I was thinking about the state of Idaho’s travel industry and trends in travel, namely social media and location-based technologies, and I realized the two topics create an interesting paradigm.
The Idaho Statesman and Idaho Business Review recently reported that Idaho’s $3 billion travel industry is on the rebound, with some outfitters reporting they are expecting a 40 percent increase in their 2010 bookings, based on the busy past six months.
Idaho Division of Tourism director Karen Ballard reports that revenues from the state’s 2 percent tax on hotel, motel, and private campground lodging was up statewide in May and June.
I’m confident this growing trend will continue into the fall. Why? Because people still want to go on vacation, and I think that more than ever, people want to GET AWAY. And here’s where the interesting paradigm comes in.
In this industry, we constantly read about social media and location-based marketing platforms like Gowalla and Foursquare, new iPhone apps, and even Groupon and Living Social. These platforms are our constant topics of conversation regarding the industry. Opportunities to engage…interactive marketing…chances to listen…added value…ETC.
Moreover, I love USING these platforms. They’re fun. You get sweet deals. You’re in with the cool kids (everyone’s doing it).
But you can’t check-in to Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. Nor should you try and update your profile while casting a fly in the south fork of the Salmon.
So while social media and location-based technologies are a big “trend” in travel and marketing, are we missing a developing trend that’s seeing travelers seeking distance from their social media profiles, cell phones, and even cell services for that matter?
The nerd in me will always love, study and consume new social media and technology platforms like Twitter, Foursquare and Gowalla. But the ideal purist in me who believes that one only needs a garden in the backyard, fresh water nearby, roof over their head, and love in their life, sort of hopes that people are using their vacation time to escape to parts of the world that remain raw, pure, entirely natural and full of adventure. Idaho’s vast outdoors certainly fit that bill. Keep an eye on us to see if the trend to truly get away is emerging right here in the Gem State.