TOP SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS FOR TOUR OPERATORS

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TOP SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS FOR TOUR OPERATORS

  1. 1. Author: Marc-Oliver Gern© March 29th, 2010, http://blog.flip-digital.com THE ADVENTURER 2.0 TOP SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS FOR TOUR OPERATORS 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 Cleverness inside!
  2. 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. * 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. What others say: “An excellent template to outline and present creative social media ideas and options to a specific industry.” Social Media Today
  3. 3. “67 % complain there is too much advertising: Forget messages, create experiences and conversation.”
  4. 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. Influence Influence Engage Inspire, Surprise, Invite Play, Offer, Enter, Share etc. Influence
  5. 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. 6. CUSTOMER WALK THROUGH 2nd touchpoint: Google leads customer to website, reviews, facebook page. 3rd tp: Customer signs up for newsletter, fan page or twitter. 1st touchpoint: Customer starts trip with Google Search. Make sure he finds your sites and reviews. 4rth tp: Customer starts trip with car, plane, train etc. Great chance to invite him to learn more about your brand. 5th tp: Arrives at the destination. Now you can offer him additional links to different booking hubs and offer specials. (Group bookings, Holiday Specials etc.) 6th tp: Customer checks in for tour or gathers more information. Time again to invite him again to follow you on twitter or fb. Offer specials for fans and followers online. 7th tp: Guest is on tour. Depending on the lenght of the trip – chance for life updates on fb and twitter. 8th tp: Time for guides to interact with the customer, tell stories and catch their interest for other things your company is doing. 9th tp: End of tour and check out: Invite guest via incentive, gift to review your guide, product etc. Open a „gate“ for more interaction online via your online specials. Give them a reason to return. 10th tp: Manage your picts and videos effectively and invite guest to check them out again. or- to share his own impression on your social media hub 11th tp: Guest left destination. Time to interact and engage your former customers with specials and news or other products. Keep up the relationship. Using home/office computer, talking to friends Equipped with smartphones, brochures, prints from the web Gathered additional information from channels on the plane, local info centers etc. Discovered posters, chatted with locals, asked concierge for best adventures in town Equipped with smartphone, twitter, foursquare, web access Equipped with smartphone, twitter, foursquare, web access Equipped with info to access other social media hubs and stay connected Customer has access to the following tools via his trip: Start trip End trip The following chart provides a visual impression of some important questions: •  When do customers use which tools? What apps & content do they have access to? •  Throughout the various pressure points of the marketing funnel, how do your customers interact with the brand? (based on user bahaviour) •  When is the right time to interact with the customer?
  7. 7. CUSTOMER WALK THROUGH 2nd touchpoint: Google leads customer to website, reviews, facebook page. 3rd tp: Customer signs up for newsletter, fan page or twitter. 1st touchpoint: Customer starts trip with Google Search. Make sure he finds your sites and reviews. 4rth tp: Customer starts trip with car, plane, train etc. Great chance to invite him to learn more about your brand. 5th tp: Arrives at the destination. Now you can offer him additional links to different booking hubs and offer specials. (Group bookings, Holiday Specials etc.) 6th tp: Customer checks in for tour or gathers more information. Time again to invite him again to follow you on twitter or fb. Offer specials for fans and followers online. 7th tp: Guest is on tour. Depending on the lenght of the trip – chance for life updates on fb and twitter. 8th tp: Time for guides to interact with the customer, tell stories and catch their interest for other things your company is doing. 9th tp: End of tour and check out: Invite guest via incentive, gift to review your guide, product etc. Open a „gate“ for more interaction online via your online specials. Give them a reason to return. 10th tp: Manage your picts and videos effectively and invite guest to check them out again. or- to share his own impression on your social media hub 11th tp: Guest left destination. Time to interact and engage your former customers with specials and news or other products. Keep up the relationship. Using home/office computer, talking to friends Equipped with smartphones, brochures, prints from the web Gathered additional information from channels on the plane, local info centers etc. Discovered posters, chatted with locals, asked concierge for best adventures in town Equipped with smartphone, twitter, foursquare, web access Equipped with smartphone, twitter, foursquare, web access Equipped with info to access other social media hubs and stay connected Customer has access to the following tools via his trip: Start trip End trip
  8. 8. THE BASICS A list of basic digital marketing strategies every tour operator could start with. Provide knowledge via WIKIS – to strengthen the brand values 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 YouTube your work – to strengthen local grassroots visibility
  9. 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. 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 • Stories about wildlife & environment • Stories about people (Guides, locals, etc.) • Stories about green living and doing good • Unique facts about the tours itself • 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 NO• Politics • Environmental issues • Be careful with addressing social issues • Fictionary stories (don’t try to pimp!) • Local Disasters if its just messages and notes
  11. 11. CONCEPT OF THE NEXT SLIDES Example Call-to- Actions give you always a good idea on how you should write the copy and layout the site. Solution: This section gives you an idea of a sample option, based on best practices. Take the design drafts as an inspiration. Names are fictitious. Tools: A list of some tools that work best in combination with your idea/goal. Opportunity I discoverd your needs and identified business and communication goals. Filters: Help you to adjust and prioritize your ideas.
