Food and restaurants are the focus of The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation’s (GPTMC) 2011 campaign.
The tourism body is using Foodspotting, a website and app that allow users (and lovers of food) to share the foods they enjoy online and help others find them.
To promote local restaurants, wineries, and hotels to more than 800,000 Foodspotting users, Visit Philly is a featured destination on the web and mobile platforms.
“GPTMC’s tourism marketing combines … innovative uses of the web and mobile because we need to reach travelers where they are – which is increasingly online,” says Caroline Bean, social media manager for GPTMC.
“We connect with travelers in their trip planning modes and while they are on the go, using the various social media tools available. The partnership with Foodspotting is intended to connect travelers more closely with Philadelphia and its dining scene.”
GPTMC is holding a contest, awarding prizes, and offering guides to specific cuisines as further enticements to use the service.
The guides are location-based lists of recommended dishes and drinks that are mapped and accessible via mobile technology.
Users on Foodspotting can access them to eat their way, via their preferred cuisines, around the region of Philadelphia and the four neighboring counties. Once followers have “spotted” the items in the guide, they receive a customized Visit Philly badge for their Foodspotting profile.
With the guides, Bean says, “We’re trying to show the spirit of Philadelphia’s dining and we’re trying to show the breadth of Philadelphia’s dining options. This is a good way of shining a light on our dining scene.”
The 12 guides include:
- Famous Philly Flavors
- Tastykake-inspired Dishes
- Beer Lovers’ Breweries
- Philly Te Ama, related to food and drink at Latin-inspired eateries
- Philly Homegrown, featuring local eats and supporting Philadelphia’s food producers
Eight more guides will roll out this summer.
The contest will award one grand prize and 10 first prizes to Foodspotters who participate in Visit Philly’s “With Love Foodspotting Contest” in May.
The randomly-selected grand-prize winner must complete the “Famous Philly Flavors” guide between May 11 and May 25 and will win an overnight stay at a luxury Philadelphia hotel, a City Food Tours’ Flavors of Philly excursion for two, and a $100 Garces Restaurant Group gift card. Ten randomly selected first-prize winners will each win a Flavors of Philly tour by City Food Tours.
GPTMC is no stranger to technology. It has four Facebook pages (each for a different audience), four Twitter pages, and a Foursquare account. These sites alone garner close to 90,000 followers. “They are great places to promote,” Bean says. “We’re dropping pebbles into a pool and our fans are sending out ripples.”
The tourism organization also launched a blog in 2007 and in 2006 ran a podcast program on its website.
“We have a long history using social media and technology,” Bean says. “Foodspotting seems like the next natural step for us because food is one of our strengths and it helps visitors eat their way through the region.”
By Amanda Baltazar