Can Social Media make an impact on Travel and Tourism?

The internet has long been a key component of technology in the travel world. Recent surveys continue to trend upwards in figures that indicate travellers are researching and booking more and more of their travel online. While traditionally the domain of the major websites offering cutthroat airline fares and all the accompaniments, today the online marketplace has expanded into many offerings. The question often asked, though, is: can social media make an impact on travel and tourism?

The Answer

The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Social media – and by the term I include everything from blogs to forums to microblogging (a.k.a. Twitter) – provides a completely new paradigm for interaction with customers. It’s a truly global platform that breaks down barriers. Companies in all sectors are finding new ways using social media to:
• provide remarkable customer service
• listen to what customers are saying in the marketplace and respond accordingly
• extend their real-world brands beyond their current geographic restrictions

These same things can happen – indeed, are happening – in the world of travel and tourism.

The Proof

When writing my eBook Preparing for Takeoff: 7 Common Mistakes Businesses Make Online, a free download from my website that introduces small travel businesses to social media, I didn’t rely on hearsay or obtuse statistical analysis to determine if social media was making an impact. I went and asked companies who were successful and were using these new technologies what they thought. All agreed that social media was a worthwhile investment of their time and energy; all agreed that social media was where the future was for their marketing strategies and for building intimate relationships with customers.

For example, some of the success stories included:
• a small hotel that makes $10,000 just from using social media to fill in last minute cancellations
• an amusement park that uses social media to engage customers and build excitement during their off season, previously an untapped market
• a hidden-away visitor bureau that utilizes social media as a storytelling platform to build on their destination’s unique experience


The Next Step

A common theme in all social media success stories in the travel sector is a single idea: they’re doing something. Yes, social media is a new communications medium that will take some time to really appreciate what it is capable of. To keep things in perspective, we’ve had our various television and direct mail campaigns for many years and people are figuring out the best way to approach these mediums. But if travel and tourism firms don’t get out there and explore this new territory, they’ll soon be left behind by competitors that will. After all, in this industry, having the best tourist experience isn’t good enough anymore. You’ve got to get to your customer at the same time (or before) everyone else does and convince the customer that you’re the best.

To find out more, visit my website Sharing Experiences where you can learn more about me and download the eBook.

Views: 179

Tags: blogs, media, social, tourism, travel, twitter

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of 38minutes to add comments!

Join 38minutes

Comment by Andy Hayes on June 22, 2009 at 11:59
Hi Richard, good question.

I've been in touch with a contact there but haven't heard back. What I do know from my own research is that they have a lot of web real estate, with several blogs and event-specific sites.

If you look here you will see that Homecoming itself has its own presence on a number of social media outlets.

VisitScotland has a Twitter presence but it doesn't seem to be interacting much - I asked Scotland questions on two separate occasions and didn't get a reply. I found one Facebook group for them but it's a closed group so I can't tell you how many people are in it. Their Flickr photostream has quite a few nice photos but everything is restricted - no creative commons rights.

I've probably bored you to tears by now but I hope that's answered your question.
Comment by Richard Saville-Smith on June 21, 2009 at 21:16
Hi Andy, Any comment on what Visit Scotland are doing with social media - particularly in the context of Homecoming Scotland??
Comment by Andy Hayes on June 21, 2009 at 11:13
Thanks Stuart - you're exactly right. I kept hearing over and over again comments like "social media extended far beyond where our advertising budget ended" and "combining print media strategies and social media works in so many ways the old model didn't." It was all very empowering for these small outfits and I hope we can do the same here in Scotland/Northern Ireland, which seems to me the "ideal customer" (lack of a better word) for using social media.
Comment by Stuart Cosgrove on June 21, 2009 at 9:08
Fascinating subject Andy and one that can really assist economies in Scotland and Northern Ireland where there are 'image' problems to overcome, and a multiplicity of micro-businessses such as Bed and Breakfast trying to engage with the 'randomness' of their customer base.

Members

Latest Network Activity

Chris Goodwin posted a video

Film Club Mascot

I created this video for a charity's film club when I was a volunteer with them. Sadly the charity has since closed so you can't see the video any more so I'...
2 hours ago
Ridha Lachhab added a discussion to the group Wanted; Jobs, Skills, Resource
Thumbnail

UX Designer - Edinburgh

Hi all,I'm currently looking to speak to experienced User Experience Designers interested in considering permanent roles based in Edinburgh.My client is a growing, independent software consultancy, which works with a diverse range of businesses in the UK and Internationally (their client list is hugely impressive!).Responsibilities will include:Create effective and beautiful interfaces; recognise the importance of every design decision, not just those relating to aesthetics.Embrace a…See More
yesterday
Profile IconCathleen O'Grady, Gordon Campbell, FRANK KWABENA and 2 more joined 38minutes
Sunday
Karl Smith posted a status
"Just back from Bangalore after presenting innovation film to clients, it's nice to see Edinburgh"
Friday
Karl Smith updated their profile
Friday
Frank McGowan joined Douglas Dougan's group
Thumbnail

Screenwriting

A networking group for screenwriters. Come and make connections, talk, share ideas, information and resources, or just procrastinate from that scene you're writing. We also welcome writers from other fields interested in writing for screen.See More
Friday
Frank McGowan joined Brian Baglow's group
Thumbnail

Scottishgames

BRAND NEW 38 Minutes presence of the Scottishgames.net website, which covers everything to do with interactivity in Scotland. All of it. Right?See More
Friday
Frank McGowan joined David Brown's group
Thumbnail

Wanted; Jobs, Skills, Resource

WANTED: skills, services, and products
Friday

Companies, Groups and Organizations.

Contributors

38minutes is run by a small group of
volunteers, including:

 

Nicola Sinclair

Site editor

 

 

 

Gavin Robertson

Groups Co-ordinator

 

 

 

Espen Brunborg

Runs the Web group

 

 

 

Ashley Smith Hammond

Runs Digital Innovation group

 

 

 

Frank McGowan

Runs TV & Film group

 

 

 

Brian Baglow

Runs Gaming group

 

 

 

Would you like to volunteer? Get in touch!

Photos

Loading…
  • Add Photos
  • View All

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

© 2014   Created by Nicola Sinclair.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service