Travellers are going online to get reviews about hotels, destinations, travel deals and many other aspects before they take a travel decision. Sites like TripAdvisor are getting hugely popular for people to talk about anything related to travel and tourism.
The tourism industry is very much suited to social media. Like tourism, social media exists to bring people together.
Many tourism businesses have already identified this trend and are taking advantage of social media for their own marketing efforts. They have not only set up social media accounts, but they’re actively interacting with customers and potential customers working in building their online presence.
In order to reach your audience through your marketing efforts, you really need to know what your potential customers want and who they are. Different from traditional marketing, social media is a communication tool, where you listen and take part in the conversations taking place around your brand or products/services.
Do you want to know who is interested in your product or service?
Do you want to know where they live, what they do, how many vacation days they have, as well as their social behaviours?
By keeping an eye and ear to those conversations, you can have a deeper understanding of your audience’s needs, issues and trends, which in turn can influence your marketing efforts. Hard facts are hard facts and social media networks are accumulating that data for you.
The tourism industry is a very competitive field. It is always a good idea to keep an eye out to see your competitors are doing. Social media is a great way of doing this, by visiting their pages and also conducting specific searches based on their keywords.
Keeping an eye on your competition is a good way to see what they’re doing and to especially see what they’re not doing. This can present you with great marketing opportunities.
Social media is not the place to do hard-selling but the place to interact and engage with your audience. By asking questions, responding to comments and by posting content that adds value to your followers and that creates engagement and interaction, you’re closer to having loyal followers and potential customers.
For example, a tourism business that is promoting a destination can look for people who are leaving or just arrived home after visiting their destination. By interacting with people who are still in vacation mode, you have a window of opportunity to further build that brand affinity and relationship with the users.
Brand advocates are those customers that not only like your products/services, but really go the extra mile; commenting daily, writing articles about you, sharing your content and influencing others. Nowadays, they do this online on social media.
In the tourism sector, word-of-mouth and getting impartial reviews is key to any business since more and more people search for a hotel review before they book a room, for example. Your brand advocates will then help you with that by creating those impartial reviews and help you in your marketing and brand awareness efforts.
A great customer service is at the heart of every successful tourism business. Along with a great product or service, customer services make all the difference in retaining existing customers and gaining new ones.
Social media can be a great way to help deliver that customer service by promptly responding to questions in your social media brand pages, but also by searching for conversations around your brand in other pages and responding to their questions.
Striking up a post-vacation conversation to ask someone what they liked the most or if they’d mind writing a review on Trip Advisor is an easy sell during the first few days after a vacation. It’s these little things that can influence the decisions of others considering your destination can ultimately drive an increase in visits.
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