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How social media is changing the travel game

How do you market an experience? Marketing a country or a city is an interesting task and millions are spent in showing the world what a specific place has to offer. Not that long ago, if you wanted to go abroad, a travel agency would do the work for you. An expert would take you through a bunch of brochures with fantastically edited photos and, for a small fee, you’d be on your way to paradise asap. If you wanted a second opinion, you had the holiday photos of a friend and a few anecdotes heard at your last dinner party.

This seems like a million years ago. The travel industry has changed so much and in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track, and social media introduced a whole new platform to the mix. So, here’s where to focus your efforts:

User generated content

Travel is, in and of itself, an inspiring topic. As human beings, we want to stretch our imagination, to be excited and to have our horizons expanded. As a company, you should spark an interest in the imaginative aspect of human nature. But how can you make an impact on these audiences?

“You didn’t hear it from us – you heard it from people like you.”

Let your customers define the product. Word-of-mouth recommendations are an imperative factor in the decision making process. Create campaigns that give value back to the user, using competitions or giveaways, which can contribute and help collect images and testimonials from consumers that represent their experience of your product.

Momondo employed this technique when they partnered with GoPro. To enter the competition, the users would upload a colourful photo of their surroundings, post it on social media and tag Momondo. The prize? A GoPro camera. This created thousands of pieces of content and increased traffic to Momondo’s website exponentially.

Tourism Queensland went a step further with their ‘the best job in the world’ campaign back in 2008. The story was covered by TV anchors all around the world, hundreds of hours worth of film were sent into the marketing team, showing individuals from everywhere performing at their best in the competition to win. The campaign became viral and most importantly, it cemented Queensland’s image as a paradisiacal and unique destination.

Travel influencers

Social influencers have the talent to create fantastic visual content to promote your brand. Always remember that they will be honest about their experience with your product, however also be confident that it can stand up to the test. Start building relationships with popular travelers in the social space, and make sure their and your brand values are aligned for maximum benefit.

Collaborative thinking is valuable, so another smart thing to do is to tap the collective creativity of a large community. There are so many talented illustrators, designers, musicians and other creative-minded people among your fans. How about asking them to submit artistic interpretations of your brand, or pieces inspired by your brand? Your company benefits from the beautiful work that promotes you, while the artist benefits from recognition, exposure and new work for their portfolios. It’s a win-win situation.

Personalise the experience

Implementing direct bookings through social media without having to call or use online booking forms can improve the user experience by keeping everything in the same platform. This gives customers a simple, personalised booking option that makes you stand out from the crowd and also, through the social nature of the bookings, you’ll be more likely to create new social ambassadors.

Customer service

Your customers are eager to get quick answers on their favorite social media sites, sometimes on the go. While networking sites like Facebook and Instagram are excellent platforms for marketing, perhaps the most demanding platform in the domain of customer service is Twitter.

The transparent nature of Twitter conversations can affect your company in a positive or negative way. However, with well-timed, professional, and cheerful responses, companies may bring in great benefits and gain strong customer loyalty. Likes and retweets are excellent and positive ways to promote a positive image of a brand.

Looking for you new social media opportunity? Click here.

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