Tag: Tourism marketing

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Using Facebook’s Updated News Feed for Your Tourism Marketing

One of the biggest challenges for tourism marketers is keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of new technologies and best practices in tourism marketing. It used to be a lot easier than it is today. As little as 5 years ago, you could probably get by without learning about new techniques and tools to help market your tourism destination or business. What worked in 1985 probably would still work in 2008 – with the exception of updating photos so we can all forget about those questionable 80’s styles.

This all changed in the last 5 years with the rapid adoption of social media and web 2.0 technologies that allowed website users to leave comments, reviews, and interact with companies, destinations, and other website visitors from around the world. It seemed like overnight the Internet and marketing, as we knew it, changed dramatically. What was once limited to a digital brochure, suddenly became a completely different tourism marketing tool. This allowed tourism marketing to shift from one–way communication to real time conversations with travelers.

We call this new approach tourism inbound marketing and use it to help our destination and business clients market with a purpose. The challenge in this new landscape for tourism marketing changes on a regular basis and forces all tourism marketers to stay on top of these changes or risk wasting time and money.

Last week Facebook rolled out a new feature that gives users more control over their news feed, which will impact the way tourism marketers are able to engage with their social communities. These new features include:

  • Rich Stories– Since over 50% of all news feed content is photos and visual content, Facebook is changing the way users share stories by improving the display of visual content and giving it priority in news feeds.
  • Choice of Feeds– Facebook is determined to make sure the content displayed in a user’s news feed is the content they want to see. To support this, Facebook is now allowing users to select different types of feeds based on friend lists or topics like music or photos. This means it will become even more difficult to get your brand messages to your facebook communities.

So what does this mean to your tourism marketing efforts? This is actually good news for the travel and tourism industry since we utilize visual content as the core of our tourism marketing efforts. Below are some recommendations for how to change the way you market your tourism business or destination on Facebook in light of these new features.

1) Continue to use visual content and aim for engagement – Tourism marketing relies on visual content to tell your stories and encourage people to visit your destinations. Now more than ever is the time for you to create a stock-pile of tourism images that can be used to interact with your community. Be creative on how you use these images to ensure your community engages with them. Here is an example of a photo from our “Caption Friday” series for the Namibia Tourism Board where we share a photo each week and ask our fans to provide a caption.

2) Repurpose those beautiful print ads for Facebook – Tourism marketers are masters at creating print ads with a striking photo and a few lines of copy that compel people to visit a destination. This same approach can be used on Facebook. If you have existing print ads, adapt them for use in your Facebook content strategy. If you don’t have a budget for print advertising, now is the time to work on your copy skills and create image-focused ads.

3) Keep your photo captions short – With the new features, image captions moved from under the photo to above of the photo. This means that you need to keep your photo captions short or your message will be lost.

4) Likes, Engagement, and Check-ins are more important then ever – Since the changes in “Choice of Feeds” means it will be harder for your posts to reach your community, engagement becomes even more important. The best way to promote your tourism destination or business on Facebook is to utilize your fans and attract more likes. When a person likes your post, checks in on your page or engages with your visual content, it appears in news feed sharing with all of their friends. If you want to use your Facebook page to market your tourism destination or business you must think about how to effectively use and grow your community.

Social media is one of the most exciting and challenging things to face tourism marketing. It seems like every day a new feature or social platform emerges that challenges everything you know about tourism marketing. The key for today’s tourism marketer is to stay on top of these changes through continued education. Who knows what tomorrow’s “big new thing” in tourism marketing will be, but I can promise there will be something we are all talking about in 5 years that doesn’t even exist today.

 This article has been re-posted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing?start=10

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (IV)

Social media stories

Stories seem to be likely to take over feeds as the main type of content through which people share their thoughts, ideas and experiences. They consist of short slideshows made up of photos and videos, usually done during an event or a specific time period, such as holidays. They are far more engaging than traditional content feed, and therefore capable of leveraging the brand’s social capital through an increased number of comments, reviews, shares, etc.

