Seattle Has Klout

Seattle Has Klout.

It is a question that everyone within destination marketing is struggling with.

How does a DMO identify, find and invite the right influencer when anyone connected to Twitter, Foursquare or Tumblr is, in essence, a mini-travel guide?

For the Seattle CVB the answer arrives this week in the form of a new Klout-based campaign.

According to Ali Daniels, the Seattle CVB’s Director of Marketing, the campaign is built around the idea of influence.

“Seattle is looking at the future of the hospitality industry and new ways to stimulate travel to our city. As the leader in identifying social media influencers, Klout provides a unique way for Seattle to interact in a non-traditional sense with highly influential visitors.”

The idea is wonderfully simple, but deceptively complex.

Using the widely admired and equally criticized social influence scoring system, otherwise known as Klout, the Seattle CVB offered 30 social influencers the opportunity to visit the Emerald City if their Klout score was high enough.  In this case, above 55 (out of 100).

Why 55?  In speaking with Associate Creative Director at Copacino+Fujikado, Mike Hayward, the required Klout score was selected upon recommendations from Klout and the need to find influencers within specific topic areas such as dining, culture and the arts.

For these socially savvy 30, the free trip to Seattle…officially the most valuable Klout perk ever offered…is not a forced exchange of influence for access.  In fact, aside from a welcome basket, the Seattle CVB has no contact with the visitors.

No welcoming party at the airport.  No pre-scheduled tours.  No fancy dinners.

Just the visitor and the city.

Which is where the campaign gets really interesting.  As these social invitees begin exploring the city later this this week, they will (in theory), tweet, photograph and post the entire journey through a variety of social sites.

And rather than just have that content escape into endless timeline of the internet, it will be captured and presented to other potential visitors via

Brilliant…and according to Klout, it is the first time a brand has re-purposed perk-driven social content.

Say what you will about Klout, but this campaign has the potential to be groundbreaking.

Here we have a CVB actively using social influence scoring to transparently find and invite ambassadors to visit their city, no strings attached, for the purpose of developing and curating the resulting content, which will then attract friends, followers and other consumers.

The keyword here is curation.

An idea that we have spoken about previously.

A concept that places the CVB back into the role of expert aggregator, rather than sole content creator.

The destination itself does not have to be social, just the visitors.

Especially if they have clout.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.