Fight back against mainstream news with your own news

by David Spark on July 24, 2009

This article is part of a road show presentation series I’m doing in Toronto for Intertainment Media, owners of Itibiti Systems. This post has been reprinted on the Intertainment Media blog.

Two young women drinking beer on beach, smilingEarlier this week I wrote an article for Mashable entitled “5 Ways Companies Used News Trends for Business Success.” The article tells five tales of businesses that capitalized on industry trends and cultural memes.

Yesterday, on day four of my Toronto social media road show, I spoke with the Canadian online travel agency, itravel2000, who actually had to fight back against the traditional news reports that were actually hurting their business.

In February, the general news media was reporting on the drug and gang wars going on in Mexico. To the casual observer, the problems seemed systemic across the entire country, and as a result people stopped booking travel to Mexico. It got so bad that  itravel2000’s Mexico travel which usually accounts for 40% of their business dropped to 14%, said Brad Miron, VP Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, for itravel2000.

In reality, said Miron, the violence was happening alongside the U.S./Mexico border, about 3600 km from any of itravel2000’s vacation destinations. So to combat the negative mainstream press about Mexico, itravel2000 sent camera crews to Mexico to report on what was really going on in the vacation destinations, and they posted 90 videos on a custom blog entitled, “What is really happening in”

In just two weeks, 50,000 people visited the blog, and their Mexico travel bookings returned to 40% of overall bookings.

Once again, itravel2000 is facing another Mexico news story that’s impacting their business – swine flu. Since they were so successful with their last blog, they’ll be launching another custom blog,  It’s time to go to (will be live July 29th) where video crews will follow a handful of families going to Mexico.

For more, watch my interview with Brad Miron of itravel2000.

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