In the case of destinations developing according to the principles of Tourism 3.0, the destinations’ marketing platforms must leverage the content creativity of all visitors and other stakeholders in all kinds of possible formats, among which the social media stories should gain prominence as time goes by. In order to promote the contribution through specific formats, the content creation contests should have a prize for every type of format, including the newly promoted ones. Such social media stories could be related to the visitors’ life-changing experiences, the positive impacts to the locals’ lives due to tourism development, etc.

Other general trends

All in all digital marketing is expected to continue to grow, particularly mobile marketing. A digital marketing mix should integrate advertising through comprehensive SEO (including voice and image), video, social media and display.

Apart from digital marketing, broadcast TV advertising continues to be the first source for promoting new brands, staying way ahead of online TV.

On the other hand, both traditional and online radio are valuable platforms for advertising, taking into account that online radio and podcasts audiences are experiencing significant growth.

With regards to email marketing strategy, this will progressively integrate data collection, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, personalization and compelling content.

Finally, printed items such as newspapers, magazines and books are – despite their stagnation – still leading influential media, especially when referring to premium printed media.

So, even if there are many newcomers in the marketing mix, the traditional advertising platforms still remain, losing some of their prominence, but keeping a significant share of the marketing budget.

 

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (III)

Social messaging apps

Apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are also playing a role in some marketing activities, such as customer service, direct sales, or content marketing. These apps provide personalisation, so long as the interactions one-to-one allow the possibility of customizing he message, especially for sales and customer service. With regards to content marketing, these messaging apps provide an excellent opportunity for the content to go viral.

For tourism destination, these apps can provide tourist information on demand as a sort of 24 hour hotline, and at the same time try to engage the information seekers as clients by providing booking service for accommodation, transportation and activities. Furthermore, so long as it is possible to get the phone number of the information seekers and other prospect clients, it is also possible to deliver them content related to their interests through the messaging app of their choice.

The new search: voice and image

Beyond the traditional word searching in the internet browsers, there are two new searching methods to take into account: voice and image, and so businesses should be ready to be found through these new searching means, and care for a more comprehensive SEO which encompasses voice and image.

With regards to voice search, nowadays almost 1/3 of the Google searches are voice searches, and it is estimated by ComScore that in 2020 the voice searches will account for nearly 50%. To make your site voice search-friendly it is recommended to bear in mind how users usually formulate their queries, the most likely queries related to your service or product, etc. You need to have a voice search strategy, just as you currently have your SEO strategy for keywords.

Regarding image search, there are already some tools like Google Lens and Pinterest Lens providing a visual search function that uses Artificial Intelligence and machine vision to detect real-world objects and offer suggestions for related items. With image search you get instant results, much faster than voice or word search: just by taking a picture of the related item, you can obtain immediate results.

According to Gartner – one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms –- it is estimated that businesses which adopt both voice and visual search early on are likely to increase their online revenue by 30%. This is a field where early adopters have the opportunity to gain valuable experience and know-how in order to gain and keep a privileged position in the new search means.

In the tourism industry, these are both very relevant issues, so long as all sorts of tourist information have to be easy to find through the search engines, both DMOs and local businesses have to care for their holistic SEO strategy. Local businesses should care mostly about voice, whereas DMOs should care about voice and image for the tourists already visiting the destination. The image part is useful also to attract visitors to the destination.

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Marketing trends for 2019 (II)

Video marketing & original video content

Digital video advertising spending has been increasing these last two years and is expected to continue to grow at least two more years. The most popular kinds of used content are Comedy, Music, Education and News. Brands tend to target the audience through sponsorship agreements integrating the brand within the show, rather than through traditional advertising interrupting the video.

According to many surveys, video offers an outstanding performance on many relevant metrics such as content sharing rate and conversion rate, as well as generating confidence in online purchase decisions. When it comes to the broadcasting of the online video, there are also some significant trends to consider:

  • Length of the video varies depending on the marketing goal
  • Calls to action such as redirecting the viewer to a site, another video, to a form in order to receive further content are included
  • Talk style videos are used when explaining something in depth
  • “Ask me anything” type of videos where a public figure from the industry answers questions from a diverse group of characters are used to create trust on a potentially controversial issue.

