The importance of social media word of mouth for building tourism reputation
Auckland is by far New Zealand's most popular destination, welcoming about 70 per cent of international arrivals. The question is: what does the rest of the world think of us? And what better place to find out than from the horse's mouth - social media.
Auckland tourism professor Simon Milne recognises this and says social media has become a new, much more powerful, word of mouth."It's a vital way for visitors to communicate with each other," he says, "and it's also a vital way for people to be able to put down their memories and discuss their thoughts after they leave a destination."
Dr Milne, who heads the NZ Tourism Research Institute at Auckland University of Technology, says monitoring internet blogs, opinions and comments is crucial for tourism organisations if they have the resources to do so.
"It gives you excellent insights into the performance of a region and you trace, like a barometer, how that performance evolves over time."
The internet is a goldmine of market research opportunities and connection with visitors - something Auckland would do well to focus on.
"We have a great city with a lot of wonderful attributes that, perhaps, are a little hidden from most visitors. We have to look at ways to increase their interaction with Auckland and Aucklanders," he says.
and on the New Zealand Herald.