Talktourism Moderation & Forum Development

Talktourism.ie has been a functioning discussion forum website for just over two years now and I do beleive that it is achiving the aims & objectives that it set out to achieve.  As I may have mentioned before the success of the site is down to those who regularly contribute to the site and of course those who regularly review the site for latest news & updates about what is going on in the industry.

Through our own efforts and that of bodies including Fáilte Ireland, Green Box and others there is a significantly higher level of online presence among Tourism SME’s over the last couple of years.  Its encouraging to see regularly updated websites and blogs which are providing useful information for tourists and locals alike.  Although significant gaps remain with Tourism SME’s whom are not willing to engage with the opportunities that are available on the internet. 

As the reccession bites even harder, the home holiday market is becoming more and more important! Potential domestic tourists will be seeking regularly updated information about special deals and things to do and this can be easily accessed via the internet.  The power lies in the hands (literally) of each and every Tourism SME to attract increasing numbers of tourists.

As Talktourism has developed and grown, we have attracted ever increasing numbers of spammers seeking opportunities to promote their pharmaceutical products and various other services that most of us don’t need.  Most of the time our moderators are quick to remove unwanted predators and ban them from the site (but, not always as were only human 🙂 ).

In addition to the spammers, are those whom are sometimes difficult to decifer whether they are genuine or not.  Usually they are promoting international tourism services which is not a crime, but are not genuinely interested in engaging with the forum and other forum users.  They are purely increasing their web presence through our forum. Depending on the content, we generally delete /ban them, but often give some an opportunity to engage with the forum and tell us what they are about.  Rarely have we seen anyone actually contribute to meangingful discussion on the forum from an international perspective. Although that does make me think of two notable exceptions being ‘NZBR’ from New Zealand and ‘MargaretinBavaria’ who have genuinely shared their experiences with Irish based members.  Everyone is a winner when meaningful discussions are ongoing, as everyone is gaining knowledge and the contributors are gaining increased web-prescence.

On Talktourism we have categoriesed these style of spammers simply as ‘Nonsense‘.  We do have a system for members to report other members for inappropriate use which can be accessed by clicking on the red triangle symbol with ‘!’ appearing in the top right of each topic posted on Talktourism. If you think someone is misappropriately using our site, please follow the links and inform us.

Overall the challenge remains to encourage further engagement from tourism enterprises.  We would be happy to address this challenge, but the only way that we can do this is with your feedback and ideas

Its good to talk and hope to hear more from you soon!

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Ebusiness Support Workshop

Talktourism has been busy today with an Advanced Ebusiness workshop for a number of more technology savvy tourism businesses from Cavan and Monaghan.  We have been collectively working on developing blogs, facebook profiles, loading videos and using other Web2.0 technology to drive more web-traffic and ultimately attract more tourists to visit Cavan and Monaghan.

There is a certain air of excitment in the room with the idea that we can really reach a wider tourism audience through the internet.  Their is such a vast gap between the airline industry whom are leading the way in utilising the internet and the smaller tourism businesses who are just getting to grips with the technology.

It is all quite simple, but the reality is that only 2 out of the 7 present at this workshop have broadband… Thats why we are working in an ICT suite with full broadband capability and all here are helping to promote each others web-addresses.  Check out my links for details on the all businesses who are present today and are committed to Web2.0. 

Oh! There is a related discussion ongoing on Talktourism which is also developing along this theme: http://talktourism.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=291

Talktourism – in the beginning

Talktourism? What is it? www.talktourism.ie is a discussion board web-site which was launched in April 2007 in county Cavan on a beautiful spring day.  Talktourism is Ireland’s only discussion board web-site which is dedicated to tourism businesses in Ireland and provides them with an opportunity to meet online and share experiences/knowledge.

 

I am the site developer / administrator and with some help from the Talktourism members, I also moderate the site.  I have been a tourism development officer working for Cavan Monaghan Rural Development for the last nine years and to be honest I really enjoy my work!  Not everyone can say that, But its TRUE!

 

Over the last four or five years I have been able to access funding through an organisation called Border Action to organise and develop various training initiatives to assist the development of the tourism sector in counties Cavan / Monaghan.  For those that haven’t heard, we are based in two border counties in the Republic of Ireland and as a result of our location on the border, these counties had suffered from many knock on problems resulting from the troubles in Northern Ireland. I have grown up through the seventies and the eighties and I do appreciate the peaceful environment that we all live in and may it long continue.

 

So with the funding in hand, we set about assisting the tourism sector develop in Cavan/Monaghan, but at every available opportunity we brought tourism providers together from across the border in Northern Ireland and other border counties to participate in numerous training events!  The more we brought people together from the various tourism sectors, the more they learned from each other and the more everyone appreciated that they ALL shared common problems and issues. 

 

Of course in the last four-five years, we have put a lot of effort in to increasing individual tourism businesses skills to become effective on the internet and to have ebusiness strategies in place to ensure that they are all attracting more and more tourists!  All of this was great, but I really wanted a way to harness the learning that was experienced at each training event, encourage the tourism providers to share their knowledge, communicate and perhaps even work together.  This provided me with the idea that a discussion board would help them to continually learning from each other and become more effective in web-based marketing. SO with the help of a number of key local tourism agencies the seed was sowed and www.talktourism.ie was born. 

 

So that’s some of the background! But where I am going to go next? Well, I think I will bring you to some of the places that I enjoy visiting in the border region, North and South.  The place that I work is based in a wonderful setting in an Agricultural College and I live only five minutes away from work… I always feel good about this when I hear the traffic reports on  the radio in the evening, with all those commuters stuck in rush our traffic in Dublin. J

 

I enjoy mountain biking and a couple of times a week after work, I go out cycling the quite country roads of the counties of Cavan, Fermanagh and Monaghan.  This the best way to finish a day, when most are still stuck in rush hour traffic!  I hope to bring you a video of a typical cycling clip, but in the meantime I have uploaded the view of a fisherman enjoying the peaceful evening on the lough, which is the view out the back of my house. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9jVbVpMmUY 

 

If you’re in the business of tourism, perhaps you could check out our www.talktourism.ie and tell us something about the place that you live… Its good to Talk!  Be back soon!