Needless to say, video is one of the most engaging content formats according to many metrics. When it comes to marketing destinations and related experiences, this is even more obvious. In this regard, far beyond the “destination marketing video” there should be a collection of videos in accordance with the different experiences and motivations that move the target audience to visit the destination. A very convenient tactic is to make a short version of the video (less than 5 minutes) to draw the attention of the audience with a call to action to watch the long version of the video (not longer than 15 minutes). Furthermore, as it has been explained in all the marketing-related white papers, the finest video content produced by stakeholders should be delivered through the branded platforms of the destination.

Influencer marketing

Influencers are expected to be able to raise brand awareness, boost reputation, improve brand advocacy and drive lead generation. Beyond the most popular and expensive influencers, there are also a great deal of smaller influencers targeting specific types of audiences or niche markets. Accurately selecting those types of influencers is likely to be the most effective choice. The software Traackr contains an influencer database and allows the users to find the appropriate influencers in accordance with their marketing goals.

Furthermore, beyond the influencers you will have to pay for in order to gain their support, some others are likely to provide you with some support, so long as they really are enthusiastic about your product or service. Moreover, as it has been explained in the marketing white papers, it is convenient to create a network of brand ambassadors leveraging the power of influence of many stakeholders like suppliers, employees, and specially clients.

For as long as possible, it could be convenient to establish some kind of incentive system, giving special deals to the brand ambassadors who manage to raise more brand awareness and foster engagement. Influencer effectiveness can be measured through different metrics (mainly engagement but also sales) and techniques, like providing them with unique deal codes, UTM codes on digital posts, and custom landing pages to monitor their results.

As explained in some of the Envisioning Tourism 3.0 White papers, destinations developing tourism based on the principles of Tourism 3.0 are very likely to attract influencers, so long as they move their human spirit to take action in favour the destination’s social and environmental challenges stated in the mission. In many occasions, this is likely to happen at no cost for the destination. This is one of the greatest advantages of the Tourism 3.0 approach.

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (I)

 

As all of us know, marketing tools and practices evolve faster than ever, for it is necessary to keep the strategy up to date at least every year, and integrate new tools that help us reach new clients, further engage our prospects, or gain more valuable market intelligence. According to Advance Travel & Tourism there are seven key trends that are already shaping the new marketing strategies in the most advanced businesses, which are perfectly applicable to the tourism industry. This issue is to be split in four articles.

Authentic & consumer centric content

It is well known among marketers that advertising has lost a great share of the trust it used to have. In its place, consumer centric content is taking the lead, mainly through content marketing and influencer marketing, both delivering real value to audiences and thus engaging them more effectively. Audiences demand that calls to action lead them to useful content to get engaged. Traditional media – both printed and digital –will continue to play a role in the overall strategy, but will lose importance progressively in the marketing budget.

With regards to the tourism industry such content should consist of texts, photos and videos of the life-changing experiences, stories and imaginative ways to enjoy the destination, with some detailed information for the reader to experience it him/herself. Apart from that, destinations approaching Tourism 3.0 should also use stories about the positive impacts that the tourism development creates in the destination, improving the lives of the locals as well as the visitors’ experience. There should be also stories about how local stakeholders and visitors contribute to the development of the destination through the creation or co-creation of marketing content, product innovation and different types of “voluntourism”. This is actually what has already been explained in previous articles and white papers such as “Envisioning destination marketing 3.0” or “The Marketing Plan 3.0”.

Personalisation

This consists essentially of using all the market intelligence and customer data to create niche tailored content, mostly consisting of deals related to the preferences of every customer niche or even tailored to every customer based on the items they have purchased or searched information on. According to a survey carried out with marketing executives, the most effective personalisation tactic is email marketing with dynamic content.

Concerning tourism destinations, as long as it is possible to track the information searched by every user within the destination website and social media platforms, it is possible to deliver content by email in accordance with the user’s interests, such as different sorts of special interest tourism, “voluntourism” or different types of contribution they are could do for the destination’s development.

