TAT extends digital footprint
BANGKOK, 14 September 2010 – Tourism Authority of Thailand has set itself a marketing target to tap social networking sales channels and grow user content on its websites, according to TAT governor, Suraphon Svetasreni, who launched the digital media initiative last week.
The TAT governor confirmed a target of 15.5 million visits in 2011, based on an estimate that tourism would recover by the end of this year with around 14 million visits.
To drive growth in 2011 through 2012, the agency is building its presence in digital media and social networking and even tempting fate with a forum that welcomes comments from traveller.
Top of the agenda is a complete remake of its main website www.tourismthailand.org by adding networking features to connect consumers to travel suppliers through a referral system.
In a break with its current content policy, TAT claims it will garner more “user generated content” by allowing travellers to post personal opinions, videos, photography and share their Thailand travel experiences.
However, it will require detailed monitoring and guidelines on approval to avoid abuse. It will also probably require TAT staff to undergo training on how to supervise posted content in various languages other than Thai and where to draw the line on critical comment.
TAT is already using social networks to promote tourism to Thailand claiming it has generated 85,865 Facebook entries and 14,000 twitters.
Customer and media relationships will also be upgraded through digital channels that will eventually allow a TAT team of experts to communicate and answer questions instantly through a forum.
Bloggers are another target with TAT inviting them to join sponsored trips in the hope it will put a positive spin on their blogs. TAT has used free media trips successfully in the past to influence traditional news media, with the exception of a few countries where it is illegal for news reporters to accept sponsored trips. By extending the scope to include online media and independent bloggers outside of traditional media channels, TAT believes it can gain positive reports for the country.