In continuation with our Facebook marketing series, we are now going to throw some light on how your Travel business can benefit from being on Facebook. As a tour operator or a travel guide or an airline company, you need to convince people to sign you up and let you plan or aid in their vacation. But things have changed now…
The New Tour Guide: World Wide Web
More and more people have been gradually changing the way they plan their holidays. Going to a travel agency's office is a thing of the past now. Vacations are planned right from their homes or offices, via the internet. They get to plan everything by themselves, seeing their convenience and preferences.
People usually choose a destination on the basis of word of mouth or reviews of vacation experiences. This is backed by pricing of the entire trip. Online is the place to market your business and for cashing in on the word of mouth, you need to be on a social network like Facebook.
The Numbers Say It All:
If you are hesitant that- how can an online marketing campaign deliver something that a good old flyer or a leaflet can't. Well, the answer lies in the phenomenal success that these campaigns have brought in. The recent L2 Digital IQ Index for travel report says that – 78% of travel websites get “significant”of referral traffic from social media sites including Facebook. This single report is just one of many surveys and reports stressing the increasing importance of Facebook in driving traffic to the sites.
We came across more statistics supporting how companies are thinking of taking up Facebook and social media quite seriously. According to the 2011 Digital Travel Content and User Experience Survey conducted by Frommer’s Unlimited:
- Almost 2/3rd of travel marketing companies spent more money on Facebook in 2011
- 72% of the 18-24 demographic said that they would share their travel experiences online via Facebook
- 93% of the respondents confirmed that they will search online for their holiday destination before taking a final call on the vacation plan.
These numbers must make this clear for you. Your audience is on Facebook and you must be there-promoting your offers before them!
Bite Into Your Share Of The Pie:
You need to grab your share of the audience from Facebook and pitch them your special offers. Still need some convincing, then here are the main benefits you stand to get from being on Facebook-
- Communicate With Your Customers- Through Facebook, you can make a direct connect with your customers. Keep the existing ones informed about your deals and reach out to new customers.
- Increase Your Brand Visibility- You are on Facebook, a platform shared by everyone, where everyone can see you.
- Brand Monitoring- Being on Facebook brings you in direct contact with the customers and you get their direct feedback. What are the people saying about you? What are they thinking about youre new product? Do you need to settle any ruffled feathers? Well, you can do all that on Facebook! Monitor your brand 24×7.
- Spread Your Word- Facebook has the potential to make your content/offer go viral! If your fans share your content, spread the word, then it will reach to audiences in the blink of an eye. You can convert customers into brand advocates.
- For a new Brand- If you are new in the tour and travel industry, then Facebook is the best foundation to build your brand popularity in the social networking section.
Not only do you get good traffic to your site from Facebook, but also get so much more! The number of benefits from Facebook are many, and multifold. All you have to do is use this tool as a marketing platform smartly.
Facebook Marketing Tips For Travel Industry:
You sell your clients the delights of a beautiful place. The sights and sounds to amaze, excite and enthrall the visitors. That is what you have to do on Facebook. Take your Facebook marketing plan through the 7 wonders of the world. The 7 steps to marketing on Facebook-
Build The Taj Mahal: Create Your Facebook Page
You need to have a Facebook fan page about your travel business. For this, make sure to key in the right information about your services, have a link to your site and related blogs or other sites. This is a quick guide.
This video is quite detailed and provides a step by step guide to create a Facebook business page.
The Landing Page:
The landing page of your fan page has to be phenomenal. Why? Because this is the first thing people will see about you when they reach your page. The landing page has to be interesting enough to make people click on the LIKE page. It can incorporate the following-
- What You Do
- Any Special Offers
- Any Discounts Running
- Any Incentive Being Provided to LIKE The Page
- Links To Your Site/Blog/Offers Page
- Pictures Of The Locations Your Fly To/Arrange Trips To
See for example the landing page of American Airlines, that incorporates a photo contest and the promotion of their mobile apps. It is direct, clear and easy for the user to understand what they want them to do.
Spread Your Arms Like Christ the Redeemer- Welcome All, Get People To LIKE Your Page
So, you are on Facebook and have a fabulous landing page, then what? You need to tell people you are there. This is how you can get people to visit your page- LIKE it- build your fan base.
- Tell people you know to endorse your page on their walls
- LIKE industry pages related to what you do. For instance, for a tour operator, like the pages of tourism departments of various countries. Comment there, get people to notice you.
- Get a Facebook Ad. You can work on small budgets for a Facebook Ad. These are highly targeted, and you will get the right traffic.
- Sign up for a Facebook sponsored story. These are highly effective as they work on the word of mouth basis.