Marketing 3.0storytellingStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Multichannel Approach Holds the Keys to Tourism Marketing Success

If you are hoping that things are going to get easier for tourism marketing, you are wrong. A recent article from New York based HotelNewsNow.com paints a world in which consumers are active on multiple platforms, on multiple devices, and savvy enough to desire only the best travel-related content:

“Consumers don’t watch devices; they consume the content on them,” [NGC Media VP Andrew] Capone said during a recent think tank event held by the Association of Travel Marketing Executives. “Today, it’s about experience messaging. People are coming out of a three-, four-year hole and it’s more than just about branding, it’s about ‘I have X number of vacation days, what do I want to do?'”

So what does this mean for your tourism marketing? Great content is not enough. You must be an active content distributor with a smart combination of traditional outreach (like print and trade shows) and marketing activities that place your great content where your target market is going to find it.

Study after study shows that consumers are using a combination of online sources and platforms throughout the travel buying cycle – from dreaming about a destination to selecting the museums they attend. All of this messaging and distribution needs to work in tandem to sell the brand and help the target market understand more about “the experience” with your business at your destination.

You must fight hard to maintain that prized spot that we like to call “top of mind.” How can you make sure that your ideal traveler will choose your place above all the other options out there? How can you prioritize your options to make sure that the right content is going in front of the right people at the right time?

 The idea of Marketing with a Purpose brings all of the different platforms together to work compatibly as a sales driver. If done correctly and strategically, each touch on the consumer is an opportunity to pull them deeper into your brand. We address the “experience messaging” by continually engaging potential travelers with a combination of practical and inspirational content they need to paint the travel experience picture in their mind.

In the project with the Namibia Tourism Board, a multichannel approach during the “Share My Namibia” campaign allowed to provide storytelling to consumers, reach out to the international travel trade, and build strong social media communities that still interact with our content. We engaged consumers in different locations on a frequent basis so our message of “Share My Namibia” remained fresh.

A social media campaign like this takes considerable planning and a balanced approach to what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it – the two sides to the marketing coin.

But one side of the coin might be a little heavier. Mark Snyder, a branding and marketing consultant formerly with Kmart and InterContinental Hotels Group, says: “The medium is not a substitute for the message.You think getting a digital budget is tough, wait until someone gives you $100,000 to go and do something with and you have to go create content. Content is hard. Content is the cornerstone of engagement.”

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing?start=10

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Reaching Millennials- Tips from Music Festival Marketing

It’s officially springtime, and that means the start of music festival season! Millennials across the globe are gearing up for their favorite events, whether they prefer EDM festivals like Tommorowland in Belgium, local music showcase festivals like Donauinselfest in Austria, or headline concerts like Lollapalooza’s offerings in Chicago.

As we’ve noted, destination marketing for millennials can be challenging, but ultimately this tech-savvy generation is willing and ready to travel to destinations that establish personal relationships with them, and music festivals are a great place to start. Marketers from all industries are turning their attention to music festivals, as through-the-roof ticket sales continue to rise. Brand sponsorships for music festivals, tours, and venues totaled $1.22 billion in 2012 and are projected to increase in the coming years. Connecting with millennials isn’t easy, but brands have a wide range of opportunities to engage with their target audiences at festivals. Crowds of attendees obviously mass around the entrance gates and stages, but successful brand activations, located throughout the festival grounds, are often just as popular as the beer tents!

According to Nielsen’s Music 360 report, 51% of consumers and 76% of festivalgoers feel more favorably towards brands that sponsor a tour or concert. Marketers attempt to capitalize on the powerful associative nature of music by becoming a memorable part of the festival experience through luring crowds into their air-conditioned tents, giving out free samples and souvenirs, hosting celebrity guests, or holding contests and sweepstakes.

