Social media in tourism

Social media in tourism

HANNIFFA
PATTERSON

Friday, February 14, 2020

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Social media has permeated every area of business; it is valuable and works in some way or form — everywhere. Today I'll be examining a few tips on using social media in tourism.

Whether you are a tourist board using social media to market your country, a hotel using it to get visitors to your property, or a local attraction trying to get booked tours, the following tips should be helpful to you.

CAPITALISE ON USER-GENERATED CONTENT

Who better to tell the story of a wonderful experience in your country or at your attraction than the people who lived it? Make sure to take advantage of user-generated content.

Ask your visitors to share their photos and videos for a chance to be featured on your social media accounts. Encourage them to use a fun proprietary hashtag, for instance #IhadaSandalsWedding. This will allow you to easily find the photos and videos shared.

People love to have “a chance to…win, be chosen, or be seen” in anything, so give it to them. It is additional and hassle-free, marketing for you and also makes the client happy.

ALWAYS GET REVIEWS

Reviews are a huge aspect of social media as they are a very powerful form of social proof. Always ensure that you get clients and customers to give you a review when possible.

It's also best if you can get the review as quickly after the experience is over as possible, while it is still fresh in their minds. Have a paper form, if necessary, ready at the front desk or on the tour bus.

Alternatively, you could offer a reward for reviewing the company online. Make sure to emphasise to the customer that honest reviews are important; let them know what you are truly seeking as reviews not only provide social proof but are also a good source of feedback.

Believe me, you will learn equally as much from a bad review as you will a good one.

TELL A STORY WITH YOUR BRAND

It's very easy to post a ton of photos online, but I urge you to instead tell the story of your service or product. Through your content you can enable your followers to experience the trip and see themselves there at your hotel, or on your island.

So many places have beaches, but what makes your beach special? Is there a special view at 6pm? How many couples have met or married at your location? Has this shop been in your family for four generations?

Tell a story of “why here, why now, why you” and let your customers find a reason to resonate and build a connection. The quirk that makes you special to them will be the reason they choose you.

AMAZING VISUALS

Social media is heavily visual, as is tourism. Therefore, amazing visuals are essential, not just a good recommendation. Post high-quality, beautiful photos and videos. Blues should be crisp, greens vivid and smiles as big and genuine as they come.

To accomplish this, photos need to be high-quality and well-edited. Images need to be authentic and powerful.

Through your photos and videos, help your customer's memories to seem more real than they can recall, and make their dreams of visiting your country or location more intense than they can refuse.

TOP-NOTCH CUSTOMER SERVICE

Many companies in all industries are yet to see the full value in what I call “social customer service”. As people communicate more online, it's no longer just about giving great content or ensuring they are engaged – its also about ensuring that a communication experience exists and is a quick, consistent and pleasant one.

Great service and care offered during a booking or while offering a tourism experience can easily be shouted from the rooftops online. However, an unpleasant encounter with a driver, front desk staff, vendor or even the bad food will also likely be mentioned in the online space. It is therefore essential that you deliver top-notch customer service.

People use social media on all parts of their tourism journey; maybe in the initial research of their trip they may share their adventures during it and then review and share photos after it's over. It is imperative then that the experience at all stages is a practical and pleasant one. Were they able to ask a question through your website or web page? If they did, was it responded to in a timely manner? If they missed your tour bus can they send you a quick Facebook message to rebook?

And after they returned to their country of abode, and posted pictures and reviews, did you like, tag and reshare their pictures or thank them for their positive reviews on your page?

These five tips are not an exhaustive list on how social media can be used in the tourism industry, but they are good initial areas to consider. Take some time to see if you have been employing them in your business and if not, where could you start?

Hanniffa Patterson is a social media strategist and consultant with over 11 years in the social media space. She helps clients to better understand and use social media in their businesses. She has also lectured on social media and business in universities, both locally and in Paris.

Email hanniffa.patterson@gmail.com with your queries.


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