Yet another advocacy for engaging your tourism business into Web 2 (and social networks particularly for this post). Here are (yet another) interesting facts from the New Media Review published by the European Travel Commission.

“Worldwide growth among selected social networking sites, June 2008 (total worldwide audience, age 15+ – home and work locations:
  • TOTAL INTERNET/TOTAL AUDIENCE: 860,514,000 unique visitors (+11% compared to June 2007)
  • SOCIAL NETWORKING: 580,510,000 (+25%)
  • Facebook.com: 132,105,000 (+153%)
  • Myspace.com: 117,582,000 (+3%)
  • Hi5.com: 56,367,000 (+100%)
  • Friendster.com: 37,080,000 (+50%)
  • Orkut: 34,028,000 (+41%)
  • Bebo.com: 24,017,000 (+32%)
  • Skyrock Network: 21,041,000 (+19%)

As we can see, compared to total internet, growth of social network is bigger (11% against 23%). We do admit that Facebook mainly contributed to it. Although Facebook may seem a bit “entertaining” than business-oriented, some people get their way on using social networks (including facebook) for business, and interestingly, they do not rely only on Facebook’s ad machine. A few social network analysis/description that are worth noticing:

Why your company needs to be on facebook? by Charlene Li from Harvard publishing (I deliberately choose this article, not only because it’s from Harvard publication, but because it’s full of pragmatism). I definitely like this quote “..ignore these new communities only if you believe your customers are not there“… Are tourists in those social networks? My answer is YES (fr), definitely YES (fr). (Charlene Li is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. ). This article is about facebook, but there’s a lot of social networks for your tourism business around

– If you think Facebook is still for teen-agers, take a look at another social media (LinkedIn) that is conceived with business in mind, whether you are a professional who wants to publish your expertise (and people can search for it), or you are a company looking for partners. Worth a try for your tourism business that is looking for partners abroad.

In fact, as Charlene Li rightly pointed out, we are already socializing on our day-to-day business (remember collecting business cards, attending workshops, going for a cocktail, …?), Web 2 is just an extension of those activities on the internet finally.