Building a Social Media Travel & Tourism Strategy

However, since the buzz about social media optimization continues, I find many digital marketers in the travel and tourism sector (not to mention generally) are still struggling with how to apply the latest and greatest tactics to drive real value from social media.

Many of the marketing people I speak working within the various hotel chains often claim to be undertaking a social marketing campaign. However, I meet very few who are doing this within a broader integrated campaign and at best is often a simply fan page on Kaixin, renren or Facebook. This is a very one dimensional understanding of the use of social media marketing and misses a huge opportunity to develop a dialog with communities of travelers (and potentially reach new clients).

Further, many hoteliers and other travel suppliers are not aware of their standing on travel review and social sites. They don’t take advantage of the review sites, either as a way to gauge the competition or have a better understanding of the sentiment related to their brand. You should realize that when someone searches in a search engine, these review sites will be shown in the search results. Therefore it’s critical to seed the basic listing info necessary to draw users into learning more about your service. In the travel planning and research cycle, exposure to your brand constantly reinforces the idea that you may just have something to suit a particular type of traveler. Be sure all of your information is up to date, including rates, URL, phone numbers, office hours, etc., and provide an accurate and unique description of the business to each site whenever possible. You’d be amazed how much of the information out there is out of date or duplicated across multiple sites based on outdated information. Test it out.. if you have not done so, pop your brand into Baidu or Google and look at the results.. also don’t stop at page three.. I like to continuing looking at the search results on the 4th and 5th pages.. often this is where I find either the most positive or most negative feedback.

So a of couple of take always for those in the travel sector wanting to get more from social media marketing (smm). Understand your objectives of a social media campaign, understand the time-frame and what you are using to measure success, leverage review sites, use tools to measure your brands sentiment and also know where people are talking about you online.

Just as an online branding campaign is unique so is a SMM campaign. However, the tips above are universal and may help you in securing better outcomes for your campaign and ultimately your brand. If you have some more take aways of have suggestions on other key points please add them here.

Travel Tourism Course – 5 Features to Look For

Looking to get into the travel and tourism industry? Taking a course is a great way to get educated about this exciting field while learning how to find incredible travel deals for your own benefit. The course you select should have all of the following 5 features:

Feature #1: Certified by major institutions, nationally accredited:
Any program you consider will likely be run in accordance with sponsoring or partnering universities. Make sure that the partnering university through which you take the course is a credible one with a strong reputation in the region. In addition, ascertain that the diploma which you will be awarded upon completion of the course is a nationally-recognized one.

Feature #2: Trains you to use computerized reservations systems:
Make sure that the program you choose will train you not only on the ins and outs of the industry itself, but also on how to use the computerized reservation systems available to travel agents today.

Feature #3: Teaches agency management techniques:
As a travel agent, you will be required not only to be an expert in getting your clients the best travel deals, but also to be able to manage your business. Confirm that the course or program you are considering gives you the management tools to success in the business of being a travel agent.

Feature #4: Offers an online-only option:
The advent of online education affords students of today opportunities for effective distance learning not available even 10 years ago. Make sure that your travel course has caught up with the times and orders an online-only component. This means that you should have the option to take the course without having to travel to a physical classroom.

Feature #5: Gives you insights into how to find the best deals:
Needless to say, the program should also benefit you both as a travel agent and as an individual looking for the best travel deals available.

Verify that any travel tourism course you select offers the above-mentioned 5 components. Finally, be sure to speak with at least one or two current students of the program to find out firsthand what they think about it.

Wiki Strategy: Promoting your Travel, Tourism or Lodging Website

A wiki is a website which allows users to add and edit content collectively. “Wiki wiki” means “rapidly” in the Hawaiian language.

A public wiki can be visited and edited by anyone using a browser. This creates a powerful online collaboration environment that is self-managed by its users. Wikis are considered part of the social internet, and a category of Web 2.0. There are many wikis that provide opportunities for hotels, inns, resorts and other tourism and hospitality businesses to post their own listings.

How big are Wikis? The most famous and, frankly, awe-inspiring wiki is Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org). According to Alexa, it is the 9th most popular website in the United states.

A private wiki can be password protected so only users can view and edit the information. This makes an excellent collaboration tool for your hotel’s work-team. We have tested over a dozen wikis for this purpose, and currently use several within our offices and manage hundreds of pages of collaboratively edited information.
From a hospitality and tourism marketing strategy perspective, a Wiki offers you the opportunity to copyright about your own area and business. The results will send your website qualified traffic, let you manage your hospitality brand, and most likely send you qualified traffic and online revenue. These are entirely free marketing resources, but you must make the time to utilize them.

Before you start exploring and entering your own copy, take 20 or 30 minutes and learn how to edit a page.

Etiquette: many wikis let you make updates anonymously. Ideally, you should log-in and create an identity. Don’t be self-serving or self-promoting — while you want your business added, it is better to build out complementary and appropriate information as part of adding your business (depends on the wiki what that info is. It is OK to correct mistakes, it is not OK to remove competitors. When you add a new page, make sure you start with the template that is appropriate. If you make mistakes, other people will fix them, and if you “spam” with inappropriate content, other people will remove you.

Wikipedia is a powerful resource that many hospitality businesses should be added to. Also check out its sister site, Wikitravel (www.wikitravel.org) for a website that is definitely appropriate for any hotel, inn, resort, hospitality or tourism website. Taking a few hours to create an information rich page about your area, your niche and/or your business is worth your time.

Wikicompany is a business focused resource that lets you add your company for free in just a few moments. See the listing I made for a hotel website marketing company.

