Tourism and Social Media Disconnect

There Is a Disconnect Between Tourism and Social Media 

Why is tourism still trying to figure out if social media is worth the effort?

“After using social media to research bookings, only 48% of travelers stuck with their original plan”

There is a disconnect between tourism and social media and this aversion to new technology has always been an issue in the industry. At one time having a website was deemed unnecessary.  In fact the only way businesses tracked success online was by the number of email bookings they received in their inbox. How they received those bookings and where the initial interest stems from has never been much of a concern.  When asked where they got most of those bookings from, the common answer was, “our website”.  We would then follow up our question with, “how did they find your website?” Silence. A majority of businesses had no idea what was directing travelers to their websites. But times are changing fast and understanding the fundamentals of the booking channel are becoming more important in order to maintain current booking levels!

Tourism and Social Media

Associations Don’t Teach Tourism and Social Media

For over 20+ years we have been teaching and preaching to the front line tourism businesses how the cycle of online bookings work.  You see, we feel we have an obligation to because too many regional tourism associations don’t spend a lot of time on education and our customers are asking for help. Unfortunately, too many regional tourism associations (not all) do not make the time to teach front line tourism businesses the skills to run a successful online social media and content marketing campaign.  I guess the tourism associations believe if we teach businesses little, “dumb down the population”, the tourism businesses will have to rely on the association for more and more of their marketing which translates into more and more money spent on the tourism association’s marketing materials. Plus, it is hard to teach when you do not fully understand the process. 

“Only 9% of DMOs believe they have “a cutting edge digital strategy”. 55% try their best to stay digitally relevant but struggle.” (TrekkSoft, 2017)

Tourism and Social media

In too many cases the tourism associations want the tourism businesses to rely on them only. Sounds like a monopoly-mentality to me. The best way to accomplish this is to educate the masses as little as possible but enough to keep them interested. Customers tell us, if and when, the associations try to educate their membership they tend to use big words, complicated graphs and are condescending in their presentations. What we have heard from many front line tourism businesses is that associations are interested in only two things:  (1) collecting membership fees and (2) selling the benefits of advertising in their marketing materials and platforms. 

Brain Up On Tourism and Social Media Relationships

So… it comes as no surprise in my presentations that travel businesses do not understand the fundamentals of what tourism and social media can do together.  We hear things like, “It doesn’t work”, “I do not have time”, and “I do not know how”.  In many cases why we get this response is simple. Businesses understand bookings and not process. Hence why I start my social media presentations with, “travelers do not book on social media”. Lets set the record straight – social media is an awareness tool putting your business front and centre among peer groups and target markets which then can translate into bookings. An awareness campaign is a big part of the booking channel.” 

“71% of travellers who have had a good social media travel experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. (Source: Ambassador)”

Start Fishing For Travelers With Social Media

To be successful in tourism and social media in today’s changing travel landscape requires creating an awareness campaign. The fundamental rule of such a campaign is to create as much quality content online as possible. Spread your message as far and wide as you can. The more content and social media posts online connecting with different target markets the more “hooks in the internet sea” you have for catching the attention of travelers.  Once a tourism business has caught the attention of the traveler they will research their business further. This is important as online tourism look-to-book ratios are at an all time high. 

“Online Travel look-to-book ratio 4500:1” (Source: Pegasus Solutions – largest global processor of hotel transactions). 

Tourism and Social Media

“Travellers spent an average of 53 days visiting 28 different websites, blogs over a period of 76 online sessions, with more than 50% of travelers checking social media for travel tips.” (Source: Nielsen Research, 2016)

Tourism and social media is a powerful partnership and when taught how to correctly use social media one has a big advantage over their competitors now, and more importantly, in the future. However, posting for the sake of posting is not maximizing your efforts. There is a skill to posting on social media. Each platform appeals to a different audience and requires a different set of rules for maximizing posts. Take the time to learn each platform you are using. Better yet, invite us to present to your group, and we guarantee you will not be disappointed in our show and tell performance. 

Creating Loyalty Is Your Best Marketing Tool 

Tourism businesses should learn how each platform works and how to target your posts and tag influencers.  Social media is not going anywhere soon.  The goal of content creation techniques and tools is to create awareness among groups who do not know your business. Create enough awareness or interest all over the internet and more and more people will share your content therefore increasing your awareness. When travelers start to follow your social media page you have created another loyal customer and one that will share your posts when you appeal to their hot buttons.  Creating loyal customers is one rule that has not changed. 

“Success in business comes from loyal customers, the same customers who will boast about your project or service, and bring their friends along with them.” 

Tourism and Social Media

Do not underestimate the effectiveness of tourism and social media together. Start an awareness campaign today and post quality content regularly. Take the time to learn the ins-and-outs of each platform. Heck, start with just one social media page and learn that platform first. Social media is not going away, but businesses who fail to take advantage of this tool will slowly slip away and lose their competitive edge. Why do you ask? Because the fastest growing group of travelers exploring Canada is creating a new landscape for booking travel online and how they go about it will impact businesses. 

“95% of online adults aged 18-35 are most likely to follow a brand via social networking.” (Source: MarketingSherpa)

Here are few more statistics from “Smart Insights” to ponder as you decide on what your next move will be in your social media marketing campaign. 

“55% of people like social media pages related to trips they are planning.”

“52% of Facebook users said friends photos inspired travel plans.”

“After using social media to research bookings, only 48% of travelers stuck with their original plan”

Did You Know We Are Tourism and Social Media

ehCanadaTravel.com provides 14 content creation and social media marketing tools for our tourism businesses who register and wish to participate on our website. (register your business today)

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As Seen On: CBC, Huffington Post, Canada.com, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Cottage Life Magazine,  TravelTV.com, Travel Industry Today, Yukon Life, TAPS Magazine, HUB Magazine
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