This video here has more on the ways to get people to LIKE your page-
Giveaways and contests work:
Nothing makes people happier than getting stuff for free! So you have to offer them gifts-discounts etc or run a contest so that they like the page for a chance to win something. See for example, the page of Star Cruises, where they are trying to get people to LIKE their page by a simple contest of making them tag their friends and winning a 6 day cruise.
Some ideas for easy contests are:
- Photo Contests
- Quiz On A Place
- Referring The Page To Maximum People (everyone LIKING your page has to write the name of who directed them there. The person getting the maximum 'likers' will win a trip/discount/camera etc!)
See this highly informative slideshow on the contest ideas used by the world's leading airlines-
Hold People Back In The Colosseum- Engage The Visitors With Great Content
Almost 50% of people LIKE a page and then forget all about it. This is what you must not allow to happen. You need to make your page interactive and interesting so that people keep on coming. Do not be self promotional all the time. It can put off your fans. This is how you can make your Status Updates different-
- Post your offers/ discount schemes running.
- Post Interesting Write-ups about tourist destinations- If you operate tours to anywhere in the world, then post unique and informative articles on these destinations- the Eiffel Tower, or the Big Ben or Gateway Of India.
- Give Handy Tips- Tourists want to know, what to wear-eat in a city? Where to stay? Post instersting “How To's” that will help people when they are on a trip.
- Organize Polls- Ask people to vote on something like- the best palace in France or the best waterfall in the USA. Invite them to interact.
- Ask Them To Post Pictures- of their honeymoon, places they have seen in Africa/France/India. Award the best picture.
- Be Open To Inquiries- Allow people to constantly seek information regarding your services or even the tourism industry in general.
- Be Quick In Your Responses- answer a question quickly, soothe an angry feedback smoothly. Respond quickly so that the people feel they are important for you and your business.
The idea is to interact, form a bond with your audience, come across as someone with a heart, and not just a promotional activity. See for example the Facebook page of Mahindra Homestays. They have shared nice blogs, and even invited travel writers, engaging interest and conversation.
Unending Scenery Like the Great Wall of China- Create A Huge Collection Of Photos
In the travel industry, it is all about the sights and people like to be around beautiful scenery. You must put up pictures of what all they are likely to see when they visit these places- beaches, wildlife, heritage sights, historical monuments, local sights, restaurants etc.
Make sure to use original and high quality photographs only. Tag your fans in the photos to make them notice them. The Tourism site of Australia, does that effortlessly, and makes use of these pictures for the maximum effect.
Another example is the Southwest Airlines Facebook page, that has photos of interesting events along with their planes being readied, behind the scenes before flight etc.
If you are promoting an airline, then photography is highly effective in bringing forth the scenery in various destinations.
Relive The Relics Of Machu Picchu- Use Videos To Let Them See How The Experience Will Be
Visuals and audio can engage an audience like nothing else. To be able to see what the real beauty of a place is, hear the sounds of a jungle safari or see the beauty of the Eiffel Tower in the evening, will entice the customers into exploring your offers further. That is why you must post well shot-well edited and informative videos on your page. They can be about-
- A Walk-through guide to a place/site
- A video review of a famous food item of a destination
- A video on how to get by on the roads in a particular city
- A video of people engaging in adventure sports or other leisure activity
- A video on the spa and massage therapies available in the place.
The ideas are never ending and you have to zero in on topics highly relevant to you! See this video tutorial on how to post videos on Facebook-
See how the videos can make a huge impact. The Facebook page of Tourism Squamish has a bunch of videos, where people are shown engaging in adventure sports. How they get the gear ready and how they wrap up- everything is shot and before the viewers to help them decide that they want to climb that rock too!
Invite Them To Visit The Petra- Allow Visitors To Make Bookings
You must always have a tab on your page to allow visitors to make bookings right off your Facebook page. Link the “Book Now” button to your page or have a form on Facebook only. Give emailing options and phone queries options so that people can get in touch quickly and immediately.
The idea is that consumers want travel planning to be easy and you can do that for them by letting them book vacations without having to leave Facebook. Place the booking module on the main landing page. If your page has impressed/convinced the visitors, you can make a sale right there and you’ll want your consumers to be able to make their reservation quickly. So, do embed a booking widget on your page.
See the Facebook page of Carnival Cruise Lines, they have a booking widget and an open direction to the visitors to make bookings.
Gather Them All At The Chichen Itza- Invite People To Join Your Groups
Yes, creating a Facebook group about your business is also advisable. With a page you can market directly and build your brand. But in a group, you can reach out to special interest people and groups. In a group, promote your offers easily with “bulk invite” for good for viral marketing. Groups are great to target demographic by topic. Focus and interact. See this video For more…
The Wondrous Conclusion-
Travel industry runs high on beautiful sights and experiences of a lifetime. Cash in on the excitement. On Facebook- be informative, interesting and interactive. Form a bond with your audience. Be social, it helps!