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

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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THE ADVENTURER 2.0
TOP SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS FOR
TOUR OPERATORS                                                                                         rness
                                                                                                 Cleve e!
                                                                                                    insid

Author: 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
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.
                                                                                     What others say:
                                                                                     “An excellent template to outline and present
                                                                                     creative social media ideas and options to a
                                                                                     specific industry.” Social Media Today




* 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.
“67 % complain there is too much advertising:
Forget messages, create experiences and conversation.”
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.
“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”
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
LET’S GO Enjoy your opportunities.
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
                                      >
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:

                                     >
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
                                        >
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
                                      >
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
                                          >
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
                                          >
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
                                      >
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
                                      >
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
                                      >
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
                                         >
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
                                      >
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
                                         >
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
                                          >
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
                                        >
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
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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.
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 AND
 WANT TO HIRE ME?                      SUBSCRIBE
 Please contact me. I’d love to hear   Upcoming blog posts on blog.flip-
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 http://www.linkedin.com/in/           Columbia.
 marcoliver 	

                                       Subscribe to my blog:
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                                       flipdigitalBlog
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

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

  • 1. THE ADVENTURER 2.0 TOP SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS FOR TOUR OPERATORS rness Cleve e! insid Author: 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. What others say: “An excellent template to outline and present creative social media ideas and options to a specific industry.” Social Media Today * 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 AND WANT TO HIRE ME? SUBSCRIBE Please contact me. I’d love to hear Upcoming blog posts on blog.flip- from you. digital.com where I write about social media and creative Find out more on: excellence, here in beautiful British http://www.linkedin.com/in/ Columbia. marcoliver Subscribe to my blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ flipdigitalBlog
  • 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