The Internet has made the world a smaller place, and perhaps no category has felt that impact as much as the travel industry. Some 83% of people who travel are Web savvy compared with 71% of the general public, and by 2010, about nine in 10 travelers will conduct their search and trip planning via the Internet, per Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass.
Web sites where consumers can read travel journals and reviews of hotels, cruise ships and attractions written by fellow travelers are rapidly gaining popularity. Among them are TripAdvisor.com, IGoUGo.com and TripPost.com.
One of the challenges now facing destination marketers is finding the best ways to mine these online consumer referrals.
"Ad speak and market speak are dead," said Dale Brill, CMO at Visit Florida, the Sunshine State's official tourism unit. "Consumers don't want to hear ad copy. They want to hear first-person from people who are out there."
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