Engaging Foodies via Foodspotting

Philly Cheesesteak v. Austin Fried Egg Sandwich


A cultural, regional and destination identifier.

We travel for it, plan our days around it and ask strangers where we can find the best of it.

And if your destination is the official brand name of a specific meat and cheese laden sandwich or a hot spot for hot food, it only makes sense to engage the passionate foodie communities who are talking about your destination, and the food that can be found there.

Which is exactly what our friends at Visit Philly and the Austin CVB did when the launched their respective Foodspotting social campaigns.

For insight, we turned to friends of the blog, tourism advocates and food fans Caroline Bean of Visit Philly and Katie Cook of Austin for 5 questions about Foodspotting.


5 Questions with Visit Philly and the Austin CVB on Foodspotting 

Tell us a bit about Foodspotting and how the DMO became involved in the program?

Early on, Pennsylvania had momentum on Foodspotting: our partner Visit Bucks County was the first destination to launch a Foodspotting program at foodspotting.com/visitbuckspa and they suggested we look into it as well.

We know our visitors like to eat their way through Philadelphia and the countryside. We want to spread the word about how to find and share our good food here, and that’s what Foodspotting is all about. So we reached out to them to become a featured destination on their web and mobile platform. (It didn’t hurt that Ted Grubb, one of Foodspotting’s founders, is a native Philadelphian.)

Philadelphia became the first destination to launch such a major Foodspotting program with multiple guides, a contest at launch and Foodspotting’s marketing support.

Visit Phily Answer

Foodspotting is a mobile app that allows you to find photos and information about other users’ favorite dishes. A person can be walking down the street in an unknown city, open the app and see enticing photos of dishes that are nearby.

At this point, we are not partnering with Foodspotting formally. We have started a free user account to share food/dish recommendations with visitors. Visitors to Austin want to know where the locals are eating (and their favorite dishes at those restaurants) and we think Foodspotting is a great way to share that content.

Austin CVB Answer

With a perception of too many social networks, how do you balance the addition of Foodspotting with Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

We have lots of presence on social networks: four Twitter accounts, four Facebook pages, YouTube, Flickr… with so much to manage already, we really evaluate each new tool as it comes along to see if it will help us promote travel to Philadelphia.

We felt Foodspotting had promise: as one of Time magazine’s “Best Websites of 2010” and one of Travel + Leisure magazine’s “Top Travel Applications” of 2010, Foodspotting was at the tipping point – and we wanted to get in early in a big way to put Philly even more firmly on the foodie map.

Visit Phily Answer

It hasn’t been too difficult to add this network onto our plates (pun intended) as we were already eating out and taking photos of our food. The added step is to upload those photos to the Foodspotting app (available on iPhones and now Android devices.)

Austin CVB Answer

What has the response been from the foodie community?

Really great!

In the first two weeks after we launched, our foodspotting.com/visitphilly page got five times the amount of Foodspotting’s other partners’ page views that soon after launch. Our followers increased 755% in those first two weeks.

Fiona Tang, head of outreach for Foodspotting, says: “Our partnership with Visit Philly was one of the most successful launches we’ve seen on Foodspotting. And it’s simply because Visit Philly understood the value of our service, was totally on board and put a significant push behind helping get the word out. We were so thrilled to see the amount of attention the partnership got in the Philly area!”

Visit Phily Answer

Austin is a burgeoning Foodie town. There are people that are really passionate about dining in local restaurants and they seem to love to connect with us in this space. We hope to plan a Foodie Meet-up soon to get more acquainted with the foodie community.

Austin CVB Answer

How does Foodspotting fit into your overall social media / digital strategy?

Philadelphia’s branded page enables GPTMC to bring the With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® tourism initiative to Foodspotting, encouraging people to visit several area restaurants and link Foodspotting friends to Visit Philly’s other web and social media properties, including Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor site, www.visitphilly.com.

Visit Phily Answer

We use our social media accounts to connect with visitors. We answer questions, provide recommendations and tell people what’s new and trending in Austin. Foodspotting fits into this mix nicely.

Austin CVB Answer

What was the promotional push to introduce the new campaign?

It was a true partnership with Foodspotting. They listed Visit Philly’s guides in their “featured guides” which ensured they were pushed to users within mobile app. They promoted us through their blog and their social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook). We cross-promoted each others’ tweets, etc.

We promoted our Foodspotting presence with a combination of traditional media relations (press release, lots of pitching, an announcement at our annual tourism event) as well as blog posts on our tourism blog www.uwishunu.com, presence throughout our visitor site www.visitphilly.com, tweets from all four of our Twitter accounts (@VisitPhilly, @uwishunu, @PhillyTeAma, @Philly360) and status updates 4 Facebook fan pages (VisitPhilly, VisitGayPhilly, Philly360, PhillyHomegrown). We promoted individual guides as well as our presence in general.

To kick off the program, we created a contest where one randomly selected grand-prize winner who follows Visit Philly on Foodspotting and completed Visit Philly’s “Famous Philly Flavors” guide between May 11 and May 25 won an overnight stay at a luxury Philadelphia hotel, a City Food Tours’ Flavors of Philly excursion for two and a $100 Garces Restaurant Group giftcard. Randomly selected first-prize winners will each won two Flavors of Philly tour by City Food Tours.

Visit Phily Answer

So far, we have promoted it on our Twitter and Facebook accounts. We also included our Foodspotting url in collateral that we gave to the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party attendees in NYC (We have been the sole destination sponsor for two years).

Austin CVB Answer

Finally, tell us the best food spot in the city?

Oh man… you can’t make me answer that! You’ll just have to go to foodspotting.com/visitphilly and taste for yourself.

Visit Phily Answer

That is an impossible question to answer! There are too many great options. But, looking at our Foodspotting account, the restaurant that we have the most photos from is Second Bar + Kitchen.

We love the fried egg and avocado sandwich!

Austin CVB Answer

Our sincere thanks to Caroline and Katie for taking the time out of their schedules to chat Foodspotting with us.  Very informative and hopefully inspiring for our other foodie destination friends.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.