Random Thoughts: Why You Should Not Ignore The Wikis
As we discussed last week Google City Tours presents yet another challenge to the travel industry and should cause all of us to re-think our place in the travel planning funnel. That discussion was highlighted by the acknowledgment that for the majority of the industry, content is the still a point of differentiation. Open source content, breaking out of the walled-garden that is your website, etc, etc.
But where do you start? First, by not ignoring the wikis.
Whether it is Google City Tours or Offbeat Guides, a lot of these new sites and mashups are looking to open-source locations for content. RSS feeds, blogs and wikis can provide a wealth of content simply because of open distribution.
For most of us…airline, hotel or CVB…we simply do not have the connections in place to distribute our content far and wide. Additionally, individually, we are only one piece of the puzzle. It is not very efficient for a site developer to visit every CVB or DMO site in the country to obtain the same basic info via RSS feed.
Which is where two very important wiki sites come into play…Wikipedia and WikiTravel. Wikipedia you know and if you have read the Travel 2.0 blog for a bit, you should also be familiar with WikiTravel.
Both present an opportunity to capture and aggregate a large amount of content on a wide variety of locations from a central point.
For the most part, major or popular destinations will likely have complete or near-complete articles covering the basics of visiting that location. For example, Denver’s WikiTravel article. Part of the beauty of a wiki is that anyone can edit them, so content tends to evolve quickly.
However, as a travel provider you should be checking and verifying that the information presented on these sites is correct and accurate. Again, a lot of other sites are relying on this content to describe your city and you should know what is being said on these wikis.
Editing a wiki is pretty easy and if you have experience or knowledge in HTML, should come quite naturally. If not, you should probably recruit a member of your staff with HTML knowledge to guide you through the first couple of edits.
We should also mention that the moderators and editors of wikis take the editing process and content presented quite seriously. Be transparent, when setting up a profile state your affiliation with your company and do not self-promote your site, visitors guide or product.
You are simply there to help build a reputable database about your destination, not self-promote.
Once the article information about your destination has been reviewed by your organization, you can feel confident knowing that your destination is accurately represented in a variety of locations on and off the web.
Just one more way to control your online presence.