  12. 12. LET’S GO Enjoy your opportunities.
  13. 13. 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 and efficiency. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow moderate Far   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. 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. > ENTER TO WIN PARTICIPATE REGISTER NOW Call-to-Actions USE CASE 1: Tour Cancellation Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  14. 14. 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 maintain. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow moderate Far   SOLUTION Use your ads, brochures, posters to invite people to check in with foursquare and such. 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. 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 reward them with special customized deals. > CHECK-IN SEND REVIEW Call-to-Actions USE CASE 2: Reward Loyalty Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  15. 15. TOOLS 70% of customers have participated in a brand sponsored contest online on Facebook. Every 2nd user on Facebook sent personal gifts to their friends. With a large community already familiar with using basic gift and reward tools on Facebook, there is something for sure you can build on here! > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow high Close    SOLUTION The Facebook app FBML offers the chance to customize your fan page with a few clicks. 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. 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 gifts. Create a unique experience for an unique moment. > SEND AS A GIFT ENTER Call-to-Actions USE CASE 3: National Holidays & Personal Gifts CLAIM COUPON Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  16. 16. TOOLS When it comes to organizing and bringing together lots of people for an event - yet again, Facebook is the number one player.  Eventbrite is as simple to use, but due to the lack of community not an option I would recommend. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow high Close    SOLUTION Always conforming to your brand, make the event fun & unique then integrate a competitive 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 office. 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 seasons to boost your business with local visitors. > PARTICIPATE ENTER Call-to-Actions USE CASE 4: Shoulder Season & Local Events NOTIFY ME Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  17. 17. TOOLS Twitter has proven to be an incredible way to raise money. Facebook Causes is another excellent tool for launching a cause online (be sure to connect it to your fan page!). Another great idea is to build a special tool like a Donator-O-Meter. Give your activities a visual people can remember with ease. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow moderate Close     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 incredible good job. 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. > PARTICIPATE EXPLORE NOW Call-to-Actions USE CASE 5: Doing Good & Being Green DONATE NOW Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  18. 18. 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, harness Facebook to launch contests and microsites where people can come back and check thier knowledge. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow moderate Close     SOLUTION Encourage your guests to test their knowledge on Facebook, let them participate in a 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. 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 facts and stats about your best adventures. Natural way to engage kids. > PARTICIPATE ENTER Call-to-Actions USE CASE 6: Eco Education DONATE NOW Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  19. 19. TOOLS Facebook, Youtube, Vimeo, flickr and your own website are all useful tools for uploading large numbers of pictures and videos. Some of them already have a large community, where you can create groups and invite people to check out what you post, and share their impressions. Great Tip: Link maps to your pictures. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: wide moderate Far    SOLUTION (Geo)-Tag your pictures & videos. You can also use watermarks. If you have more financial resources build your own site so people can view 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. 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 available online at all times - use them to continually drive people back on your website. > SHARE UPLOAD Call-to-Actions USE CASE 7: Photos & Videos RATE NOW Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  20. 20. TOOLS Use YouTube to tell your story in motion pictures. This tool makes it easy for you to track the comments and reactions from the viewers. Facebook as well is a good tool to share videos and launch such an “online event”. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: wide high Close     SOLUTION Invite people to come with you on the greatest adventure of their life. You give something away for free, now you can ask for something in 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 with their event “The best job in the world.” 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 buzz online, hire great staff. Awesome opportunity to increase your online community as well. > BE PART OF IT ENTER&PARTICIPATE Call-to-Actions USE CASE 8: Product Testing SIGN UP Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  21. 