One undeniable truth is that social media creates a great impact on our lives as well as outlook.
The impact of social media is not limited only to our personal lives but also to the professional and business front. Over the years, it has presented a significant opportunity for the marketing of tourism.
Tourism marketing and social media are even the best companions that are meant to be together.
You must be thinking why?
For beginners, the most shared topic on social media is travel, which involves three major platforms – Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
People love to share new travel experiences with others. Also, they love sharing about their upcoming travel ideas and reminiscing once they return back.
But can travel marketing and social media together be a powerful and influential tool?
This is exactly we will be talking about in this post. So, stay tuned and we will help you become from a travel freak to a travel marketer.
So, let’s start!
What Makes Social Media a Highly Effective Tool?
No matter how many advanced and new technologies are available, the most reliable way of marketing is word of mouth.
It is because most of the people prefer buying from brands, which they trust.
Lots of individuals online easily overlook an ad. However, a review or recommendation from peers on social media can influence always catches their attention and can influence their decision. It easily makes them think about how they could trace their friend’s footsteps and enjoy the same rich experience.
Moreover, people these days have very less trust in ads. Social media lets them bypass that feeling and allow them to jump right to the point for trusted adventure, relaxation, rest, or excitement.
Tourism marketing along with social media does not seem like advertising or promotion. Rather it enables people to share the written statements about the amazing and exclusive qualities of their brands. When people share pictures, videos of experiences, it gathers imaginations and interest of their networks, which is not the case in any advertisement.
Ways Tourism Marketing is Influenced by Social Media
Before we delve into the details of how tourism marketing and social media can be combined to create a promising strategy, first let us brief you the way social media has impact tourism marketing.
1. Recommendations from Facebook:
This is not related solely to Facebook, the feature of Facebook recommendations let users ask advice and expert suggestions from their friends or peers. With the help of it, users can gather feedback from the network on everything ranging from travel gear to hotel to the destinations.
It is highly appealing to remain on the Facebook platform than sourcing different websites for fetching the information. For this reason, a large number of people seek support on Facebook through peer suggestions and then use secondary sources for filling information gaps.
2. Travel Research:
Over the years, travelers have now adopted a new way to research for their trip. They do not just plan online they even look out to social platforms to ask forums or questions. Might be you don’t consider TripAdvisor as a social media network. However, it is one of them. In fact, this website receives around 390 million visitors in a year.
This clearly indicates that the number of people is turning to conventional social networks and heading towards modern solutions when planning their adventure or trip.
It is not easy to document travel with high-quality images and smartphones. Travel videos and photos are the most liked and shared forms of content online. And the best platforms to share such content are on social networks.
3. Social Sharing for Discovering Destination:
Moreover, innumerable travelers are turning to social media to seeking support to plan their trips. However, social media is a giant source of inspiration for travelers having no information about a destination.
A lot of people want to go out on a vacation for a week. But they don’t know the destinations to visit, where to stay, and things to do.
Social platforms work as great sources to fetch all such details and that too from real-time travelers.
4. A Rich Platform for Customer Service:
One highly important but least discussed thing where social media has transformed tourism marketing is that it offers them the ability to deliver premium customer service. With the help of social media platforms, brands can fill comments, questions, and answer queries related to a single place. At the same time, they can showcase their services and professionalism.
Brands can use social platforms to direct potential customers to their Facebook page. This gives them an opportunity to instantly connect with the potential seekers through messenger or comments.
Another prominent benefit is that it allows brands to handle issues in an open and develop a strong reputation for professionalism and quality service with both potential and existing customers.
Whenever people reach out to a brand on a social platform, more than 50% of them reply, which is definitely a good number.
5. Travel Bookings:
As per a post from Entrepreneur, travel companies are still accountable for more than 50% of airline bookings, booking travel packages and even cruise bookings. But with the comfort offered by online bookings, they have now shifted to an online model, which greatly benefits from the synchronization of tourism marketing and social media.
To stay relevant, it is vital for online agencies to use social media to exhibit their potentials to offer their customers with rich experiences, which may otherwise be difficult without professional assistance.
With millennial taking most of the travel population, it is vital to work and meet their unique requirements as a top priority. At present, millennial still continue to illustrate a boost for experiences over materialistic things.
Rather than just hosting the guests in relevant accommodations, the booking service has presently added experiences to the list of services offered. Even, travelers can easily hire local services to see unique locations, enjoy exclusive activities, and eventually make their visit a great destination.
