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The Future of Travelling: Top Social Media Options for Tour Operators

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Following research, monitoring of process and analysis of the adventure tourism industry - its digital potential and best practices, this document outlines a sample of top opportunities now …

Following research, monitoring of process and analysis of the adventure tourism industry - its digital potential and best practices, this document outlines a sample of top opportunities now available.

An excellent template to outline and present creative social media ideas to a specific industry.

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  • 1. THE ADVENTURER 2.0 TOP SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS FOR TOUR OPERATORS Prepared by Marc-Oliver Gern© March 29th, 2010, http://blog.flip-digital.com TAGS: Social Media, Engagement Plan, Creative Excellence, Digital Marketing, Business Intelligence, Business Analytics, Adaptive Marketing, Tourism Industry, Tour Operators, Outdoor Adventures, Branding, Art Direction, Web Design, Interactive Storytelling, Destination Marketing Organizations
  • 2. INTRODUCTION  In holiday resorts all over the world, social media is introducing powerful new potential for outdoor tour companies. For those able to engage it best, social media will bring a bright future! Following research, monitoring of process and analysis of the adventure tourism industry - its digital potential and best practices, this document outlines a sample of top opportunities* now available. SHAR Share E THIS o Share n Twitter on Fac Share eb on Lin ook kedIn * Besides customized social media actions you should also engage new clients and customers with the basic SM strategies; Set up measuring tools, start a blogger outreach program, maintain a blog, connect with industry influencers, update your own web site, be present on the most common community platforms like tripadvisor, yelp, locly, Google Local/Map and such.
  • 3. “67 % complain there is too much advertising: Forget messages, create experiences and conversation.”
  • 4. POINTS OF INFLUENCE within on your customer lifecycle as a tour operator, there are several pressure points where you can launch customized social media activities and harness individual tools. ce Influen Influence Influence Engage Inspire, Surprise, Invite Play, Offer, Enter, Share etc.
  • 5. “Context and timing are two important factors for success. Be aware of the fact, that the customer nowadays is unpredictable. They jump back and forth, up and down within the marketing funnel like a wild mountain goat on a hot lava field”
  • 6. CUSTOMER WALK THROUGH 3rd tp: Customer 6th tp: Customer signs up for checks in for tour or newsletter, fan gathers more page or twitter. information. Time again to invite him The following chart provides a visual impression of 1st touchpoint: 4rth tp: Customer 9th tp: End of tour again to follow you and check out: on twitter or fb. 11th tp: Guest left destination. Time to with Google some important questions: Customer starts trip starts trip with car, plane, train etc. Invite guest via Offer specials for incentive, gift to fans and followers interact and engage your former Search. Make sure Great chance to review your guide, customers with online. he finds your sites invite him to learn product etc. Open a specials and news •  When do customers use which tools? What apps & and reviews. more about your „gate“ for more or other products. brand. interaction online Keep up the relationship. content do they havetour. Depending onto? access 7th tp: Guest is on via your online specials. Give them a reason to return. •  Throughout the various pressure points of the the lenght of the trip – chance for life updates on fb and marketing funnel, how do your customers interact twitter. with the brand? (based on user bahaviour) Start trip •  When is the right time to interact with the End trip customer? 5th tp: Arrives at the destination. 2nd touchpoint: Now you can offer Google leads 10th tp: Manage him additional links customer to your picts and to different booking 8th tp: Time for website, reviews, videos effectively hubs and offer guides to interact facebook page. and invite guest to specials. (Group with the customer, check them out bookings, Holiday tell stories and again. or- to share Specials etc.) catch their interest his own impression for other things on your social your company is media hub doing. Customer has Using home/office Equipped with Gathered additional Discovered Equipped with Equipped with Equipped with info access to the computer, talking to smartphones, information from posters, chatted smartphone, twitter, smartphone, twitter, to access other following tools via friends brochures, prints channels on the with locals, asked foursquare, web foursquare, web social media hubs his trip: from the web plane, local info concierge for best access access and stay connected centers etc. adventures in town