There is a growing number of niche wikis, an example being SingleTrackwiki for mountain bikers. Keep your eye out for these and add to them if appropriate. They always appreciate quality content.

RoaringForkWiki. is an example of a wiki about an geographic area, the Roaring Fork Valley. That is the home of Blizzard Internet Marketing, and is a wiki produced and managed by Blizzard.

Many people want to set up their own wikis about topics they are passsionate about, or about their area. Mediawiki is a professional level version for real geeks. I would generally recommend you try an easy online versions try wetpaint, seedwiki, jotspot or stikipad which are easy to setup and get going.

We recommend you take a few hours and implement an online marketing strategy to promote your Travel, Tourism or Hotel website in wikis.

Resources:
Qwika is a wiki search engine if you want to search over 1000 wikis at once. Its results are dominated by wikipedia.
Check out the html to wiki tool if you plan on migrating web-based content to a wiki.
Mashable Blog on Stikipad
More about WikiCompany
New York Times on wikis in business

Making More Money With Travel & Tourism Sites by Avoiding Two Common Pitfalls

I’ve been heavily entrenched in the travel & tourism industry for years-formal education, 1000s of books, reports, market research, etc. When I look at people trying to make money online with travel Web sites, I see a few fundamental flaws. Today, I’ll point a couple out so that you can avoid these common pitfalls.

Lacking Market Research

Many travel web site owners simply look for some keywords, write some articles (or outsource them) and call it a day. They then wonder why clicks are low, orders are nonexistent and profit is hard to come by.

It is imperative that you know at least the basics of the market you’re engaging in. For instance, simply knowing that “people like to visit Italy” isn’t enough. There’s all that who, what, when, why and how stuff too.

Unfortunately, finding travel patterns, demographics and solid market research without conducting it yourself can be either very difficult or very, very time consuming. Thankfully, there are sources that take the work and cost out of it all for you.

Going Far Too Broad

The next issue that plagues many travel site owners is the one of scope. By having a wiper scope your actually lowering your profit potential.

Let’s keep with Italy for a moment. Imagine you put up a Web site about traveling to Italy. What type of content do you fill it with and who is your audience? The answer is “who knows,” because people could be coming for all sorts of reasons, such as:

– Honeymoons
– Family vacation
– Thrill seeking
– Historical travel
– Religious travel
– Foodie travel
– and on and on and on

It’s possible that 95% of the traffic coming to your travel & tourism site is just being wasted. And the more you try to appeal to everyone, the worse it gets. We could narrow it down to just Rome and still have major site issues due to all the possible travel personalities and desires.

Before rushing out to stake your claim to the billions of dollars in the travel & tourism industry, take some time to get to know the specific market you want to target. If you can’t afford to spend hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars in research, look for the sources that do it for you. For instance, honeymoon tourism has billions at stake, but if you just rush out there with a honeymoon travel site without knowing something about the honeymoon market, you’ll be missing out.

To get started making more money in a booming tourism & travel niche (growing by billions), get this free report: Honeymoon Tourism [http://www.honeymoontourismbook.com/report].

I wrote it to give you a quick look into this market, which is going to explode by more than $10 billion annually in the US alone. If you’re looking for a way to make money with travel sites and products, start here.

How to Design a Travel & Tourism Website

To learn about the Strategic Website Marketing methods, tips, tactics, techniques, useful information on powerful advertising, most effective promotional tips, resources, training courses by expert marketers, spam free e-mail marketing lists, e-zines, articles, press releases, and much more will help you grow your business fast.

The first thing to start to promote your business is to have a Website. If your Website was designed professionally, and attractively as well, it would have a better chance to attract more visitors than others.

Make sure your Website has these important elements:

* An attractive design to catch the eyes of the visitors, and make them review the information and details given on your Front Page and on other pages. Vivid photos will greatly help.

* Provides short but to the point information on the travel services you offer, the benefits, options, the experience level of the company and the qualifications of the staff.

* Gives information on destinations, environments, activities, accommodations, food, meals, dates, prices, discounts on prices, and fun. This information should be given in a way to excite and motivate the visitors to purchase your offers.

* Highlights the activities and the places to visit which travelers generally show great interest.

* Clearly states what’s different in these destinations that is unknown to most people, if applicable.

* Provides information on safety and security issues, procedures and precautions, how your company will protect the travelers’ safety, inoculations, first aid & medical emergency.

* Provides information on insurance and travel insurance companies.

These are the key elements your travel and tourism Website must have.

Then, you have to expose your offers listed at your Website to your potential customers, to multi-millions of them, and motivate them to visit your Website right away.

Your Website must also have the elements to attract the attention of the visitors to the content, and create a desire to review them.

Testimonials by your happy customers, may be with beautiful photos will keep the visitors longer at your Website and motivate them to read the information about the destinations and activities you offer in your tour programs.

Internet provides great opportunities for all businesses to promote their Websites on hundreds of thousands of high traffic sites, mostly for FREE or very cost effectively. This is extremely important for marketing your travel related business, too, most profitably.

The problem is, it takes a lot of time to search all over the Internet to find thousands of best sites to submit your URL.

Online travel and tourism directories and guides can help you save tremendous amount of time, since they provide lists of thousands of links to almost all sites, in almost all categories, you would need to visit.

There are also websites and marketing programs providing you with the lists of the most effective marketing sites, tips and tactics to reach millions of your potential customers and bring them to your Website;

One of the most popular marketing methods which is used by almost all online business owners is link popularity through exchanging links with other Websites.

You can easily find many link exchange programs through search engines to start to exchange links with other websites, in any
category you choose.