Saturday, December 27, 2008
The Cushings Go Out West
Gene asks me at least once a week if I have started planning the summer trip yet. I blogged about this trip back in July. Wow, where did the rest of the year go? Since this is the summer before Taryn's senior year in high school (when the only thing on our minds will be college planning), he wants to take her out west to see all the famous American sites before she is "gone." Our family has traveled to every state up and down the eastern seaboard, from Maine to New York to Vermont to the Carolinas and, of course, our home state of Florida. But westward we have not conquered as a family beyond one trip to Lake Tahoe nearly 10 years ago.
The most pressing issue (now that a tentative itinerary has been established) is the accommodations. Gene wants me to write letters to all the hotel chains and tell them about our trip, and ask them to give us a cross country "discount." Not a bad idea actually. So I started thinking... in my line of work, tourism organizations are beginning to step up to the online plate. For my own clients, we are strategizing and implementing online travel blogs, trip tiks, personal vacation stories, photo uploading, video journals, and social media like facebook and twitter. In today's competitive travel market, destinations, hoteliers, and travel partners must tell a more personal story to potential travelers - one people can connect with. Social marketing is a key component. Why not be my own example?
Here's my idea - the Cushings create a "real family" story, traveling all over western America and blogging, shooting, and videoing our trip... all for a single hotel chain to use for their marketing purposes. We have great demographics - early to mid forties, married 20 years, teenage college bound daughter, one parent a police officer, one parent a small business owner, we even have a small dog who is coming along. And, we all LOVE to travel together. Brilliant, I say. Any takers out there? Marriott? Best Western? Holiday Inn? Anyone? Anyone?