August 22, 2007

Virtual travel agent on Twitter

Marco Derksen, owner of Marketingfacts.nl, the most famous marketing blog in The Netherlands, just spent his holiday in Finland. What has this to do with Twitter ? Quite a lot.

When Marco was thinking of finding a holiday location, he asked advice to his 300+ followers on Twitter. He got several suggestions, including Finland. When he later asked for specific tips for Finland, he received several of them. When he finally made it to Finland, he stayed in touch with his homebase by informing his followers of his wherabouts and his travel experiences in Finland.

Upon his return, he made a blogpost and a presentation (both in Dutch) describing his experiences. He suggests another, innovative use of Twitter, Twitter as a virtual Travel Agent. He already started several new Twitter accounts for people traveling to various holiday locations (Amsterdam, United States, Australia, Canada and Finland). The goal is that someone, e.g.John Smith planning to go to one of these holiday locations, would follow the Twitter account for his destination. The Twitter travel account will also follow John Smith's Twitter account. When John Smith would ask questions in his Twitter feed, these answers will be picked up by the location experts for the Twitter account. Ideally tourists would also exchange travel tips between themselves. If there would be an interface between Twitter and a photo sharing service (e.g. Flickr), tourists and location experts can also exchange pictures. The advantage for John Smith of using Twitter during hist stay at the holiday location, is that he can receive travel tips on his mobile phone.

Marco's suggestion to use Twitter as a virtual travel agent has however also its limitations. This worked fine for Marco, because of his impressive network (on Twitter but also through the Marketingfacts blog and in real life in the Netherlands). What is lacking from his idea is the funding. Why would someone help people he never met before (and probably will never meet) with travel tips for a location ? Who will pay the location experts ? There are plenty of other sites where you can find useful information during the planning phase of a holiday. Twitter is OK for exchange of messages, but it is rather difficult to look up Twitter messages from the past.

Future will tell if Twitter will be used as a virtual travel agent.

6 comments:

Steve Koening said...

Adding pictures to your Twitter updates and directly to Flickr is now made possible by Mobypicture.com. A nice integration and very easy to setup.

cvodb said...

Why would someone even want to get paid to help out a traveller? Why does everything have to have a business model?

PavlovianDoggy said...

the answer is yes! =)

Vanessa Forsyth said...

We (@EntirelyKiwi) offer advise to travellers to New Zealand. I think Twitter is a perfect forum for travellers and "advisors" alike to share ideas, thoughts and knowledge. Why not? If your travelling its fantastic to get local insiders knowledge without having relatives that live there!

Sweton F said...

hey buddy,can i add pictures to my twitter updates through any of the twitter applicfations???

ver pagina said...

This can't work as a matter of fact, that is exactly what I believe.