  • 7. CUSTOMER WALK THROUGH 3rd tp: Customer 6th tp: Customer signs up for checks in for tour or newsletter, fan gathers more page or twitter. information. Time again to invite him 9th tp: End of tour 11th tp: Guest left again to follow you 1st touchpoint: 4rth tp: Customer and check out: destination. Time to on twitter or fb. Customer starts trip starts trip with car, Invite guest via interact and Offer specials for with Google plane, train etc. incentive, gift to engage your former fans and followers Search. Make sure Great chance to review your guide, customers with online. he finds your sites invite him to learn product etc. Open a specials and news and reviews. more about your „gate“ for more or other products. brand. interaction online Keep up the 7th tp: Guest is on via your online relationship. tour. Depending on specials. Give them the lenght of the a reason to return. trip – chance for life updates on fb and twitter. Start trip End trip 5th tp: Arrives at the destination. 2nd touchpoint: Now you can offer Google leads 10th tp: Manage him additional links customer to your picts and to different booking 8th tp: Time for website, reviews, videos effectively hubs and offer guides to interact facebook page. and invite guest to specials. (Group with the customer, check them out bookings, Holiday tell stories and again. or- to share Specials etc.) catch their interest his own impression for other things on your social your company is media hub doing. Customer has Using home/office Equipped with Gathered additional Discovered Equipped with Equipped with Equipped with info access to the computer, talking to smartphones, information from posters, chatted smartphone, twitter, smartphone, twitter, to access other following tools via friends brochures, prints channels on the with locals, asked foursquare, web foursquare, web social media hubs his trip: from the web plane, local info concierge for best access access and stay connected centers etc. adventures in town
  • 8. THE BASICS A list of basic digital marketing strategies every tour operator could start with. Create a cause on Facebook – to build up awareness, increase loyalty and affinity Host a fun online contest – to create attention to connect employees/customers Initiate a fun offline event – to strengthen your brand & attract new clients Use Twitter and offer tweetfares– to sell more tours, increase sales Take lots of pictures/movies – to extend memories and improve service Sign up for lots of online directories – to maximize recognition Provide knowledge via WIKIS – to strengthen the brand values YouTube your work – to strengthen local grassroots visibility
  • 9. SOCIAL MEDIA & STORYTELLING Now it’s going to get interesting. Pimp your social media activities with individual stories to get your customers maximum engaged with your brand and product. The next slides will give you some inspiration. Use it wisely.
  • 10. STORYTELLING - DO’S & DONT’S Social Media is about great storytelling. See the most promising & engaging stories & elements for you as a tour operators. YES • Photos NO • Politics • Stories about wildlife & environment • Environmental issues • Stories about people (Guides, locals, etc.) • Be careful with addressing social issues • Stories about green living and doing good • Fictionary stories (don’t try to pimp!) • Unique facts about the tours itself • Local Disasters if its just messages and notes • Charity & donations – when set up proberly • Construction (How we build ...) • Cool records (highest bungee, etc.) • Stories about special guests you had on tour • Celebrities on tour
  • 11. CONCEPT OF THE NEXT SLIDES Take the design drafts as an inspiration. Names are fictitious. Opportunity I discoverd your needs and identified business and communication Solution: This goals. section gives you an idea of a sample option, based on best practices. Tools: A list of some tools that work best Example Call-to- in combination with Actions give you your idea/goal. always a good idea on how you should Filters: Help you to write the copy and adjust and prioritize layout the site. your ideas.
  • 12. LET’S GO Enjoy your opportunities.
