Scottsdale Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, private company that has contracts with the City of Scottsdale and Town of Paradise Valley to conduct destination marketing efforts on behalf of these municipalities. Their vision is to position Scottsdale as a world-class vacation, meetings and group travel destination by communicating an image that sells the uniqueness of the Scottsdale experience.

The Scottsdale CVB has a membership of about 70 hotels and resorts as well as restaurants, day spas, golf courses and other attractions. They offer these partners twitter classes and ongoing assistance to educate about social media and encourage participation.

In August 2008, Josh Kenzer was hired as the bureau’s online marketing manager to increase the CVB’s online presence. He began blogging and would curate at least one post a day, and then they began using social media to promote the content. To assemble copy for the blog, they asked their members to send things to a specific email address that they would then gather the information from to promote.

Josh noted that blogging (as opposed to just posting content on a website) is a great way to release time-sensitive content in a productive way. While a website is like a magazine, he pointed out, a blog is like a newspaper in that it’s updated daily. It keeps content current and also helps with SEO.

In terms of Twitter and Facebook, the Scottsdale fanbase includes over 8,000 Twitter followers and 5,400 Facebook fans. To build the fanbase, they used facebook ads to target travelers in key cities like Chicago and New York, with some ads directing people to the fanpage and others directly to the website.

Specific events are most suitable for tweeting. For example, in January, the BCS champion football game was held in Arizona, drawing a lot of visitors and hype to the destination. Through tweeting about the various events associated with the game, there was an increased amount of engagement and draw to the area. They also did a ticket give-away. Cities can definitely take advantage of major events to stir up excitement and educate new people about the draws of a city.

While certain specifics such as noted above are great for Twitter, Josh pointed out that there seems to be more consistent interaction on Facebook, and that it’s definitely the more suitable platform for engagement. Most Twitter followers are local whereas Facebook has a much more mixed audience.

His advice for other CVBs looking to get started with social media includes:

  • Get on and start using it personally first. Get the hang of it, THEN get started for your business.
  • On Facebook, there’s stuff going on all the time. Don’t just post specials and rates. Keep the content varied.
  • Make it fun and exciting. Post photos, etc.

Has destination marketing through social media influenced your decisions to visit certain places?