James was the winner of the GNTO’s TravelMeister competition, which launched in November 2011 on Facebook. He was equipped with an iPad, and a travel itinerary that took him and his friend, Matthew Munn, to seven towns and cities in Germany in March, where his mission was to post a daily account of his trip on Facebook.
James & Matthew started in Düsseldorf, where they spent a day exploring before heading to the nearby town of Bottrop – home to one of the biggest indoor ski resorts in Germany. The trip then took them north to Münster, Bremen, Hamburg and Potsdam, exploring an exciting variety of places, contemporary and classical, before flying back to the UK from Berlin.
Klaus Lohmann, Director, German National Tourist office UK and Ireland, said:
Through James’ exclusive use of social media, his TravelMeister trip has created a unique perspective of Germany today, as a place for exploration and new experiences; this is James’ own highly personalised view which anyone can now share, thanks to social networking.
Now the GNTO has used Storify to gather all James’ posts, photos and videos in one place, for visitors to browse.
The trip was unbelievable and gave me real insight into what Germany has to offer. It is a fantastic country and each town and city was attractive in their own different ways. It is definitely a country I would recommend for any avid young traveller!
Tourist offices and travel companies have always used competitions to promote their destinations and product, but in the past these have simply been holiday prizes for consumers. There was never any requirement that the winner should become engaged in promoting the prize, only that they should enjoy it. The marketing benefit was all bound up in the hype over the competition itself and the description of the prize. It ended the moment somebody won it.
More recently, with the advent of social media, ‘everyone is a publisher’, so consumers are now treated as press outlets.
Does this kind of activity blur the lines between professional and amateur travel writers? And if it does, is that a good thing?