One of my most difficult assignments as an Account Executive for a major Midwest PR firm was to sell a tourism destination in the middle of the USA. The objective was to fly travel writers to the city, sightsee, explore, wine and dine them for several days in hopes our tourism destination would be written about, talked about and featured in the New York Times, Travel and Leisure Magazine or other major print outlets.
What made the job so difficult was the energy and enthusiasm required by me as the perfect tour guide/chauffeur for three jammed-packed days. I once had a New York travel writer insist he leave in the middle of a Repertory Theater performance because he was bored.
Social media to the rescue at least, in Turkey. Travel writers still visit Turkey to write their stories, but the tourism market in Turkey has become a conversation on the internet. The real buzz right now are the conversations taking place through social media on the Website, Wizard Istanbul, operated by the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey.
A traveler can post a question on Twitter, Facebook or the Website with an answer returned in minutes or several hours. Constant updates are also posted on the Website as well as Facebook and Twitter with the most recent being, “what can someone do in Istanbul during Ramadan?” What a great question and one that some people might not even know to ask.
Using social media to guide tourists in real-time around your city is a great idea that will be followed by others. No more waiting around for an article to come out months later in the print media.
Here are three reasons why Wizard Istanbul is such a good idea:
1.Wizard Istanbul is a proactive way of reaching out to your market. What separates it from other location guides is that it’s crowdsourced with real-time answers 24/7.
2.Wizard Istanbul works through social media outlets, Twitter, Facebook and via the Web.
3.Responses to questions are written by citizens of Istanbul who are passionate about their city and willing to volunteer their time to engage tourists online. Their enthusiasm for Istanbul is catching as you can see by the answer I received about souvenir shopping in Istanbul :
Thanks for your question, and sorry for late reply, for faster replies you can ask your questions via http://twitter.com/wizardistanbul or http://facebook.com/wizardistanbul (I emailed my question and the response took about four hours)
There are lots of gift opportunities, depends on what your family members like, you can buy “dried fruits” to “Turkish delight”, “quality clothes with Turkish motives” to “hand-made carpets”. Also we suggest up to hobbies; Waterpipe(nargile), porcelain tea & coffee sets, Turkish coffee, unique accesorizes(which you can find in Istiklal avenue -in aznavur pasaj-)
Even you can buy anything in huge shopping malls(Kanyon, Istinyepark, Cevahir) and shopping districts(Kadikoy, Nisantasi, Besiktas, Beyoglu), if you want to have more cultural or unique things grand bazaar, spice bazaar and the streets between these bazaars are great. Also Tunnel to Taksim(istiklal street) is also another district to shop with its backstreets.
Enjoy Istanbul and feel free to ask anything.
Wizard Istanbul Team
The Wizard Istanbul Team is engaged and inviting. Since 70 percent of the population in Turkey is under 35, in a culture that is traditionally shy, you can see why social media is so popular.
Wizard Istanbul is an innovative new way to target your market and boost your tourism. It’s not just postings and announcements on a Website, a YouTube documentary, shared stories/ photos on a blog, or digital maps. It’s all about conversations – real people talking to real people in real-time.
Talking tourism in Turkey is a good idea for anyone in the tourism industry.