Why Travel Brands Should Consider Music Festivals:

  • Thousands of millennials will be confined to the same area for two to eleven days- a captive audience for brand messages! 74% of music streamers prefer brands that engage them through music giveaways, sweepstakes, and sponsorships. Red Bull took advantage of this opportunity and created a music blogon its website to complement its festival sponsorships.
  • Festivalgoers most likely have some disposable income to spend on travel and experiences. Music festivals and concerts can be quite expensive, and many attendees even pay to travel to faraway events. The type of person who is likely to attend or travel to music festivals is likely to travel for other reasons as well and have the means to do so.
  • Brands have the opportunity to present themselves as relevant to millennials. Marketers that can naturally integrate themselves into events can become cool by association with the music and festival. Of course, brands must be careful to choose brand messages that fit within the overall theme of the festival so that their activations are natural extensions of the spirit of the event.

Creative Music Festival Marketing Examples to Apply to the Travel Industry:

Social Network Interaction: Lacoste offered free flower garland crowns in exchange for social media postings. While this the corporate equivalent of buying friends is no substitute for quality social media engagement with fans, it did succeed in generating buzz and brand impressions with Millennials.

Customization: Gap partnered with a variety of music festivals and tailored their offerings according to the audience in attendance at each. At Sasquatch in Washington State, “Camp Gap” included a DIY cut-off shorts station, face painting, and a penny press machine to cater to the hippie, alternative, carefree crowd. They ran contests on Pinterest, Twitter, and their website to win free tickets and other prizes and encourage social media interaction with the brand.

Partnerships: Pitchfork Music Festival created a free mobile app with a schedule, map, and other information and partnered with Rdio to provide a feaure that allowed attendees to take pictures at the event and attach songs to them. Festivalgoers could print their photos and receive a free trial of Rdio at the sponsor’s tent. For apps to be successful, consumers need a compelling reason like this one to download and interact with the app.

Experiential Marketing:  PopChips created a “Rescue Hut” which was stocked with music festival necessities like cell phone chargers, games, and a prop fram for photos. Experiential marketing is about creating a personal connection between the consumer and the brand. PopChips’ activation positioned the brand as a rejuvenating and essential product in a way that resonated with festival attendees.

Product Placements: Samsung’s tent provided free henna tattoos. Festivalgoers could scroll through henna designs on Galaxy products while they waited in line. Samsung was able to offer a desirable service while simultaneously and quite naturally exposing its target audience to its product line.

Our Favorite Global Music Festivals:

  1. Paleo(Switzerland): Despite its limited funding and all-volunteer staff, Paleo drew crowds of over 230,000 last year to see 200 acts on 6 stages. In addition to headliners and local acts, the event showcases a different region of the world each year. In 2013, Paleo featured food and music from Indian Ocean region.
  2. Outlook Festival(Croatia): Outlook is an up-and-coming festival that takes place in a fortress in rural Croatia. Its sound systems and stages displaying hip-hop and electronic musicians are hidden throughout natural tunnels, abandoned ruins, and other unexpected sites.
  3. Glastonbury(Glastonbury, England): If for nothing else but the expected muddy and wild music festival environment, Glastonbury is worthy of consideration for anyone’s festival bucket list.
  4. South by Southwest(Austin, TX): SXSW music festival runs concurrently with its film festival and interactive technology conferences to create a unique and vibrant atmosphere focused on up-and-coming talent.
  5. Przystanek Woodstock(Poland): With an overarching theme of “Love, Friendship, and Music”, Przystanek Woodstock emulates its namesake in its emphasis on rock music and inclusiveness. Entry is free for the crowds of over 550,000, as the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity hosts the event as a thank-you to its volunteers.
  6. Sweetlife(Columbia, MD): SweetGreen supports its mission of developing healthy, sustainable lifestyle options through sweetlife, their music and food festival dedicated to celebrating wholesome food and thoughful living. The event is carbon neutral, emphasizes composting and recycling, donates leftover food and swag to local shelters and food banks, and draws an incredible line-up. Lana del Rey and Foster the People will headline the 2014 festival.
  7. Mawazine(Morocco): Although it drew over 2.5 million attendees last year, Mawazine remains almost unheard-of in the English-speaking world. The festival features mostly African artists from French-African countries, although international superstars also participate. The 2013 concert series was headlined by Rihanna.
  8. Governor’s Ball(New York City, NY): With on-site amenities like Luke’s Lobster, Mexicue, and Cool Haus, this music festival has a decidedly upscale New York vibe.

