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social media for tourism The Social Media Traveller: Who is looking where & why?
Travel Market Research firm, PhocusWright, finds that social networking "is one of the most powerful forces driving travel planning today". PhocusWright says that Social media used by travellers is growing far faster than the travel industry itself. Unique monthly visitors to social travel sites jumped 34% between the first half of 2008 and the last half of 2009. Travellers referred to a hotel or tourism booking site by Facebook are also more likely to book travel than those who are referred via search engines like Google (PhocusWright travel research 2010). The same is true for TripAdvisor which has become the #1 most popular travel website, with 35,382,000 unique monthly visitors it surpasses Expedia by over 2 million visits (ComScore tourism research 2010).

Social Media is taking control away from the advertisers, and giving it to the consumers
…and not all consumers are alike!

Patricia Brusha (hospitality.net) says there are 5 distinct types of social users: the Butterfly, the Selective, the Connected, the Starter and the New Norm. This is a good start to understanding social behavior and creating your online social media travel marketing strategy.

Variables Butterfly Selective Connected Starter NewNorm
Age 15-25 30-45 all professionals over 45 5-9
Favorite Media mySpace, Facebook, YouTube

Tripadvisor,
travelpod,
tripit, Wiki

Linkedin, Plaxo
FastPitch,wiwih
Twitter

late to start, they
will have a wide interest but explore slowly
Webkinz, Disney, Nickelodeon and Barbie!
Motivation

Sharing experiences, video and photos

use tools & web2.0 Resources,
elite community

professional
associations

 

intrigued but not quite sure what to do, how or where learning, get points, rewards, games,

Marketing Strategy
Requirements

Go where they are

niche website,
themes marketing,
use web2.0 sharing

loyalty/rewards
programs,
RSS feeds or alerts,
not interested in online newsletters

easy to use instruction in photos and text.
Create a non-intimidating place to ask questions

they are part of the buying decision. Have a kids area on your website

Social media applications are not for everyone. But the technology used is becoming a standard across all platforms. Interaction is the norm on the Internet. See - The new order of the web

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social media travel channels Social Media Travel Marketing - channels

Media

Tips

Facebook /MySpace

Communications Sharing interests - personal news - event - photos announcements

Use it to get listed on the Search engines. SEO.COM, a very popular site with good Search Engine coverage - if you are there, chances are they will find you.

Set up arcResBookings on your Facebook page -
Add rooms, rates, bookings to Facebook | Facebook Bookings Demo |
How to Use Facebook for tourism


Add a Facebook button to your website
Get your Facebook link here
arcresBookings's Facebook Page
arcresBookings Facebook Page

Twitter

Micro Blog
Publish headlines linking to your news website/blog /company to followers. It's got to be newsworthy, helpful, interesting or fun or you will get turned off.

Building followers is not easy. There are marketing service that can help, such as http://twitproquo.com (not focused). The best option is to search Twitter for a travel market or travel focus group, like golf. Click "Follow" on all the results. Most will follow you in return.

Example: We wanted to announce arcRes travel marketing and travel bookings application for Facebook. We searched for Hotels and followed many - over 100 followed us and we sent out a 140 character announcement:
First Facebook travel app! makes facebook a booking channel! easy with http://arcResBookings.com see http://tr.im/FaceBookDemo. example: http://tr.im/faceBookings

Add a Twitter button to your website
See TwitterButtons.com
YouTube

Video is one of the
most popular forms of information sharing.

Set up a YouTube account and post the video. Set up your own webpage and use the YouTube imbedded code to display the video on your page: see BarbadosBoardwalk.com environment-talk note the video is imbedded from YouTube. A successful creation - see will it blend

BookingsStLucia travel channel on YouTube: http://youtube.com/BookingsStLucia & imbedded on BookingsStLucia.com

Flickr

Photo sharing, photography related networking, worldwide

It is used to share personal photographs, and is also widely used by bloggers and journalists as a photo repository. It allows photos to be tagged and organized so that others can find what they are looking for. Putting hotel, activities and destination photos online is easy and is good travel marketing exposure. Flickr gets top rating on Search engines, use it to list your travel keywords and get links to your site(YouTube).

Blogs

Online Articles -
Self publishing

Example: my blog on Hotel marketing and travel suppler tools

If you care to write about your destination, travel experiences, holiday experiences or guest experiences etc., then a blog is great Travel Marketing tool.

There are many blog solutions to choose from. Wordpress and Google's Blogger are amongst the best know. Blogger also allows you to integrated your distribution with Twitter, Digg, Facebook, etc. The Blog can be very strategic; if you find your Search Engine ranking is low, for certain keywords write a blog for each keyword and structure them to get ranked. Neil Maclean (thetravelprblog.com-travel marketer) used this technique with great success - he advises "write conversational, but targeted and regularly updated content" with links that are "structured webaddress/category/post".

Delicious

Social bookmarking

Good for storing, organising, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks. Sharing links can be helpful in travel marketing. You add your own links and share them with others. By adding the Delicious button Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious to your webpages, travellers will be able to add your pages to their bookmarks.

Digg

News website made to discover and share content from the Internet. News Bookmarking


You can add any travel news including your own, but it can't be a duplicate. The travel news or travel marketing piece you submit gets voted on by other users who DIGG it (click the digg button) - If it gets enough votes it moves to the top and more people see it. It's hard to create a travel article or a a travel marketing slot that will be popular. Example of a popular piece is http://digg.com/d1r7dv

But the real advantage for a Travel Website is that a DIGG increases your chances of getting good Search Engines rank (SEO). YouTube: Digg & Tourism SEO!

