How-Tu Tuesday: Social Media in the Tourism Industry
Tourism is a key contributor to economies all over the world, and in some countries, is the overriding factor keeping them financially afloat. In Scotland, tourism is currently worth £12 billion to the economy and is predicted to almost double to £23 billion by 2025.
Using social media in the correct and most effective way can leverage your results in the highly competitive tourism industry. Check out the tips below to make the most of this essential marketing tool.
- Align Your Social Media Strategy
The most impactful metrics are those that align with your overall business goals and objectives, as they instantly highlight whether your marketing activity is working or not. Therefore any social media campaigns or general activity should align with the overall strategic business goals. For example, if your goal for the business is to increase engagement, then the focus should be on gaining retweets, likes, comments, shares and mentions. On the other hand, if driving growth is the main focus for the company then social media should be used to generate click-throughs, gauge website traffic levels from the social channels and monitor conversion rates.
- Create Two-Way Conversations With Your Customers
The various social media channels allow tourism brands to build meaningful relationships with their customers. However, in order to achieve this, dialogue between the brands and their followers must be created. The concept of being social suits the tourism industry perfectly as Twitter and Facebook are often the most effective platform for customers to enquire about the latest travel/hotel/attraction promotions, directions, travel conditions and reviews.
- Encourage People To Talk
One of the most effective marketing tools is word-of-mouth and this has been significantly heightened by the online world. Instead of filling out anonymous forms and surveys, tourism brands should encourage their customers to leave ratings and reviews across both general social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+, but also on the more tourism and hospitality centric networks such as Trip Advisor, Yelp and Wine N Dine. In addition to customer reviews, tourism companies (whether they work in travel, accommodation or attractions), should encourage bloggers and other influencers to write about the company by inviting them to experience the product or service being offered. These trusted sources are effective in generating interest and spreading awareness, leading to high ROI conversion rates. Reviews from both influencers and customers are especially effective in tourism as people generally read past experiences before booking holidays and other travel arrangements.
- Know Your Audience and Engage
As with every form of communication, it’s important for brands to know who they are speaking to on social media. This can be done through social media analytics and getting to know customer desires and interests. Engagement should be encouraged through promotion of hashtags and creating a sense of community. Any comments, reviews or shares should always be acknowledged and as the tourism industry is review driven, this can subsequently lead to a high rate of negative comments, which again should be acknowledged and dealt with in the appropriate way.
- Be Social Everywhere
Social media should not be seen as an added bonus or an additional tool to add to your marketing strategy, but instead as a core activity in your business. It should be engrained in the brand’s ethos, with employees being encouraged to share their own stories and experiences of the company. Social links and account names should appear and be promoted on all marketing materials including the website, flyers, business cards, booking forms, receipts/invoices, emails and all other communication and touch points with the consumer.
The industry’s value and impact on the global economy will be celebrated on Sunday, 27 September, for World Tourism Day 2015.