This article has been re-posted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing

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Pinterest’s Promoted Pins Add Value for Tourism Marketing

Pinterest’s successful strategies for the tourism marketing industry capitalize on the “a picture is worth a thousand words” consumer mentality. Its ability to drive traffic and sales stems from its ability to provide content that users want to consume and even share with others. In fact, the value of a single pin is worth more than a tweet, and has 100 times the chance of going viral! The value of Pinterest to generating interest and sales is too large to ignore, particularly since Pinterest has announced plans to launch promoted pins, opening up new opportunities to attract customers.

Pinterest is an aspirational medium

Pinterest’s visual and aspirational nature lend itself to use by the travel industry. Destinations already have the stunning visual content that performs well on Pinterest. Consumers are searching for and sharing these beautiful pins that reflect where they would like to be, rather than where they are in the present moment. Other visual sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram showcase the past and the present (and Instagram is even coming out with a competing sponsored advertising program), but Pinterest allows users to share the places and activities that they would like to do in the future.

Because of its aspirational nature, Pinterest offers marketers the unique opportunity to influence travelers before they choose a destination. Travelers use Pinterest both for inspiration and for planning trips, giving DMOs the chance to show them where they should go and why. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that are feed-oriented and reflective of the present can’t offer the same influence as Pinterest. Destinations can put themselves on consumers’ radars, move from awareness to bucket list status, and move from bucket list to actual travel plans all on one website! Even more exciting, marketers can see when consumers have added destinations to their consideration sets (when they pin or re-pin your content!). This powerful signal of intent to travel is difficult to uncover through any other social network.

Pinterest includes desirable, visual, shareable content

Pinterest’s addictive nature is largely due to the vast amount of incredible content that exists on the site that users actually want to consume and share with their networks. Consumers are actively searching for travel images and inspiration, which marketers can happily provide.

An important feature of Pinterest is the ability to re-pin content. Users can and often do save your content to their own boards to either share with others or keep as reminders for themselves. Over 80% of pins are re-pins. Because users will always be able to see the original source, traffic can still be driven to your own boards or to your website. Destinations should pin pictures from their website and blog so that each pin will carry a link to drive traffic back to the original site.

Pinterest has a broader audience than Twitter or Facebook, but the audience does skew towards 25 to 39 year-old women. The visual nature of the site transcends language barriers and has wide appeal to a broad base of consumers predisposed towards traveling.

Features of Pinterest for the Travel Industry

Map Feature

The map feature allows users to change the format of boards to include a map on the right side of the screen. Although the map dominates the board, reducing the space available for pins to 2 of the usual 6 columns, maps can successfully and immediately convey a sense of place and allow followers to zoom in and easily click through to pins in their desired locations. Pinterest partners with FourSquare to provide location information for pins, so it’s important to be sure your favorite locations are listed! If they haven’t been added to FourSquare’s database, add them using this simple form.

Using the map feature, destinations can share itineraries, categorized into boards by length, trip category, season, or tour package. Similarly, maps can be ideal showcases for restaurant guides, historic before and after pictures, and photo contests for destinations an organization has pinned.

Collaborative Boards

Pinterest users who are following each other can add each other as collaborators on their boards. This feature has a variety of applications, from restaurants and tour operators partnering up to collaborate on destination boards to showcase a location’s diverse offerings to DMOs reaching out to directly interact with consumers.

A great example of using collaborative boards for travel and hospitality marketing comes from the Four Seasons Hotels’ Pin-Pack-Go campaign. The hotel chain invited its followers to create a Pin.Pack.Go board on Pinterest and comment on which hotel location they planned to visit. The hotel would then follow the user on Pinterest, and when the user followed back and invited the hotel to collaborate on the board, local experts from the hotel would pin recommendations and insider advice.