  • 13. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 1: Tour Cancellation OPPORTUNITY People cancel their booked tours spontaneously, just hours ahead of time. That opens up free spots that could be filled to make the tour more profitable. SOLUTION Make the canceled spots available to the public (with discounts, due to the last minute factor) and tweet about it as soon as possible. Provide sales and service staff with the right tools and message templates, so that they can act fast. Powder > Mountain Catskiing in Whistler is a good example. TOOLS 44% of consumers who follow a brand on Twitter do so for (last minute) deals. The real-time messaging tool helps you to spread the word with speed Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions and efficiency. Anticipated revenue impact: moderate ENTER TO WIN Brand Authenticity: Far Social Experience:  PARTICIPATE Works best with: REGISTER NOW >
  • 14. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 2: Reward Loyalty OPPORTUNITY With the increasing use of smartphones check-in gameplays are getting more and more popular. Such gadgets make it incredibly simple to identify loyal, returning customers and SOLUTION Use your ads, brochures, posters to reward them with special customized invite people to check in with foursquare and such. deals. Reward the foursquare mayors, followers and fans of your organization with special incentives like “Your best friend zips for free”. Be creative – there > is no limit. TOOLS Foursquare, Yelp and Gowalla are the status quo right now. They have already a large community you can build on and are easy to use, customize and Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions maintain. Anticipated revenue impact: moderate CHECK-IN Brand Authenticity: Far Social Experience:  SEND REVIEW Works best with: >
  • 15. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 3: National Holidays & Personal Gifts OPPORTUNITY Special Holidays, such as Valentines Day, Christmas, National Breaks and so on present a great time to offer special tours, discounts, create contests and - most importantly; offer SOLUTION The Facebook app FBML offers the gifts. Create a unique experience for an chance to customize your fan page with a few clicks. unique moment. Make it easy for your fans to send gifts to their best friends. Spread the word through Facebook Ads and use Twitter to increase traffic. Gear up your website > as well. WildfireAPP or Sweepstakes offer free or cheap tools which may help. TOOLS 70% of customers have participated in a brand sponsored contest online on Facebook. Every 2nd user on Facebook sent personal gifts to Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions their friends. With a large community Anticipated revenue impact: high already familiar with using basic gift and Brand Authenticity: Close SEND AS A GIFT reward tools on Facebook, there is Social Experience:  ENTER something for sure you can build on Works best with: here! CLAIM COUPON >
  • 16. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 4: Shoulder Season & Local Events OPPORTUNITY Offline events are an awesome chance to establish your brand within your community. Bring back customers and view your organization in a new light. Use this in the the shoulder SOLUTION Always conforming to your brand, make seasons to boost your business with the event fun & unique then integrate a competitive local visitors. element. Tweet, snap and post videos about it all the time. Create winner lists, and send out invitations to the follow up similar events. Every year Tourism > Whistler launch up some pretty good events for their guests. Partner up with your local tourism TOOLS When it comes to organizing and office. bringing together lots of people for an event - yet again, Facebook is the number one player.  Eventbrite is as Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions simple to use, but due to the lack of Anticipated revenue impact: high community not an option I would Brand Authenticity: Close PARTICIPATE recommend. Social Experience:  ENTER Works best with: NOTIFY ME >
  • 17. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 5: Doing Good & Being Green OPPORTUNITY Nature is your partner. Give back something to the community and to your environment, and you can use that activity/cause to talk about it on your tours. People will love it. SOLUTION Initiate monthly fundraising activities, raising money for a local charity - something you believe in. Give it a name, so people can remember it and associate it with your brand. Create a connection between what you do and what the > fundraising is about. Personal thought: the more local, the better it is. Gap Adventures for example does an TOOLS Twitter has proven to be an incredible good job. incredible way to raise money. Facebook Causes is another excellent tool for launching a cause online (be sure to Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions connect it to your fan page!). Another Anticipated revenue impact: moderate great idea is to build a special tool like a Brand Authenticity: Close PARTICIPATE Donator-O-Meter. Give your activities a Social Experience:  EXPLORE NOW visual people can remember with ease. Works best with: DONATE NOW >
