Starting August 1, the global spotlight turns to Colorado’s Wine Country as the Western Slope’s wine regions are featured on the collaborative web site and travel guide, Wikitravel. This Internet attention is due in part to the efforts of the Wine Country Inn of Palisade, Colorado, which donated nearly 200 hours to promote the area. (The article is already live and can be read at http://Wikitravel.org/en/Colorado%27s_Wine_Country).
Described as one of the 5,000 most popular places on the Internet by ranking firm Alexa, Wikitravel is an open source web site where anyone can participate and add travel information about any destination around the globe. (Web analytics firm quantcast estimates that an average of 692,000 visitors in the U.S. alone visit Wikitravel each month). Wikitravel is a totally unrelated business to Wikipedia and should not be confused with its larger Internet cousin. Wikitravel is built by volunteers from around the globe and funds itself in part though search engine-based Google advertisements.
Wine Country Inn Co-Owner Greg Tally says that early on, the Wikitravel community recognized the uniqueness of the area and collectively nominated to place “Colorado’s Wine Country” on its main page under the “Off the Beaten Path” section.
Following the nomination, the Wikitravel community gave many hours of constructive criticism, feedback and editing to make the article meet their exacting standards. (http://wikitravel.org/en/Wikitravel:Destination_of_the_Month_candidates#Colorado.27s_Wine_Country). This premiere exposure for the Grand Valley and West Elks areas will last for the month of August 2009.
Getting Colorado’s Wine Country featured on the main page was not an easy or automatic process.
“We pretty much spent most of January 2009 building out these profiles to greater showcase the entire region,” says Tally. “While the hotel is in no way affiliated with Wikitravel, we participated in this online community because this web site is such a terrific source of travel information. We also wanted to give back to the Western Slope using 21st Century tools.”
As an added bonus, a Wikitravel senior administrator chose to add a picture of the vineyards in Palisade to the main article for the United States of America in the “Drink” section (http://wikitravel.org/en/United_States_Of_America#Drink), which in part discusses domestic wines.
“Anytime someone wants to learn about or visit the U.S., there’s Palisade, front and center,” Tally says.
He describes the Wikitravel process as being an international effort: “We had many people from around the world coming together to make this article about Colorado’s Wine Country happen. Amongst the collaborators were a senior admin from Singapore, a man from Denmark and an American expatriate living in Japan.”
Tally also emphasizes that these articles are an opportunity for the local business community to participate: “The beauty of this wiki web site is any local business or civic booster can add business or attraction listings for free, so long as they are travel or hospitality related.”
Tally points out that these travel guides belong to everyone.
“These travel articles are living documents that can be corrected and enhanced,” he says. “All I did is create a starting point so that people on the Western Slope of Colorado can help promote the area through this web site. These profiles are not perfect. If something is out-of-date, incorrect or missing, anyone can contribute so long as they honor Wikitravel’s terms-of-use and manual-of-style and play by the community rules.”
Tally cautions that if an area contributor does not read the Wikitravel rules first, most likely their contributions will be removed by a Wikitravel administrator.
“Wiki communities are self-policing and self-correcting, so it’s best to read up before wading in uninformed,” he says.
“We definitely need more contributions from locals,” he says. “Places like Fruita, the Colorado National Monument and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are incomplete. This is where people can help.”
On the Wine Country article, Tally worked with Leif Johnson, Director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, to add a winery map of the Grand Valley area, while public domain images from the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board were also utilized.
PLEASE NOTE: The views and content of this press release are the sole responsibility of The Wine Country Inn and in no way reflect the views of Wikitravel or its parent company, Internet Brands, Inc.