New! Promoted Pins

With the upcoming launch of promoted pins, Pinterest hopes to create a a valuable way for marketers to connect with consumers. Promoted pins will blend seamlessly into Pinterest streams and be indicated only with a small icon in the bottom right corner of the pin.

Pinterest now allows marketers to reach users through a paid boost, much like other social networks. In such a visually-rich and aspirational industry, these new tools will be extremely valuable to travel and tourism marketing strategy. The hospitality and travel industries are already some of the most active on social networks, and adding promotional tools to a visually stimulating platform like Pinterest will only increase this trend. In fact, Tnooz reported that 20% of web referrals on e-commerce sites come from Pinterest, and 26% come from Pinterest’s mobile site!

This article has been  reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing

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Tourism Marketing with Instagram

Instagram is nothing new – it’s long been one of our favorite social media platforms – but it still lags behind other tourism marketing tools. Don’t neglect this simple app that offers huge potential. Photos are a big part of travel marketing, and this humble app specializes in nothing else so there is no reason it shouldn’t be part of your tourism marketing plan.

But where should you get started? Luckily, Instagram is a very straightforward platform. Here are a few tourism players who are doing great things on Instagram, and some quick lessons we can learn from their success.

Highlight User-Generated Content

Why does Australia always make our lists of the best of the best? Because they are terrific tourism marketers. But don’t be fooled – you don’t have to have a huge budget like Australia to see results. In fact, Australia’s Instagram success does not come from employing hoards of photographers. Instead, Australia came up with an innovative way to crowd source their photos. Their entire social media strategy is aimed at enabling fans to build upon their platforms, like Instagram. They essentially turned their fans into marketers. Now, they receive 900 photo submissions each day and choose the best 4-5 photos to share with their 600,000+ Instagram followers.

Pay Attention to Hashtags

If you feel a little overwhelmed, step back and focus on doing one thing really well. Instagram has a variety of common hashtags that encourage sharing among users. The most popular one, by far, is #tbt or #throwbackthursday where users post older photos on Thursday. Within the tourism world, nobody does #tbt better than Delta. In fact, most of their Instagram content is throwback photos from the earlier days of the airline. Your photos don’t have to be new and shiny. It can be a great marketing tool to reflect on the nostalgia of a different time – especially since so many people have vivid travel memories. It also inadvertently emphasizes the long tradition of your brand and highlights innovation over time.

Throwback Thursday isn’t the only hashtag around either. Read here for a list of other great daily hashtags, and don’t forget to pay attention to current trends. Specific hashtags pop up all the time to celebrate events, holidays, and other happenings.

Don’t Neglect Other Aspects of Your Brand

Yes, gorgeous travel photos are an easy sell on Instagram, but don’t neglect to highlight other aspects of your brand. Everything can’t be photos of sunsets or beaches! And those won’t necessarily help your brand or destination stand out in the crowd. Virgin America has found creative ways to highlight other aspects of the traveler experience. Their Instagram feed is full of passengers and cabin crew doing everything but taking themselves too seriously. Their photos help display the mood of the airline by emphasizing people and candid moments over scenery and posed shots. They always look like they are having fun, which is a huge feat for a company that deals in an area of travel most people consider to be a pain.

Virgin also runs some great contests, like this social media one from 2013. They offered 15 minutes of free in-flight wifi for Twitter, Instagram & Vine and encouraged passengers to use these social media platforms & a specific Virgin American hashtag to enter to win airline points. The easier you make it for users to interact with your social media (free wifi!), the more results you’ll see.

Educate Your Audience

Instagram isn’t just about gathering likes and follows. Like all social media platforms, the ultimate goal is to grow your audience and generate more customers. Sharing beautiful images is a great way to showcase your destination and inspire future visitors, but it’s also important to help nudge them down your sales funnel. You want them to go from aspiring traveler to actual traveler.

One way you can help this process is by focusing on educating your audiences with key pieces of information. This will also help set your destination apart. I know this is a huge need in tourism marketing because I had to look outside the travel world for a good example.

