Why an online community?

That’s a good and perfectly natural question to ask.
Why build a new online community in a time when they seem to be around every corner and under every stone?
Personally I could just answer; because it’s fun! It’s the best thing since sliced bread.
But of course like anything else worth doing there are good reasons behind it.

Here’s our marketing communications director, Maria Ziv, explaining how it all began:


Maria Ziv talks about how the idea of an online community was born. The idea to create a community for people interested in Sweden as a destination was initially born more out of necessity than out of desire.

VisitSweden needed to solve the intricate problem of how to communicate with a large amount of people on a very limited budget. The situation did not become easier by the multifaceted and fluid product that a tourist destination like Sweden represents.

When marketing Sweden there are always vast amounts of beautiful things to share with your audience and a multitude of activities to present. In addition, the information is not static – it changes with every season.

When I sat down to formulate the strategy for the website as a whole I spent a lot of time looking at the information needs of our target audience as well as trends in the on-line community. Our target audience places a high emphasis on up to date and trust worthy information. It is also clear that information coming from their peers – people like themselves – is the information they trust.

Seeing that user generated content and social media is the most protruding trend in the on-line community at the moment, it seemed natural to fuse it with the needs of our target audience.

I couldn’t agree more. We’re hoping to create a place where potential visitors to Sweden can talk to swedes and others who have already visited Sweden. In this meeting of peers the decision process of going to Sweden will hopefully become easier and more fun!
But more of this and much more in future posts :)


10 Responses to “Why an online community?”

  1. 1 Peter Lindberg

    I’m curious, what do you see as the incentive for Swedes and prior visitors to Sweden to talk to potential visitors? And why would this discussion take place at the Visit Sweden website and not at a larger travel community/website?

  2. 2 tomas

    what do you know about communities? hahaah

  3. 3 Jonathan Moody

    Hello Maria and Tommy
    My colleague Angelica Gabrielsson discovered your interesting work in developing an online community for visitors to Sweden.
    In response to the comment from Peter Lindberg, I have to say that I partly agree with him – there are myriad forums, blogs and other social media where travellers already share their travel experiences of Sweden and ask each other questions. However, I completely understand VisitSweden wanting to create a specific forum in order to promote the country, understand and engage with past, present and potential visitors.

    In order to do this more effectively, I would suggest you check out our website to see how we work with travel (and other) sector clients to help them understand and engage with visitors. As our client Margalida Picornell, Assistant Director of Balearic Islands Tourism Research points out: “ASOMO helps a destination adapt quickly to new needs and to new challenges.”

    Please contact either Angelica (in Swedish, if you or me (in English: if you would like more information.

  4. 4 Tommy Sollén

    Peter: Those are very good questions.
    We have a good visitor base on our website and through a survey we found out that a majority of them would be interested in an online community from us. The popularity of online communities shows that visitors value the opinions of other visitors the most. So we feel we’re on the right track here.

    Swedes seem to love their country the most when talking to foreigners and we hope this pride will also translate to the online community :)

    Larger travel communities will always exist and they have their role to play. Although there will be some overlapping areas where we compete regarding Sweden as a travel destination we will be less commercial and more focused on the user experience.
    We also believe that the official backing of VisitSweden will provide a greater trust and sense of credibility.

  5. 5 Sue

    Hello. I’m from Brazil and I’d like to have friends to comunicate, to talk about culture, way of living and ecology and envyronement protection. Cheers, Suely

  6. 6 Sue

    Hello everybody… where are people of community? I’ve been on Sweeden on september 97.. Since then I had no opportunity to visit Sweeden at all. I’ve been in Goteborg, just passing on to cross the channel once. But I’ve been in Stockolm and Uppsalla and Dallarna with a friend of Sweeden. I hope hear about you…. my e-mail is

  7. 7 Marcos Cerutti

    Hi there.
    Guys, seems a really inovative way to promote our homeland.. ok, Im not a swede hehe but well, deep in my heart ;-)p.s Im brazilian
    Seems it will be pretty preciousto show ppl a new view about sweden. I mean, many ppl that never been to the country will have the oportunity to meet ppl from sweden, and plp that visit or just love sweden and with this, getting more into the country’s culture and all other related things we can found on this comunity.
    Im absurdly glad about this, Im a guy in love with Sweden and I bet this new “tool” will be nice to help to promote this lovely and warmy country. I can tell, Sweden kick asses!!!

    I would be able to help you guys in all ways as possible. anything, anytime, let me participate, will be a honour help this project :-)

    heja Sverige
    Marcos Cerutti

  8. 8 Awais Jadoon

    Well this is a very good step in promoting thy country!
    I really like the way these people working like a good team.
    Well keep it up,there is alot more to make this site a selected charming site of the Europe.

  9. 9 Tommy Sollén

    It’s great to hear such positive feedback! You just made our week :)

  1. 1 Webbrådgivare Fredrik Wackå