Time to tweet?

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

Print media is the past and present and digital media is the present and future. That was the message that emerged from Whose Voice Is It Anyway – a CIMTIG seminar that took place at The Cumberland Hotel in London’s Marble Arch, last week.

The stats support this. In June, 103,036 people had signed up to the Sunday Times’ pay wall. By August, that figure has risen to in excess of 111,000. By contrast the number of people who purchased the print edition of The Sunday Times dropped from 1,000, 848 in June to 984,223 in September.

The panel (Carla Buzasi, editor in chief at The Huffington Post, Robin Grant, managing director, We Are Social, Steve Keenan, online travel editor, The Sunday Times, Allan Lambert, Head of Retail Sales, Bourne Leisure Ltd and Paul Steele, arguably the most influential UK travel blogger) were split as to whether this is a positive or negative change. Those  in the pro print camp argued that traditional media employs professionals whose content – and its accuracy – we can all depend on.

The digaholics responded by pointing out that the best bloggers step outside the box and communicate with consumers, who increasingly want life experiences. Today’s generation, they argued, is time poor and would therefore prefer to read a blog than a book.

Regardless of whether you believe that Twitter has stolen the Beeb’s thunder or not, no one can deny that as consumers, social media can improve our travel experience. For example tweeting a question, concern or complaint to an air carrier can save you both time (the airline can respond in real time) and money (it’s not only quicker than a phone call, but cheaper too).

I went along to Whose Voice Is It Anyway? under the suspicion that social media is a passing phase. Last week’s seminar didn’t so much shatter, as smash this illusion. Pages, like books, won’t ever completely disappear but it’s clear that the media agenda has shifted dramatically and social media is now a must for industry insiders and consumers alike. And as the old adage goes: “Change is a visitor who knocks on the door and the wise are those who lay out the welcome mat.”



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