NASA’s Goddard Space Center does an outstanding job of marrying their breathtaking images with equally intriguing information. Each photo helps inform the viewer with interesting facts, tidbits and stories. You can do the same thing with your travel-minded audience. Rather than share a photo of a lake with only its name and location, mention a unique fact about it. Maybe it’s great for fishing or swimming. Maybe it hosts an annual festival. Maybe it’s a hidden gem that most visitors would be surprised to learn is easily accessed from a nearby hub city.

You should still try to be concise, but by adding one extra sentence, you can help move your traveler from the dreaming to planning stage of travel.

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Characteristics of a Successful Online Marketing Campaign

Being flexible and current are two important characteristics to a successful online marketing campaign. The social media landscape is constantly evolving—whether it is the changing of an algorithm, a new feature, new trend, or even the inception of an entirely new social media platform. To run a successful online marketing campaign you must be knowledgeable of these alterations and have the ability to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Adapting to Changing Rules

To understand what a change in “social rules” looks like and how it could be a game-changer in your online marketing campaign, take a look at this recent example. Just a week ago Facebook instituted a change which disallowed requiring someone to “like” your page before entering your contest, promotion or giveaway. This feature, coined “like-gate”, has been a significant factor in online marketing campaigns. In many cases, the main purpose of offering a contest or giveaway is to enhance a company’s social media presence.

In fact, many online marketing campaigns use “likes” as a metric for success. Does your contest now serve a purpose if it isn’t generating “likes”? If not, how can you modify your strategy to accommodate for this? These are crucial questions in ensuring your online marketing campaign meets its objectives.

Finding Solutions

In 2013, the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi carried out a Plan to promote Geotourism development and contribute to the region’s competitiveness as a tourism destination. An online marketing campaign focusing on the Geotourism MapGuide was carried out, which promoted the US Gulf Coast States (USGCS) through an online interactive map, mobile application, and print map. USGCS’s first marketing campaign was called “Hidden Treasures” and was designed to demonstrate the MapGuide’s utility as a resource for lesser-known attractions in the region. The mechanism behind this campaign was a giveaway in which participants could win a trip to one of three weekend getaways in Vicksburg, MS; Lake Charles, LA; or Miramar Beach, FL.

In early 2014, radical shifts in the brand page design and user feed algorithm on Facebook forced a shift in how the platform could be used for marketing and engagement. Facebook applications, on which the “Hidden Treasures” campaign was largely built, were sidelined. This meant that apps were no longer a central component in a page’s interaction with a user. As a result, driving traffic to the application was more difficult, entries into the contest were low, and the campaign did not achieve its intended result. This algorithmic change was largely focused to drive advertisers to pay for sponsored or boosted content. To adjust for this, a second campaign was rolled out, “Summer in the South” which was adapted to better thrive in this environment by utilizing Facebook’s pay-for-play services. The adjustment proved successful, driving over 12,000 visits to the USGCS Geotourism website—nearly a third of the website’s 5 month total traffic in two weeks’ time.

Integrating New Platforms

In other instances, an entirely new social media platform may start trending. In 2012, while working on the North American Destination Marketing Campaign (NADM) for Namibia, Pinterest emerged onto the social media scene. Specific content focusing on recipes and weddings, for example a board for “Weddings in Namibia”, were created.  By staying current and on top of trends, a completely new audience was reached.

These are just a few examples of how to keep a close eye on changes in “social rules” and trends when running online destination and tourism marketing campaigns.  Being able to quickly shift to enhance clients’ performance is key to success. To achieve this, a campaign needs to be flexible. Flexibility may be reached through diversification, as seen in the USGCS example. If the USGCS online marketing campaign solely relied on the “Hidden Treasures” campaign, the entire project would have failed. Being current is also extremely important. The NADM’s campaign would not have been as successful had it not been adapted to the social environment and utilize Pinterest. In an environment that is constantly changing, effectively running an online marketing campaign that is both flexible and current will help ensure that your campaign reaches its objectives.

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Geotourism%20Program%20with%20National%20Geographic