Twitter Case Study: Portland’s Virtual Visitor Bureau

A lot has been written about Twitter’s usefulness for business and promotion and marketing; Mashable alone has a library’s worth of information on all things Twitter.

As an agency with hospitality clients — including two hotels right here in DC, the Churchill and the Hamilton Crowne Plaza — and a travel-focused Twitter account (@travelrama), we’re especially interested in learning new ways of using Twitter for travel and tourism promotion.

One of our favorite examples is Travel Portland, the Oregon city’s visitor information center.

Not only is the web site’s design light, flexible and accessible — a contrast to other cities’ often graphically heavy sites — but it’s built to take advantage of social media: the home page includes several news and blog feeds, for example.

But it’s their use of Twitter that caught our eye.

Yes, like many hotels, airlines and visitor’s bureaus, they have an account (@travelportland, naturally). Rather than just use it to broadcast a stream of press releases or other outward marketing, however, they’re truly using their account to be interactive and responsive.

They encourage the use of the special hashtag #inpdx when asking for information about Portland. This allows any staffer monitoring the Travel Portland Twitter account to see these specific messages more easily and respond to them.

The result is a virtual Twitter Visitor Center — they call it a Twisitor Center — that gives Twitter users ready access to Portland travel information without ever leaving their phone or Twitter application of choice.

Tell us: What innovative and successful uses of Twitter have you see for travel and tourism?

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