Tag Archive for: tourism

Social Media Is Your Partner in Travel Branding

It’s no secret that today more than ever, digital branding in travel and tourism matters.

According to Google, only 9% of travelers know the brand they want to book with when they start their digital travel search.  This is both an opportunity and a challenge for hotels, airlines and even destinations.

Does this mean consumers have no loyalty? Well, yes and no. It’s well documented that increasingly, people want experiences over things and travelers today lead that trend. Today’s travelers need one of at least two things: a unique experience (for which they will usually pay more) and on-demand information about pricing. It’s more important than ever that your brand is front and center during all phases of research. It also means that your brand needs to reinforce the experience using digital.

Social Media Throughout The Customer Travel Experience

Social media is useful in all phases, but especially the exploratory phase. The exploratory phase is where initial budgets expand as experiences cement themselves. For example, a traveler may be thinking of going to Hawaii, and every airline flies there. But what airlines make the journey even more special? What location has the most unusual once-in-a-lifetime experiences? And how are real people experiencing those experiences? Integrating the day-to-day experience of the visitor on social media helps the travel shopper see themselves in the experience.  Moreover, today’s traveler wants to see a blend of “glossy” travel pictures combined with unfiltered real life.

But it’s more than that. Once the experience is over, what is your brand doing to reinforce their experience? Do you have a program in place which allows them to easily share their experience via social media? Do YOU share their experience back to them? That’s the cementing of brand loyalty and word of mouth almost all travel brands miss. How are you engaging your customers using digital while they are on-site? What can you do to turn complaints into delightful experiences? How can you show you’re engaged with their entire experience?

The other reason this is important is that the mobile experience is front and center. eMarketer predicted that in 2017, mobile bookings would surpass 40% of digital travel sales. Mobile is social and social is mobile. According to Expedia, 27% of Millennials have posted a potential trip on social media to canvas opinions before booking! Obviously, your website needs to be mobile-friendly, but how on-par is your social branding and advertising?

Does it provide a direct experience for booking?

Are you using chatbots on social to improve customer service?

How can you radically improve the investigation and booking phases using digital?

Convenience is exceptionally important to today’s traveler, who have embraced single-site travel booking experiences. BUT, today’s traveler is ALSO looking for boutique experiences, something particularly unique and for that, it’s almost better if it isn’t on a single-site because it gives the air of uniqueness. So balancing the booking trends with experience demand is important, and social media leads in this regard, because you have the change to meet the consumer where they are.

Millennials Don’t “Own” Social Media Travel

These technologies, like chatbots and mobile-friendly booking, are no longer for just the largest brands. They accessible and important for today’s traveler of all ages. It’s easy to think only “millennial” travelers are using these tools, but it’s simply not true. Consider that GenX’ers are in their mid-to-late forties already and their perfectly comfortable on Instagram and Facebook as well. According to Nielsen, Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group.

If you’re looking to engage your potential and current audience in social media and digital branding for travelers, please contact us. We have ideas and most importantly the resources, to step up your digital travel branding in every phase of the experience.

Social advertising is here to stay, but with all the options available many brands don’t feel comfortable with the many options, formats, and platforms available. For travel, tourism and lifestyle brands, social advertising is the pre-eminent form of advertising because it so brilliantly works with your customer funnel, your PR and your branding.

If this sounds like you, please keep reading. If you’re feeling 100% in control of such questions such as how much you should spend, how exactly to target your audience and what format makes the most sense for you then I’ll save you some time, you don’t need this blog post.

How much should I spend on social advertising?

Without a doubt, this is the most common question we encounter.

Every business starts with answering this question with a clear understanding of the Lifetime Value (LTV) of customers. A good rule of thumb is your ad buy should be a 3:1  LTV: Cost to Aquire over a 12 month period. For luxury brands or boutique brands that ratio may vary, slightly, but that’s a good rule of thumb.

The next question is “what will I get for this spend?” Again, an absolutely fair question and we have a process for determining this and ways to maximize your spend.

In social advertising, especially Facebook advertising, it’s exceptionally important that you’re clear on your objectives.  Is your objective awareness of recent PR?  Perhaps you’re announcing a new luxury service and want to increase reservations. We can help you identify the most effective objectives for your budget and optimize your ad spend. It’s also very important that your social ads match the customer journey, that’s one of the advantages of social advertising.

How to target your social advertising audience?

All digital advertising includes remarketing tactics, but social advertising also includes very sophisticated other ways to target and this data gets incredibly insightful when using Google Analytics to identify existing web traffic. That’s one small tactic that saves time.

Using all the existing digital data at our disposal is important. Social advertising audiences can even target competitors’ potential customers. There’s an endless number of ways to target audiences, and this is the rub, because frankly, from junk audiences come junk results. Your audiences should also match the ad’s destination for customer phase. For example, there’s no use sending a cold audience direct to a sell page, people unfamiliar with your brand will rarely purchase immediately. Spending time allowing your audiences to get to know you and your place in their lives will save you thousands in acquisition costs, but selecting the right audience for this message is paramount and then how to follow up those ads as the customer moves through the funnel is equally important.

Where should you place your ads?

Even once you narrow it down to a platform or two, in the case of Facebook, there is an overwhelming number of ad placement choices. Understanding the pros and cons of each is important, but even more important is understanding how each of those placements matches your objectives. There are no inherently bad ad placements, only bad ad strategies.

What do I do with all this brand content?

It wasn’t too long ago that obtaining organic reach on social media wasn’t that difficult. Today, the algorithms of (at least two) social media platforms throttle organic reach. Much has been written about that, but the real issue is what to do with your social posts? Are Page Like ads useful? When do I boost a post? Can Instagram drive traffic to my website? All these questions are absolutely relevant and your answer will be based on your strategies and KPIs. There are times where we make recommendations about KPIs that are more current to today’s ad choices and social media atmosphere, then there are times where we can help you match your existing KPIs to perfectly great ad strategies. Don’t forget that there are ways to supercharge your organic content by including user-generated content and well-earned PR. Today it’s more important than ever to integrate all your efforts into your social advertising spend.

Besides social media advertising, what are my options?

Look, with very few exceptions, social media advertising is part of a modern, healthy advertising strategy. Are there other organic options? Absolutely, and they’re probably important to evaluate as part of your marketing strategy. Creating branded content, on your platforms and on existing social media platforms, isn’t “out,” it’s simply changed.

If you’re interested in an evaluation of your expected social media advertising results, email us for a free social media audit.