How to add a DIGG button to your page: Go to Digg

LinkedIn

A business-oriented social networking site

It has appeal to professions who want to create a network of like-minded people.

If you have a LinkedIn account, you can build a network and send network friends updates and messages of specials and events that might interest them. Stressed executives need a holiday! As with all Social sites, a good listing on LinkedIn can get your Tourism Website on Search results - SEO (YouTube)
Google Freinds Connect (GFC)

Google's new Social Media
This has the potential to be very powerful. It is Google's answer to sites like Facebook. Coupled with * Google Profile * Gmail * Google Reader * Google Reader Shared Items * Google Blogs * Googles Search and more to come - It will be the largest integrated social network platform in the world. Google is also rumored to be building connections to all other major networks (like the add it button below). Now it just needs friends. Start a GFC now and learn about it - it will be big.
YouTube: Travel Friends Connect
RSS

* Really Simple Syndication (ie: easy publishing - a social service)
RSS is a way to publish your holiday news, travel specials, packages and destination events. For the tourist looking for deals and other news - it offers them a way to get news delivered to them by email or to a site like their Google page. You need to subscribe to a RSS like arcRes RSS that will distribute your information to hundreds of these sites Video RSS in 2 easy steps
Example: Barbados.org Holiday Specials - RSS
GoogleWave

* powerful communications and collaboration platform
New technology that does not fit any category, but many are saying it's going to replace email. It's best described as combination of wikis, email, IM, VCS, blogs, collaboration & doc managers in a single interface. It's going to change everything. For latest links see our blog on wave and the future. This technology has great promise, but it's slower than expected to catch on. Looks like it may be lead by application developers - some travel companies are already using it as the platform for their collaborative social sytems.
Buzz ThisGoogle Buzz
Google's answer to Twiiter, etc.

Off to a shaky start with gmail integration with that included mailing that might be considered violation of privacy. Mails list are recommended now rather than automatic. Like Twitter, you can send out news buzzes. You can also add a buzz button to your blog and website pages (see comment), so that others can buzz your news for you!

Smartphones
The next wave of Computing.
Not a traditional social media offically - this is a very social platform that is on in your pocket most of the time. Travellers are using this medium more and more, not only to find holiday activities on location, but to look for travel deals and book hotels online. See our info about the new surge in smartphone travel applications and why you need a smart website.

There are a lot more - for an up-to-date list, see wikipedia social media
To add all social media links to your website, use addthis socialmedia linking services Bookmark and Share
Get it from addthis.com

Good Social Media Resources for Travel & Tourism Marketing:
http://tr.im/harvards10tools | http://tr.im/ISMListening | http://tr.im/2009traveltrends |

Check the comments below for latest updates and news


social marketing for tourism Building a Social Media Travel & Tourism Strategy

It's not a case of which one to use, if you want to excel, use them all. You need Social Marketing in conjunction with all your Web presence. The Social Media is a new market, with a new approach, but it overlaps with the traditional. More importantly, it feeds into and supports your web marketing, enhancing your SEO and web exposure in a dramatic way.

Each Social network and channel has its own following and focus. You can do a lot of it yourself - But as a Hotel Manager or tourism operator - don't make this a full time job. Most likely you don't have the knowledge, time or the tools (applications) to make it sing!

Your best option is to work with a travel marketing company, such as AXSES. Together decide what parts you can and want to do. Get the training you need and work with your tourism partners to market your travel business and brand in conjunction with your entire sales, marketing, distribution, promotion and reservation processing.

Everything that you do magnifies all of the parts - Do it all right and your travel brand and marketing will be a success.

5 Keys to success with Social Media for tourism

1. SEO, SEO, SEO - all these site are authorities, listing on them helps your Search ranking
2. New marketing channels
-more potential clients and bookings/reservations.
3. Effective communications medium - broadcasting message - and one-to-one dialogue
4. New way to engage - By consent marketing - as powerful as word of mouth
5. Fun and Easy to use technology - photo albums, videos, newswire - events - discussions - groups


About AXSES Travel Marketing

AXSES is a tourism development and destination marketing company, recognised as a leader in travel marketing technology, branding and travel shopping, see tourism meets technology.

AXSES travel shopping experience offers the relevance and clarity of 'Google-like search', 'DoubleClick like advertising, tracking and reporting', 'RealHolidays like expert systems & dynamic packaging' and 'Expedia like travel pricing'.

This Next generation Travel Shopping Experience is a First of a Kind. http://TourismPlatform.com. It moves travel sites from primarily a display vehicle to a strategic branding, direct marketing, shopping and booking platform for hotels, car rental companies and travel providers. It provides integrated and targeted messaging opportunities, as well as the ability to deliver dynamic graphical ads (bookable-ads) and interactive shopping.

AXSES builds marketing and management tools for travel suppliers. Axses owns over 30 travel portals promoting direct sales to its hotel and tourism clients. AXSES supplier tools include Internet marketing portals, website tools like calendars, blogs, content management, guest tracking and travel planning, dynamic packaging, comparison shopping, reservations, bookings systems and social media applications.


Contacts

AXSES Travel Marketing - http://axses-travel.com

AXSES SCI Tourism Development
PO Box 16b Baslen House, Kingston Terr.
St. Michael, BARBADOS BB11090
T (1) 246 429 2653 F (1) 246 436 5704
AXSES INC. Knowledge Engineering
211 Kennedy Rd
Boutiliers Point, NS, CANADA B3Z 1V5
T (1) 902 826 2440

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