I’ve just returned from EyeforTravel’s Online Marketing & Social Media in Travel Summit in Amsterdam. Here’s a quick summary of my key 5 social media take-aways.
1) Effective engagement is everything
Engagement was definitely the word of the event. Learn to understand what your customers are interested in and then engage with them in a way that is more likely to prompt a response. Natasja Fortuin from the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions found that simply changing the way they spoke to their Facebook fans lead to far higher engagement.
For example –
Instead of an ‘announcement style’ -
‘The official opening of Keukenhof 2011 is in exactly one month from tomorrow!’
They tried asking questions –
‘The official opening of Keukenhof 2011 is starting with the dedication of the Vincent Van Gogh tulip. If you could dedicate a tulip to anyone, who would it be?’
The second post received a much greater response.
2) Make it as easy as possible for your customers to share with their peers that they like your brand
Shashank from SimpliFlying shared an interesting case study of a Uruguayan airline called Pluna who adds a tweet option to the step between entering their booking details and receiving full confirmation details. At this stage, whilst waiting for their confirmation, the customer is asked if they would like to tweet the fact they have booked their trip. The pre-populated tweet contains the fact they are flying Pluna to a certain destination. People love to brag about their travel plans. Simple – but effective.
3) Measuring the ROI of social media is possible
Barbara Pezzi from Fairmont Raffle hotels shared detailed tips on how to measure social media ROI. Many brands fail at the first hurdle. They dabble with social media with no idea what they are trying to achieve. Setting KPIs is possible. For example, is it important for your brand to increase bookings from loyalty members? Do you want to service the customer? Do you want to gain PR?
Stay clear of using formulas to measure the precise monetary value of a Facebook fan or Twitter follower - it’s meaningless.
Use as many free measurement tools as possible. Google analytics is vital. Other useful free tools include simplymeasured.com, socialmention.com, twentyfeet.com, peoplebrowsr.com, pagelever.com, tweetstats.com and many more!
4) Video is big
YouTube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine. Video lends itself to travel products and services and can be a great way to highlight the best things about your product at a low cost. Danny Barrasso from Hilton shared a number of ‘homemade’ style affordable videos including this one from the staff at their property near the site of ground zero in NYC - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMEzothVaEg
KLM also saw nearly 1.5 million page views from this video which was made at Schiphol airport which serves to emphasize the marketing message that KLM they have more leg room on flights - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NPF0A_vGC4
5) User reviews are here to stay
The number of review sites continues to grow and user reviews will continue to remain a deciding factor in the consumers purchasing decision process. Making it as easy as possible for customers to see reviews which are as relevant to them as possible is important. Brands such as TrustYou aggregate together the reviews from different review sites into your own travel site allowing consumers to read them without leaving the your website.
Can’t wait until the next EyeforTravel Social Media event which will be in San Francisco!
By Gina Baillie