The original dealers of experiences are travel agencies. So by reinventing the various kinds of activities, which they can arrange for customers helps them to maintain the relevancy of their business.
Most importantly, they can help people to let enjoy doing things that they prefer and always stay in demand.
6. Sharing Programs:
Finally, social media offer sharing programs, which is highly beneficial for travel marketing. Not only have travel agencies known that positive customer reviews are highly important. Even travelers understand the same and know that every word said by them can make a huge difference.
Even, most of the travelers today already expect to gain some kind of benefit or compensation in exchange for their share or review on social media. Presently, people are familiar with such steps of hashtagging, posting, and verifying the share with an attractive staff or hotel in order to redeem the rewards.
Such things did not exist earlier. But presently, the brand can miss out things if you are not taking benefit of willingness and likeliness of people to share with their network.
Ways to Gain Most Benefits of Tourism Marketing and Social Media:
Now, we have discussed why tourism marketing and social media work so well together. Let us not look at ways social media can be used in order to enhance your profits and brand awareness.
1. Look Out for Shares:
First, let us start with sharing programs. You are likely to have clients sharing about your brand, especially if you actively practice sharing.
So, what benefits it can bring to you?
Benefits can be in the form of free breakfast, or free drink, or tickets at affordable prices, or complimentary shuttle service to the airport.
Further, how can you earn word out?
The important thing to consider is that you avail extra shares only if you ask for them. It is no use to implement an incentive program if the customers are not aware of it.
For instance, in the above-mentioned example, you may post signs at tables in a restaurant, or at the front desk, in a guest room, or on the bar, and more.
Moreover, you may wish to email novel guests through the email they utilized to book the room after the day they check-in.
It is best to think twice while posting a social sharing reward program on the social media account. It is because this may keep potential customers away who still have to experience offerings you offer to customers. You definitely don’t have to appear as if you are purchasing the reviews in order to influence customer’s decisions to patronize the brand.
The aim of a sharing program is to let more people share honest social posts and reviews about their experience with the brand so that it is possible to increase brand awareness and overall exposure.
Avoid creating a sharing program where the clients have to provide at least a 5-star review in order to win incentives. Rather, encourage them to post interesting videos or photos, which are related to your industry or brand along with an appealing hashtag.
Most importantly, your customers must tag you in the post so their networks get exposed to the business.
2. Be Prepared for Any Kind of Discouraging or Negative Feedback:
Another finest way to stay ahead in competition is to be prepared for something you never expected, which is a negative review.
There is no business till date which has never had any annoyed or dissatisfied customer. There are always customers who experience problems or simply find out reasons to complain.
Rather than allowing them to continue doing so, it is best to respond them back in the best possible manner. Your brand must be prepared for handling such issues. If you are not prepared in advance, you may go a long way. Hence, make sure your team is trained in the following aspect.
But what you must do if customers contact you directly?
Luckily, you can do something even in this situation.
Social listening is an active tracking of social channels to mention your brand name. It is an excellent way to gather those who have not reached with a formal complaint or request but have publicized your brand in a negative manner.
If possible, respond to them with a solution that clearly answers their problem. This way, you can recover from a negative situation fast and easily. Also, show their brand network and make them believe that they offer the ultimate user experience.
3. Entice Visitors Even Before They Visit You:
One powerful technique to use variations of social listening is to identify travelers who are planning an adventure to the town or city.
You may search for hashtags, which are linked to the location. This helps you find individuals who are still planning their trip.
Additionally, you may create content to support tourism marketing and social media. This is an excellent way to offer visitors inside details of your town, city, or place. The content can also be created as an itinerary planner to help visitors plan a successful trip.
Tools for an Effective Social Tourism Media Marketing:
When it comes to tourism marketing and social media, you can always use some tools which will make your task a little simpler.
With the help of this tool, you can understand about topics trending on numerous social networks. If there is a specific kind of content highly popular or receives more likes and shares, you must try creating that kind of content for your blog post, Instagram photo, Snapchat or YouTube video.
This is a powerful tool that helps optimizing social listening activities. It helps to monitor numerous social networks, saving the issues of sifting through each channel on a regular basis.
This is another powerful and important social media marketing tool, which works as an all-in-one marketing platform. It comes with a range of features and let you make the most of every social marketing action.
To Sum Up:
Tourism and social media marketing is the perfect match. But just like other things you can reap benefits only if you maintain consistency. Remember, social media is going to be a larger part of society, hence use it in the best way to market your travel experiences or business.