Social Media for the Travel Industry: Please Secure Your Safety Belts…

When I sat down to write this blog, I did what every self-respecting blogger would do, I Googled the topic to see what others had shared already. Not surprisingly, what I found was an over saturation of the topic from virtually every angle, and realized I needed to do something different.

Step two: Go directly to the source. I reached out to Jessica Slater of Dream Vacations in Acworth, GA, to talk with her about social media and marketing, as a premier travel agent in an ever-shifting industry.

Jessica’s Top Three Social Media Concerns
1. Not reaching as many people as I have followers.
This is a very common concern. The numbers seem to say one thing, but for whatever reason, that doesn’t seem to translate into actionable leads and insights.

Ask yourself a few questions:
a. Are you showing up every day? If not every day, are you at least being consistent?. My personal goal, for both myself and my clients, is to post to social media at least 5 times per week. I get it, sometimes that can seem impossible, but I recommend spending at least some time each week planning out your content, to make consistent posting that much easier. I highly recommend using a content calendar to track what you’ve shared and mapping what you plan to share. Every business needs a well-defined social media strategy. Posting on the go can get sloppy, and usually just doesn’t work.

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b. Are you utilizing more than one platform? If not, you need to be. I would start with Facebook, then Instagram, followed by Pinterest, Twitter, and down the line. Find what platform really works for you, your industry, and reaches the eyeballs you’re looking to reach.

c. Are you creating valuable and interesting content? Vacations pics are serious eye candy, so have fun with them! Encourage your clients to send you photos of their vacation for you to share. Share tips and up to date information about hot vacation deals and destinations. Share hidden gems of places people may not think to even visit.

2. When paying to “boost” a post, the posts don’t seem to reach the people I set in my parameters with regards to demographics.

This can be tricky, but the beauty of Facebook boosted posts is that if you’re not seeing the results you want or expect, you can stop the post right away and edit it. Try posting with just one key demographic audience in mind for testing purposes, and see how that works out before broadening your reach.

Here's a helpful hint - Next time you see an ad in your news feed, click on the three little dots on the top right hand corner of the post. Select "Why am I seeing this??” This may help to trigger some keywords and ideas for you to use in your own ads going forward, thereby reaching the audiences you’re looking to reach.

3. Figuring out how to get more engagement.

Getting people to actually engage with your social media posts is the golden goose. Ask short and sweet, easy to answer questions and action statements.

* "What vacation destination is on your bucket list for 2019?"

* "Where do you absolutely have to get back to?"

* "How many times have you been to Disney World?"

* "Do you just have to escape to the city, or to the country?”

Are you using Instagram Stories!? This is a very popular feature that will easily increase your social media engagement. You can learn more about Instagram Stories, here. Working towards increased engagement ties right back into question #1.

1. Show up.

2. Provide valuable content.

3. Be part of the conversation.

All Aboard!
Every social media platform offers a wide variety of ways to create, share, and distribute content. Whether you’re posting to your Facebook timeline or IGTV on Instagram, there is a preferred place for everyone. Take the time to research where your ideal clients are congregating in the social media sphere and go there.

Ultimately the way to master your social media marketing is to start with a solid plan, show up consistently, and provide valuable, interesting content, or contact your local social media travel agent extraordinaire.

Travel Social with 802Social

Room Service Anyone? Social Media for Hospitality

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While you were going about your normal life, the internet popped up and became the world’s most prominent, committed, and qualified concierge. With just a few clicks, a veritable fount of options, opportunities, and experiences abound for the itinerant traveler, vacationing family, or curious tourist on the go.

Gone are the days of dusty travel posters on travel agency walls, and painful slogans like “When you need it bad, we’ve got it good, when you need it bad come to Florida!” Social media as a whole has become the travel agent, marketing professional, concierge, hotelier, and hospitality specialist all rolled into one.

With Airbnb, HomeAway, traditional hotels, rentals, and resorts all battling it out in the social media landscape jockeying for attention, what is it that separates the spectacular from the merely spectacle? Where would you book a room if you were looking to get away?

The Hostess with the Mostess…
Competition is fierce. You could say it always has been, but with the internet and social media literally at our fingertips 24/7, whether you’re running a restaurant, bar, hotel, or bed and breakfast, the hostess with the mostess is the one who’s going to see real results.

People are putting in hours and hours of time researching and reviewing where they want to spend their money and spend the night, so your business needs to be active and engaged to stay ahead of the curve and excite your audience.

What are they looking for?
No one ever felt connected to a travel poster or brochure, but with social media, you have a way to connect to your audience like you never had before.

1. Discovery – First they have to find you, then they have to be impressed. Go where the eyeballs are. Build a compelling and consistent social media presence and profile to increase your chances of new clientele discovering you. First impressions are critical, so keep your posts professional, interesting, and engaging.

2. Connections – Social media is a two-way street. Your hotel or Airbnb has to be committed to engaging with your audience through social media because that’s where they are. This is where conversations and connections really do matter.

Don’t ignore comments, good or bad. Respond to people honestly and graciously, participate in the conversation and start new ones. At 802Social we have seen a huge bump in folks reaching out by direct messaging us on Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to check your settings for those features so you aren't missing any important messages.

3. DEALS! – Reward your followers and visitors with great deals! If this is something you start to do on a regular basis, people will specifically search you out just to see if there is a last minute social media deal. Maybe it's not an actual lodging discount every time, but a giveaway for a logo'd item, or a pass to a local theater. Either way, your followers will love you for it and will likely spread the word. Who doesn't love a great deal!?

Showcase Your Amenities
You know what you have to do, but the question for a lot of people is how do we do it!? First answer, contact 802Social, and let us lead the charge; but for the real entrepreneurial entrepreneurs out there, here’s a few tricks of the trade.

o Photos, Photos, PHOTOS! – A hotel/resort/rental is an endless source for content through pictures. Happy guests and their stories; the employees who help to make it all happen; behind the scenes antics; sunset views from the balcony, etc. Set yourself apart from the competition by showing off every day.

o Show Up – When you call the front desk, you want someone to answer. Stay consistent with your social media, but by showing up every day. People want to know you’re there. Think of it this way, if you’re "out of sight,” you’re “out of mind." Rally your audience’s attention to you by staying in the spotlight.

o Hashtags – I am pounding my fist on the desk as I say this: use hashtags in your Instagram posts! When researching a vacation/lodging destination, searching hashtags is like a secret passage to exactly what you’re clientele is looking for, so you want to be there at the end of the tunnel. Hashtags like #petfriendlytravel or #closetodowntown for example, put your place on the maps of people looking for exactly what you’re offering.

A Mint on the Pillow
It’s the little things that make all the difference. Set yourself and your business apart by showing up on social media, showcasing your services, highlighting deals, sharing and engaging with your audience, and staying ahead of the competition. Be creative, be consistent, or call us here at 802Social to hand over the reins to the professionals!

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