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Spotlight on Louisville Twitter user: Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

How long have you been using Twitter?

We began Tweeting about a year ago.

What are some of the reasons you use Twitter?

During the 2009 ice storm we used Twitter to communicate how the Louisville tourism industry was affected by the storm including who was open/closed.

Our Tweets kicked into high gear as part of our leisure bus blitz program where we visited nine cities in the region. During the blitz we were trying to bring people to the bus to register for Kentucky Derby tickets, learn more about visiting Louisville, sign-up for our newsletter and spin a wheel to walk away with Louisville-related prizes. It worked too; @JustAddBourbon met up with some of his followers on the Nashville leg of the trip.

Since then we have found that Twitter is a great way to converse with convention delegates who are attending meetings and tradeshows in the city, like the National Street Rods, National Farm Machinery Show (@nfmslouisville), State Fair (@kystatefair), ABC Kids Expo (@ABCKidsExpo), etc. They can ask questions and we can offer advice.

Twitter gives us one more way in which we can help get the word out about our tourism partners. We are able to take press releases we receive about renovations, openings, exhibits, events, etc. and turn them into a Tweet that drives people to our website for more information or directly to the website, or Twitter account, of our partners.

We search Twitter for people who say they are coming to, have been to, or are currently in Louisville. We ask them to share their experiences and Tweet more about their trip creating a platform for an open and honest conversation. By doing this we learn what people are saying about their experience in Louisville. 99% of the time what we are hearing is positive. If we spot something that is legitimately negative about one of our tourism industry partners we’ll pass it along for them to address.

Using Twitter as you do, tell us some your successes.

Although our followers have grown steadily we have seen our successes in smaller, more personal interactions. Followers have asked us for advice on what attractions to visit and where to eat.

With social media being such a popular buzz word in 2009 we were able to put to use the first-hand knowledge we’d gained by educating local attractions on the uses of Twitter and Facebook. By having our local tourism community active with us in the world of social media, it provides more opportunities to interact and promote them.

By following local restaurants, attractions, hotels and festivals we are able to stay on top of what is happening within our own hospitality community. It also gives us a quick opportunity share that news with our own followers.

Examples include: @PossibilityCity

Attractions: @loumetroparks @derbymuseum @wfpark @LouisvilleBats @ATLouisville @KC_Presents @LouScience @fourthstlive

Hotels: @21cHotels @TheBrownHotel @GaltHouse

Festivals: @AbbeyRdonRiver @forecastle @kyderbyfest

Restaurant: @lillysbistro @loubristol @BourbonsBistro @HRCLOUISVILLE @HeineBrosCoffee

On several occasions we’ve held trivia contests giving away prizes donated by our partners. These seem to generate a lot of interest, retweets and new followers.

Whom have you met, done business with or collaborated with after connecting on Twitter?

We’ve networked with industry colleagues in other cities like @anneh632 in Chicago. In fact, she started a Facebook group specifically for convention and visitors bureaus who tweet. And during the bus blitz met @circulating who works with the Paducah CVB. Those connections have opened up opportunities to discuss industry-specific social media situations.

Although we get newsletters from many industry organizations, sometimes we learn of breaking news from Twitter. In fact, just last week we learned from @southeasttouris that the Summer 2010 Top 20 Events in the Southeast had been announced three of Louisville’s festivals @Forecastle, @IdeaFestival and National Street Rods were all winners.

A function of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau’s press team is to network with travel writers, ranging from providing information upon request to pitching stories. In the course of this last year it has become apparent that many writers find the brevity of Twitter challenging and actively use the medium. Although I don’t think we’ve successfully pitched any writers via Twitter, yet. We’ve connected with them on Twitter after our initial contact.

Examples:

Last year we pitched @Tidewaterwomen, who came to town in the fall. The article ran recently in the magazine and is published online. Once the story went live we Tweeted about it.

Also last fall we worked with Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) to bring some spirits writers to town. One of them was @SpiritsTraveler, who has written two articles about her visit. We continue to follow and communiate with her. And of course, retweet her Louisville articles.

And of course, you found us and asked us to be interviewed for www.Examiner.com!

We’ve found former Louisvillians who love their hometown and want to stay on top of what’s going on “back home.”

Several connections have led to email, and face-to-face conversations, about who the CVB is and how we can work with our fellow Tweeters on projects.

What's your Twitter address?

There are four members of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau press team who Tweet for http://twitter.com/GoToLouisville. We each bring our own personalities and interests to the Tweets, which help us showcase the many exciting aspects of being a Louisvillian.

We affectionately call the four staff members who Tweet for @GoToLouisville “the Tweam.” All of us on the Tweam enjoy eating out, so on any given day you’ll probably find a photo and commentary about our meals at local restaurants.

We also have one staff person who Tweets at www.twitter.com/JustAddBourbon. He interacts and connects much the same way, while promoting Louisville’s connection to the bourbon industry including the city’s Urban Bourbon Trail.

Now that you've been using Twitter, do you have some thoughts about your experience?

Initially it wasn’t entirely obvious to our Tweam how Twitter could best help our company and the city’s tourism industry. So we timidly spread our wings. Feeling the breeze, we decided to jump from the nest. Now it’s safe to say we are hooked. We’ll continue gliding in the Twittersphere along as the medium continues to have active and engaged participants interacting with us.

Twitter is a part of your efforts, what do people do to get some Face-to-Face Interaction with you?

For those who prefer face-to-face interaction we do run the Louisville Visitors Center at 4th and Jefferson Streets in downtown Louisville, which is open Monday-Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday noon-5 PM, with extended hours during Daylight Savings Time. The Center has limited hours on some major holidays and is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

You can also visit us online at www.GoToLouisville.com and www.JustAddBourbon.com, or friend us on Facebook.

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