Since the dawn of social media, there has not been an industry unaffected. Although all industries have been affected by social media to some extent, one industry stands out as having been affected the most.
This is the tourism and travel industry.
Before going forward, it is important to understand why this industry has felt the impact of social media the most. Is it because of more available information? Is it because peer reviews are more trusted? Is it because of the importance of visuals in travel decisions?
The thing is that all of these questions are right. When you're planning a vacation, you want to have all the details about all of your options. This ties into the importance of peer reviews. After all, who are you going to trust? The company you would be paying or the third-party visitor who has already been there?
Additionally, seeing is believing, and pictures are a big part of that when it comes to vacationing.
Before the age of social media, peer reviews and photos of your chosen destination weren't as easy to access as they are now, at least not from an unbiased point of view. This ease of accessibility to third-party destination information is largely the main reason why travel and tourism have become the most affected by social media.
This shouldn't be seen as a negative thing for your tourist destination. Instead, you should leverage the powerful tool that is social media to benefit you.
1. Encourage reviews
Currently, there are many sites out there where visitors can go write reviews. Sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are constantly growing in popularity because potential travelers want the opinion of people who have already visited this location.
Outside of dedicated sites like these, people also take to traditional social media sites to review their experiences. Encouraging these reviews on your Facebook profile, for example, is great because it's the perfect place to highlight positive reviews and also the best place to respond to negative reviews.
The term "earned media" applies to these reviews. Comparable to word-of-mouth, your destination has to earn positive review from happy travelers and it is most definitely worth it. 92 percent of all consumers say that they trust earned media over all other forms of media and advertising.
Now, when it comes to dealing with reviews on your social media profiles, it is important to highlight your positive reviews so potential visitors can see the great things about your destination. More importantly, however, you need to deal with the negative reviews.
Some people are going to have issues with your destination; it's unfortunate but true. When these people write reviews, you must respond quickly to make it right. This can be as simple as apologizing for whatever issue they had and offering a special promotion for their next visit.
This approach accomplishes several things:
- It defuses the situation from escalating any further. If the unpleased visitor feels like they aren't being heard, they may continue to berate you on other forms of social media. It is important that you stop this from happening by addressing the complaint right away.
- Answering quickly shows not only the unpleased visitor how prompt your service it, it also shows potential visitors that you care about the experience your travelers have.
- Offering a special promotion increases the chances of having a repeat visitor. Even if the visitor was not happy with their first visit, they may be willing to try again if they have a discount.
It's a good general rule to try and encourage reviews on forums where you have a presence. You can encourage these reviews through your email newsletter, on the bottom of a booking stub or receipt, or in person when a visitor checks out.
2. Post images
As was mentioned earlier, seeing is believing, and social media is the perfect way to show off your destination.
Perhaps the strongest visual social media website is Instagram. This site allows you to exclusively post images and short videos with captions. Imagine having a feed full of nothing but your favorite photos of your destination to share with your potential visitors. You can even encourage interactions by asking your followers questions in the caption.
For example, let's say that your resort's bar has a new drink menu. To promote this on Instagram, you could post a photo of one of the drinks out by the pool with the caption: "We've added new drinks to the menu! What would you be drinking if you were here?"
Questions like this engage your followers because you're encouraging them to share their opinions. And, Instagram is not the only social media site that you can post these type of images and questions. Sites like Facebook and Twitter also support image posting. In fact, engagement rates on these sites increase for posts that include images. On Twitter alone, posts with images get 313 percent more engagement than those that do not.
So, not only does posting images help show off your destination it also boosts engagement on your social media profiles.
3. Offer landing pages
A landing page is an invaluable resource for you to use on social media. Essentially, a landing page is a singular web page that contains specific information and potentially a signup form. These pages are incredibly handy for getting the information your social media followers need into their hands easily.
For example, if you had a monthly newsletter you wanted to offer to your social media followers, you could create a landing page containing information about your newsletter, things like what it includes, and a signup form that visitors could fill out to start receiving your newsletter.
Landing pages ensure that all the information about a specific topic is centralized in one place and easy to find. Instead of having to search all over a website, the information your visitor requires is all in one place.
Additionally, depending on the size of your tourist destination, you may not even have a website. If you are relying solely on social media for providing information to visitors, then landing pages become even more invaluable. With landing pages, you can still continue to leverage social media all while making more information available to your interested followers without investing in a full website.
4. Track engagement
Now that you've built your social media presence into something engaging for your followers through peer reviews, photos of your destinations, and landing pages with specific information, it's time to see how well your profiles are performing.
A lot of social media sites have analytics built in, but these sometimes don't give you the detailed answers you need. This is why utilizing your own web tracking software can really help you track specific engagements with specific posts. With this type of software you can create tracking URLs that will show you how many people have interacted with a specific link.
For example, let's say you want to see how many people on Twitter are viewing your newsletter landing page compared to how many people on Facebook viewed the same page. What you could do is create two different tracking links for that landing page: one to share on Twitter and one to share on Facebook. After a week or so of sharing these links on the appropriate site, you can compare how well they each performed.
Between reviews, photos, landing pages, and web tracking software, your social media presence should now be strong and offer all the resources potential visitors may require. The only thing that might make your social media maintenance easier is a platform that allows you to easily manage all aspects of your campaign.
There are tools out there to create landing pages and track your web engagement, but what if these tools were combined with a larger platform that could offer you social media automation?
SimplyCast offers an all-in-one platform that includes a landing page generator, web tracking software, Twitter and Facebook automation, and over 10 other communication channels including email and SMS. All of these tools and channels come together to create the SimplyCast 360 marketing automation platform. If you want to see how SimplyCast can help you improve your social media presence, as well as your marketing and communication strategies, sign up for a 14-day free trial today.