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Periscope is a Hit with Destination Marketers

Periscope is arguably the hottest new thing in social media circles today. This Twitter-owned app allows users to broadcast live video and audio feeds from virtually anywhere on a smartphone or tablet. Originally designed for iPhones, Periscope recently announced its compatibility with Android devices as well.

We’re using the app here at The Group Travel Leader Inc. We broadcast a couple of impromptu staff gatherings during the week of the Kentucky Derby, and I did two live broadcasts from Prague during a recent trip to Europe.

The most interactive aspect of Periscope is that viewers can text questions to the broadcast in real time. The best broadcasts I’ve seen had a meaningful dialogue between the broadcaster and the viewers. In that sense, it’s best to have a good understanding of what it is you are featuring, or you’ll be stumped by a question.

To get a feel for how the travel industry is using Periscope, we asked a couple of users from convention and visitor bureaus what they’ve learned so far.

“I don’t claim to know a lot about it, but the other day we did something that was pretty neat,” said Webster Franklin, president of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau. “When B.B. King’s funeral motorcade came through here on U.S. Highway 61, Lisa broadcast it live using Periscope. We had a fire truck out there with an American flag on it in tribute to B.B., and we got a nice following on that broadcast.”

“We had a lot of live viewers,” said Lisa Konupka, Tunica’s social media manager. “I think we had 45 or so live viewers and hundreds of hearts coming up.” Follower activity generates hearts that float up on the screen of the broadcast device to indicate engagement with viewers.

“It’s such a new tool that we’re still figuring out the best ways to use it,” said Jessica Carlton, marketing manager at the Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’re using it at live events like our Cigar Box Guitar Festival, and we’re getting a lot of questions from viewers about what kind of food trucks are there, who is playing, that sort of thing. Sometimes they just tell us they’re planning on coming.

“It’s the real-time aspect of it that I like so much. We’re connecting with people who are interested in Huntsville. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center has started doing broadcasts from their beer garden on it.

“When I watch a broadcast, I feel like it’s being done just for me,” said Carlton. “It feels so personal, even though that’s not the case. This is the most excited I’ve been about a new social media app in a long time.”

“It’s definitely my favorite new form of social media,” said Konupka. “I broadcast a live band for a few minutes, and I did some fireworks. I’m planning to use it for our Gateway to the Blues festival, for press conferences, slots tournaments and that kind of thing. I’ll probably broadcast a sunrise over the river or boats going by. It’s a wonderful new product for Tunica’s social media.”


Follow @GroupTravelPubs on Periscope and Twitter here.

Mac Lacy

Mac Lacy is president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. Mac has been traveling and writing professionally ever since a two-month backpacking trip through Europe upon his graduation with a journalism degree from the University of Evansville in 1978.