  • 18. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 6: Eco Education OPPORTUNITY Do you provide distinctive knowledge on your tours? Do so. Think of a story your guides can share. There is always something to talk about; whether its nature, local insights - or SOLUTION Encourage your guests to test their facts and stats about your best knowledge on Facebook, let them participate in a adventures. Natural way to engage kids. fun contest, give away cool prizes. Close the customer lifecycle. You can also offer customized deals, because you know who are your visitors. In > this case; returning customers. TOOLS Use your website to provide unique knowledge and stories about the area you are operating in. Use free wiki- tools like Twiki to train your staff. Again, Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions harness Facebook to launch contests Anticipated revenue impact: moderate and microsites where people can come Brand Authenticity: Close PARTICIPATE back and check thier knowledge. Social Experience:  ENTER Works best with: DONATE NOW >
  • 19. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 7: Photos & Videos OPPORTUNITY Travellers take tons of pictures and videos while they're on tour. You probably have your own staff who take pictures as well. Offer them to your guests after their tour. Make them SOLUTION (Geo)-Tag your pictures & videos. You can available online at all times - use them also use watermarks. If you have more financial to continually drive people back on your resources build your own site so people can view website. and purchase them online. The best thing is, when people start to rate and comment on your files. You > can use those opinions to improve your product. Vallarta Adventures doing a good job on that. TOOLS Facebook, Youtube, Vimeo, flickr and your own website are all useful tools for uploading large numbers of pictures and videos. Some of them Strategic Impact: wide Call-to-Actions already have a large community, where Anticipated revenue impact: moderate you can create groups and invite people Brand Authenticity: Far SHARE to check out what you post, and share Social Experience:  UPLOAD their impressions. Great Tip: Link maps Works best with: to your pictures. RATE NOW >
  • 20. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 8: Product Testing OPPORTUNITY You are new and nobody knows you. Let people test your product for free. Tell them to share their experience with others online. Promote your product, a new destination, create SOLUTION Invite people to come with you on the buzz online, hire great staff. Awesome greatest adventure of their life. You give something opportunity to increase your online away for free, now you can ask for something in community as well. return - pics, videos and personal thoughts. Let them write a diary. Use the material and share it > with the online community. Give the whole thing a catchy name. Tourism Queensland did a super job TOOLS Use YouTube to tell your story in with their event “The best job in the world.” motion pictures. This tool makes it easy for you to track the comments and reactions from the viewers. Facebook as Strategic Impact: wide Call-to-Actions well is a good tool to share videos and Anticipated revenue impact: high launch such an “online event”. Brand Authenticity: Close BE PART OF IT Social Experience:  ENTER&PARTICIPATE Works best with: SIGN UP >
  • 21. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 9: Award Programs OPPORTUNITY Do you have ongoing award programs for staff or customers? Not yet? Uh oh - time to launch some! They're a great way of securing a stream of returning guests. You can use the SOLUTION Collect emails and send an invitation to rating and comments they generate to your customers to rate your tours, guides, whatever. improve your product and customer Let them participate in a monthly award show. Make service. it fun and engaging so that people are more likely to give you a good review. Extend memories. Thank > guests for coming back – offer deals/specials. Link to tripadvisor and yelp for general reviews. TOOLS Start with your own website and launch a microsite where people can come back and rate your product quickly and with ease – just a click. Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions Anticipated revenue impact: Far BE PART OF IT Brand Authenticity: Close Social Experience:     ENTER Works best with: custom SIGN UP >
  • 22. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 10: Celebrities & Media Tours OPPORTUNITY If someone famous signs up for a tour and asks for something special... why not? Ask for permission to write and share photos about it. Stories about celebs are always a hot thing and SOLUTION Talk, write, snap and tweet about it. You it creates lots of buzz online. If media is can also announce the special tour in advance and on tour, ask for permission to publish document it online in real-time. Just make it their stuff later on your own websites. personal. Bigger than life is an absolute no go in this case. Use experienced staff on this tour – train > them to talk and deal with media people. Looks much better on camera. TOOLS Spread the word with twitter, Facebook and document it on your own website. But remember: Its gonna be online forever. Check legal permissions. Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions Anticipated revenue impact: moderate FOLLOW UPDATES Brand Authenticity: Far Social Experience:  RETWEET THIS Works best with: SHARE THIS >