21. 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: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow Far Close     custom SOLUTION Collect emails and send an invitation to your customers to rate your tours, guides, whatever. Let them participate in a monthly award show. Make 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. 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 rating and comments they generate to improve your product and customer service. > BE PART OF IT ENTER Call-to-Actions USE CASE 9: Award Programs SIGN UP Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  22. 22. 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: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow moderate Far   SOLUTION Talk, write, snap and tweet about it. You can also announce the special tour in advance and document it online in real-time. Just make it 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. 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 it creates lots of buzz online. If media is on tour, ask for permission to publish their stuff later on your own websites. > FOLLOW UPDATES RETWEET THIS Call-to-Actions USE CASE 10: Celebrities & Media Tours SHARE THIS Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  23. 23. TOOLS This is great storytelling and you do that best via a video on YouTube. Its probably also great to know that people spend more hours watching YouTube videos than watching TV. One or the other way: Launching an event online is getting more and more popular. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: wide high Close     SOLUTION Always listen closely to your guests and take note of their questions. What are they asking?: “How fast can you ...” or “How long is ...” or “Whats 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 with MYTHBUSTERS. 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 and create a question around it. Answer that question online. What? Just keep on reading... > WATCH THIS DOWNLOAD NOW Call-to-Actions USE CASE 11: Superlatives SHARE THIS Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  24. 24. TOOLS Use tools enabling people to interact with each other and encourage those people on your tour to push their limits. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: wide moderate Close    SOLUTION Play with taking away peoples fear of heights (works for any tours that deal with great 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 people bet online – if she/he can do it or not. 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 a way or chance for them to get over this fear. > VOTE NOW BET & WIN Call-to-Actions USE CASE 12: Personal Fears, barriers SHARE THIS Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  25. 25. 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 and simple. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow moderate Close    SOLUTION Share pictures pictures pictures. Tag your pictures and post them immediately on Facebook or flickr. Share it with your followers and fans and get them hooked in to do the next tour with you. Always let them know what your plans are. 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 your experience. Engage your guests to do so as well. Invite people at home to follow your updates in real time. > FOLLOW UPDATES GET NOTIFIED Call-to-Actions USE CASE 13: Life Messaging SHARE THIS Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  26. 26. TOOLS Start with linking to each others sites and campaigns. Customize your facebook and landing pages. Integrate “Book Now” buttons and smart widgets whenever it makes sense. Let people check the availability of a tour on other sites as well. > Strategic Impact: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: wide moderate Far    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. 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. > FOLLOW UPDATES GET NOTIFIED Call-to-Actions USE CASE 14: Partnerships SHARE THIS Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  27. 27. 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: Anticipated revenue impact: Brand Authenticity: Social Experience: Works best with: narrow moderate Close    SOLUTION Link to your social media hubs. Invite people to write a review about your tour and thank them with a contest or prize. 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 something. People won’t ask you for your business card, they will ask: Are you on facebook or twitter? > FOLLOW UPDATES VOTE Call-to-Actions USE CASE 15: YOUR FRONT DESK WRITE REVIEWS Design & Idea Marc-Oliver®
  28. 28. SO, LET’S GO AND PLAY THAT’S IT! Intelligence and analytics will drive everything: make it part of your strategy before and after creative development.
  29. 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. STAY TUNED AND SUBSCRIBE Upcoming blog posts on blog.flip- digital.com where I write about social media and creative excellence, here in beautiful British Columbia. Subscribe to my blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ flipdigitalBlog YOU ARE AN AGENCY & WANT TO HIRE ME? Please contact me. I’d love to hear from you. Find out more on: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ marcoliver
  30. 30. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License. 1 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.

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