Ann Peavey is the Senior Manager of Visitor and Concierge Services for Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
To what lengths do you go to maintain a firm eagle eye on all of the happenings in Seattle?
The hospitality world in Seattle is huge – as is the need to keep on top of everything here. From local hotel packages, to wine dinners throughout town, to what’s playing at local theatres and tucked-away spots, it’s critical for me, along with our entire Visit Seattle hospitality, to know what’s happening in and around our city. Our Cultural Tourism Director works with a collective of local arts organizations in the area to send out a monthly electronic ‘Hot Sheet’ to the concierge community highlighting the major events of the month, and those upcoming within the year. This is just one of the tools I use to help find events to share with followers. I love to dine out and thoroughly enjoy exploring the city in my free time – both of which help me in picking up tips and information along the way. Twitter-stream searches are always a rich source of information (with fact-checking, of course), and a great way to share other’s experiences on what’s available to see and do here. And of course, along with always having my ear to the ground, I’m a master of Google!
In what ways did Twitter transform the nature of your job?
I wouldn’t necessarily say that Twitter transformed my job, but instead has enhanced it. Twitter is a great vehicle for our @VisitSeattle message, but has also been an essential tie-in to our local audience. Through Twitter contacts, we have become more visible within the local community, and we find more locals are becoming our tourism ambassadors in spreading our message further. Twitter allows us to tap into a segment of our leisure travel audience that isn’t necessarily interested in having guides or maps sent out to them. Through extensive scanning of search streams on Twitter, we can find these travelers and begin assisting them while still in the infancy of their travel planning.
When assisting visitors to Seattle, what type of information do you find yourself having to provide most often?
Along with local events and attractions, many followers are asking for more specific information on “hidden gems” around the area. My @SeattleMaven account has been a great way to showcase what it’s like to live, work and play in the city. This can be a fun way to pique the interest of someone looking for a slightly different spin than the norm. I see that the savvy Twitter follower connecting with the local tweeps can more easily find the insider’s perspective that they’re after.
How often do you find yourself learning new things about the city yourself?
Most of what I learn that’s new I bump into without intention. When I first found the little tugboat plying the waters of Lake Union giving tours of the lake with root beer floats, it was by happenstance as I was riding my bike around the lake. Likewise, walking my dogs through different city streets always ends up bringing a trove of information. With that said, I’m on a plethora of email lists and always seem to have an early in to many new restaurants and attractions coming to the city.
What’s on the horizon for the Convention and Visitors Bureau?
We began our official tourism channel on Twitter just a few short months ago: @VisitSeattle! Now keeping lower-key with my @SeattleMaven persona, I’m leading our SCVB team of tweeters in bringing multiple voices (i.e. multiple tweeters) to our channel. Although @SeattleMaven will always be around, we recognize the need to heighten awareness of our Visit Seattle brand, as well as reap the rewards that comes with having a more well-rounded posse to sing our tourism message.