The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) in Australia has just released their latest report for the tourism Industry: 

Consumer Generated web based marketing – “Users are doing it for themselves” – 2008

Catchy title and an interesting methodology.  According to the reports summary the researchers aim was

“to investigate how travel related user-generated content (UGC) websites (also known as Web 2.0 sites) are being used by consumers and the impact that these sites are having on the information search and travel behaviour of these people. Recommendations can then be made to tourism organisations for development of more effective e-business strategies.”

The research involved an analysis of a several tourism and related websites of interest to Tourism NSW, Content analysis and interpretation. The study also involved a user survey. Have a read of the report summary and key findings for yourself but this was the major take out for us –

 “Tourism operators and destination marketing organisations cannot ignore the rising popularity of sites containing UGC content or the role that they may play in the travel planning behaviour of consumers. These sites can provide information that influences the final booking plans associated with travel. Moreover, information on UGC sites can cause travellers to alter their existing travel plans”

So the question for Tourism industry operators how well is your business doing to start meaningful conversations online that you can manage and interact with?.

We have been presenting our online marketing for tourism workshops across NSW in the last 12 months and we spend about 50% of our time talking about useful ways to encourage and coordinate User generated content about your business online. There is always a lot of interest in this area and now this research is supporting what we have been talking about. Time to update the e-book!

Grab the report summary and industry summary here – http://www.crctourism.com.au/BookShop/BookDetail.aspx?d=634