SocialSocial MediaLA Tourism Goes Social, Hooks Up With Savvy Locals

LA Tourism Goes Social, Hooks Up With Savvy Locals

Social connections between visitors and savvy local residents are the heart of a newly revamped promotional website touting the sprawling Los Angeles area.

Move over Hollywood celebrities. Social connections between visitors and savvy local residents are the heart of a newly revamped promotional website touting the sprawling Los Angeles area.

On Oct. 26 the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board unveiled its next-gen digital hub, DiscoverLosAngeles.com, designed by 15-year-old marketing agency Digitaria.

Like all city tourism sites, the new LA hub is competing with a growing list of travel search engines, destination ratings sites, and hotel booking platforms. Consequently, it has to be more than just a comprehensive directory, events calendar, and cheerleader for the city.

“Travel is becoming a truly social activity,” said Don Skeoch, CMO for the LA tourism board. “Today’s traveler increasingly wants helpful, general destination information along with insider information. So, we combined the best aspects of a travel guide with the best aspects of talking to a local.”

The site is built around an exploratory process, “so that both visitors and residents can easily find what the area offers, beyond what they might already know,” said Michael Brown, VP of media, entertainment, and travel at Digitaria.

To make the information manageable, the site’s first focus is on the different regions of the LA basin, which are sometimes lengthy drives from each other. “We don’t want people to feel overwhelmed by LA’s sprawling size and diversity,” Brown said.

Once a region is selected, the site offers an experience builder – similar to a mobile app – that allows users to add any activity to “My LA Bucket List.” Maps show where selected activities are located in relation to each other.

Facebook and Twitter are incorporated into the site to foster real-time sharing and feedback. The Discover LA Facebook page boasts close to one million fans. Entries in the page’s popular “photo of the day” have attracted up to 9,000 likes and hundreds of comments in several languages. The program’s Twitter feed @DiscoverLA has almost 20,000 followers.

Content on the site is also carefully edited to give the digital hub a voice and personality, unlike straightforward, information-based directories. “People are more likely to share information they’ve discovered when it feels like the information comes from a person talking to them,” said Brown.

For instance, David Oh, the NASA flight director of the Mars Curiosity Rover, who lives on Mars time, offers suggestions for other night owls, such as where to get sushi in Pasadena at 2 a.m. On the celebrity front, Magic Johnson recommends his favorite Beverly Hills Italian restaurant.

Going forward, the digital program will include additional insider tips and advice from local residents who are “neighborhood advocates,” said Brown. The tourism group is just “scratching the surface” of using social sharing and personalization, he said.

For more traditional users, information is also filtered into typical lifestyle categories: culture, sports, attractions, nightlife, and dining.

The website relaunch is the latest installment in a new global branding campaign by LA Tourism, which began in Spring 2012. Next up: an integrated marketing campaign in Q1 2013, with digital, television, print, PR, and promotions, per a tourism rep.

Related Articles

Seeing the trees for the forest with paid social

Social & Community Seeing the trees for the forest with paid social

3w Mike O'Brien
A guide to five Facebook ad types that will reach your marketing objectives

Display Advertising A guide to five Facebook ad types that will reach your marketing objectives

2m Tereza Litsa
How to use Facebook Insights to track the success of your social strategy

Analytics How to use Facebook Insights to track the success of your social strategy

4m Tereza Litsa
What Facebook's big bet on AR means for brands

Mobile What Facebook's big bet on AR means for brands

7m Al Roberts
Twitter introduces pre-roll ads for Periscope

Social Media Twitter introduces pre-roll ads for Periscope

8m Al Roberts
Facebook goes after clickbait headlines - five tips to maintain reach

Content Marketing Facebook goes after clickbait headlines - five tips to maintain reach

5m Tereza Litsa
The best Facebook marketing strategies for 2017

Social The best Facebook marketing strategies for 2017

7m Tereza Litsa
How to use Facebook mobile ads as an "interest indicator" to drive conversions

Display Advertising How to use Facebook mobile ads as an "interest indicator" to drive conversions

7m Sana Ansari