If there was one word to describe the 21st century, it might be “social.” Everyone who is anybody wants to connect on social media, and the travel industry has been taken by storm by the advent of these popular networking sites.
Whether it’s posting photos on Instagram, sending out tweets on Twitter or creating Vine videos, tour and activity providers are encouraged to engage with their past, present and future customers.
You might be wondering though, is it essential to participate in the world of social media, and will those marketing efforts pay off in the end?
When you focus on building your brand on social media, you will earn the trust of your customers. In fact, 92 percent of consumers trust earned media — including social media and reviews — over other traditional types of advertising.
Quite frankly, your customers expect you to have a presence on social media. Nearly 85 percent of customers expect businesses to be active on the most relevant social networking sites.
Travelers look to social media in order to gather inspiration for their upcoming trips. Approximately 36 percent of online travel customers cite social media as a major influence over their destination selections, and one in three American travelers used social media as a main source of inspiration for their trips.
Social media plays a critical role in the planning stages of any vacation. About 52 percent of travelers noted that they changed their travel plans as a result of information they discovered on social media.
In addition, travelers are talking with their friends on social media before making any travel-related decisions. About 87 percent of people under the age of 34 use Facebook to get advice from their friends before making any reservations or online bookings.
Ultimately, your social media presence will increase your online bookings. Nearly 50 percent of travel companies note that social media has generated direct bookings for their business.
You will want to create posts that target future customers who might be interested in your products, posts that encourage interaction with travelers currently in the area, and posts that will engage previous customers who might be likely to leave a review or recommend your company to others.
Integrate your social networking platforms with your online booking system, allowing your guests to book directly from your social media pages.
Equip your tour buses with Wi-Fi so that your guests can post about their experiences immediately, ultimately increasing your online presence and your engagement metrics on social media.
For more information on the latest social media techniques, read our social media ebook today.