4 tourism companies who’ve seen social media success

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 03 Nov 2014 by Eleanor
Other | Social Media

Social Media presents a huge opportunity for hotels, restaurants, flight companies and other organisations in the tourism industry to engage and market their services to potential customers. Many more holiday makers seem to be researching their holidays through sites such as TripAdvisor and social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. The social networks each offer unique ways of marketing to potential customers. Here are 4 companies in the tourism sector who’ve utilised the power of social media to create distinctive online marketing campaigns.

Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand and Peter Jackson, director of the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies, have a very close relationship, so much so that they often collaborate to bring Middle Earth inside the aircraft. On the 22nd October 2014, Air New Zealand launched another Hobbit themed video, ‘The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made’.

Shot in New Zealand, the video doubles up as a not-so-subtle plug for the third and final film, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” set for worldwide release in December 2014. The 4 and half minute film features ‘Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ actors Elijah Wood, Sylvester McCoy and Dean O’Gorman, Japanese baseball star Naoyuki Shimizu, Sir Richard Taylor, founder of New Zealand film prop and special effects company Weta Workshop and of course, Peter Jackson himself. The film so far has been shared over 12,000 times on Facebook, has had 636 ReTweets on Twitter and has so far racked up over 9 and half million views on YouTube. Some very clever marketing from the Middle Earth elves!

Airbnb exampleAirbnb

In June 2013, Airbnb put out a call on their various social media channels for their followers to get involved in making the very first short film to be directed via Twitter and shot entirely on Vine. The videos, shot by users around the world, centered on the storyline of the transformative journey of a single piece of paper.

Submissions came in from all over the world, including San Francisco, Hong Kong and Kuwait. The final result, released in October 2013, included over 100 submissions that their community had sent. The campaign was released worldwide on television and online, spreading the Airbnb brand mission: travel, adventure and find your place in the world.

Residence Inn by Marriott

In November 2013, Residence Inn by Marriott partnered with Mombian.com and the Family Equality Council to host a travel-focused Twitter chat for families in the LGBT community, focusing on travel resources, tips and inspiration stories. Diane Mayer, VP and global brand manager at Residence Inn stated;

“Residence Inn is committed to finding new ways to support families and enhance their overall travel experience…This opportunity will provide access to expert resources, and prompt dialogue in the LGBT community, which is important as we continue to engage with and welcome our guests.”

The evening was a huge success focusing on challenging subjects such as the legal and practical aspects of traveling interstate and internationally and extended stays out-of-state or internationally during an adoption process. The brand won a Social Media In Travel and Tourism (SMITTY) award in 2014 for the chat and their commitment to equality.


Expedia took a cheeky marketing route last year. The ‘travel your tweet interesting’ campaign wanted to do away with boring tweets about the weather, so they decided to transport these dull tweets to somewhere much more exotic, showing how you can transform the mundane into the marvelous through traveling. Expedia kick started the campaign by using ‘The Only Way Is Essex star’, Jessica Wright’s tweet: “Can’t wait for tonight with the girls but hope this rain clears up! Birthday girl tomorrow”.

The message was then turned into a song by The Naked Cowboy in New York, filmed, uploaded onto YouTube and tweeted back.

 Expedia’s campaign, linked with their newly released app, aimed to inspire more people to seize the moment and start travelling at the tap of an app. Mundane to marvelous, indeed!

Have you had success with social media marketing in tourism? Any campaigns you think should be on this list? Tweet us at @SocialBUK and join in the chat.

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