  • 23. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 11: Superlatives OPPORTUNITY You own the longest bungee jump in the world. You tame the wildest rivers with your white water rafting boats. The fastest zipline is in your backyard? Use those superlatives SOLUTION Always listen closely to your guests and and create a question around it. Answer take note of their questions. What are they asking?: that question online. What? Just keep on “How fast can you ...” or “How long is ...” or “Whats reading... the deepest...” Grab that question and answer it with a movie. You don’t need much just a couple of > your funniest guides and your own superlative. Check out Blend-Tec (Will it blend) or get inspired TOOLS This is great storytelling and you with MYTHBUSTERS. do that best via a video on YouTube. Its probably also great to know that people spend more hours watching YouTube Strategic Impact: wide Call-to-Actions videos than watching TV. One or the Anticipated revenue impact: high other way: Launching an event online is Brand Authenticity: Close WATCH THIS getting more and more popular. Social Experience:  DOWNLOAD NOW Works best with: SHARE THIS >
  • 24. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 12: Personal Fears, barriers OPPORTUNITY Some adventures are quite challenging for people and often bring them to the very end of their personal limits (fear of heights etc.). Flip that around and use your experience as SOLUTION Play with taking away peoples fear of a way or chance for them to get over this heights (works for any tours that deal with great fear. heights like bungee, zipping, canopy walks, etc.) Give the event a name like “Face the Heights”: Create a monthly event. Invite/bring one person in > who is afraid of heights and let them do your adventure for free. Film it and put it on YouTube. Let TOOLS Use tools enabling people to people bet online – if she/he can do it or not. interact with each other and encourage those people on your tour to push their limits. Strategic Impact: wide Call-to-Actions Anticipated revenue impact: moderate VOTE NOW Brand Authenticity: Close Social Experience:  BET & WIN Works best with: SHARE THIS >
  • 25. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 13: Life Messaging OPPORTUNITY Outdoor tours differ in length. Some take just a couple of hours and some take days. While you are on tour for a 1-2-3 day trip use your smartphone to update and document SOLUTION Share pictures pictures pictures. Tag your experience. Engage your guests to your pictures and post them immediately on do so as well. Invite people at home to Facebook or flickr. Share it with your followers and follow your updates in real time. fans and get them hooked in to do the next tour with you. Always let them know what your plans are. > TOOLS Use your smartphine/iPhone. Many apps allow updates via eMail like Tumblr, blogger, Facebook and even Twitter is a nice tool to use again. Its fast Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions and simple. Anticipated revenue impact: moderate FOLLOW UPDATES Brand Authenticity: Close Social Experience:  GET NOTIFIED Works best with: SHARE THIS >
  • 26. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 14: Partnerships OPPORTUNITY Team up with other organizations like DMOs and you can launch way more engaging social media campaigns online. Make it valuable for both of your customers. SOLUTION 1) Develop customized booking widgets and buttons and ask tourism partners to integrate them on their sites. 2) Partner up with other marketing departments and create campaigns for both of your customers. Help customers to find and > easily book your tours. TOOLS Start with linking to each others sites and campaigns. Customize your facebook and landing pages. Integrate “Book Now” buttons and smart widgets Strategic Impact: wide Call-to-Actions whenever it makes sense. Let people Anticipated revenue impact: moderate check the availability of a tour on other Brand Authenticity: Far FOLLOW UPDATES sites as well. Social Experience:  GET NOTIFIED Works best with: SHARE THIS >
  • 27. Design & Idea Marc-Oliver® USE CASE 15: YOUR FRONT DESK OPPORTUNITY Your front desk is an island for engagement. A hub where you can invite your guest to write reviews, participate in fun contests or just stay in contact with you. Offer at least SOLUTION Link to your social media hubs. Invite something. People won’t ask you for people to write a review about your tour and thank your business card, they will ask: Are them with a contest or prize. you on facebook or twitter? > TOOLS Many tools are available: Start with a poster or message boards. Something that creates attention and looks interesting and nice, not loveless. Strategic Impact: narrow Call-to-Actions Anticipated revenue impact: moderate FOLLOW UPDATES Brand Authenticity: Close Social Experience:  VOTE Works best with: WRITE REVIEWS >
  • 28. THAT’S IT! SO, LET’S GO AND PLAY Intelligence and analytics will drive everything: make it part of your strategy before and after creative development.
  • 29. THANK YOU for taking the time. Fill your senses with more highlights of my work, read the juicy bits about me, or find out why you should hire me. YOU ARE AN AGENCY & STAY TUNED WANT TO HIRE ME? Upcoming blog posts on blog.flip- digital.com where I write about Please contact me. I’d love to hear social media and creative from you. Find out more on linkedin excellence, here in beautiful British Columbia. Subscribe to RSS now
  • 30. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Marc-Oliver is an award- winning independent digital brand designer and social media strategist. He spent the last 10 years working with advertising agencies, Fortune 500 brands, and start-ups to create design and strategy for engaging, effective, and elegant digital experiences. On his blog he writes about highly creative social media strategies & posts inspiring prototypes for the future web. He lives and skis in the Ski Resort Whistler, BC, Canada. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License. 1