Posts Tagged ‘word-of-mouth’

Using the Social Media for Tourism

Monday, December 12th, 2011

for December 2011

Using the Social Media for Tourism

The major upheavals that took place across the Arab world this year are once again proof of the power of social media.  The social media proved to be a major communication vehicle that spread across the region like wildfire.  The social media have not only changed the face of politics but also have a major influence on the world of travel and tourism.
There can be little doubt that the explosion of social media impacts every form of business including the world of tourism.  Social media such as facebook and myspace, provide instant ways to reach thousands or millions of people, twitter is a fast way to get a few words out, and social media, such as linkedin connect people interested in business relationships. The social media allow people to speak about great and not so great experiences, to become instant critiques and via youtube to even become instant stars.  In the world of tourism there are two major uses of social media.  Tourism’s and travel’s customers have created social media networks in which they share reviews of hotels, restaurants and/or attractions.  These people often post stories about their experiences, both good and bad and as these websites become more prevalent they also impact not only a locale’s reputation but also the way that we need to market and advertise. 

To a great extent this is word-of-mouth advertising taken to a new level.  Tourism entities, be they attractions, hotels, transportation systems, restaurants or communities may use social media as a personalized form of advertising.   The use of the social media can help your tourism entity to enhance its buzz and create credibility at a low or no cost to the provider.  The essential point to remember is that like tourism, social media exist to bring people together. To get some great (or better) results from your social media consider some of these ideas:

-Do not doubt the impact of the social media. The social media present a whole new world of instant communication.  To a great extent the social media work in real time situations. That means that there they have no system of checks and balances; both truth and fiction, praise and libel can spread across the world almost instantaneously

-Be aware that the social media can be both an aid and a threat.  Not only do good people use the social media, but now misinformation, and plans for criminal behavior or, as seen in the Middle East, even revolution can be disseminated in mere seconds from one end of the globe to the other.

-Know which form of social media works best for you.  The term social media covers a wide range of possibilities.  Know which form of social media you are using and which audiences its targets. Myspace and Facebook can be compared to mass media newspapers, as they have no one specific audience.  On the other hand, blogs and content sharing networks may target a specific segment of the population.

-Consider Video sharing.  This is a great means to show off your attraction or community. Once again, the key problem is that you have no idea where it will be going or who is seeing the flim. On the hand, video sharing, like all social networks is for the most part free advertising and there is always the chance that the video may end up becoming “viral” and being seen by millions. 

Use the social media to drive people to your website.  Make sure that your website does what you want it to do.   Too many websites have so much text that they have become impossible to use. Make your website “clean” and user-friendly, but the principal pieces of information in easy to locate corners. For example, often websites hide telephone numbers. Thus a person going to the website so as to call for additional information simply ends up frustrated.  Consider adding a blog and link to facebook on your website.

Consider creating social media parties, where people can meet and chat about your locale, and exchange information with you.  For example encourage your visitors to share photos or videos of their tourism location in your community. You might even provide a prize or award for the best photo or video of the year. The key to social media is personalization.   What you want to do is make your social media part of the tourism and travel experience and not merely another piece of marketing or information.

Use the social media as a way to get as much feedback as possible.  One of the number one problems in tourism is getting good feedback.  Use the social media as a creative way to allow people to tell you what they really think.   Use techniques that allow people to interact in a way that allows them to feel they are part of the process and have a stake in your success.

5 tips on repeat business marketing for SMEs

Monday, May 30th, 2011

5 tips on repeat business marketing for SMEs

David Mercer, Site Prebuilder | May 18, 2011, 5:06 PM

Traditional small business generally has to rely on word of mouth to grow the customer base, but the rules have changed thanks to the Internet and Internet marketing. If you aren’t already generating revenue via your web presence, it’s time you adapted to take advantage.

The following tips and techniques are aimed at doing two things:

  • Build a community of customers and potential customers
  • Engage and lock customers into your company

By keeping everyone and anyone who has shown interest in your products or services within your reach, you drastically increase your ability to spread ideas and communicate – market. The Internet is vast, and all you have to do is grow a tiny fraction of that into your business following and you’re going to make big money.

Here are five powerful internet marketing tips that will help drive growth and profits for your small business through repeat business.

1. Integrate your traditional products & services with a website

Add an internet or online component to all your products and services – even if it is something as simple as support. Whatever it takes to get customers who have bought something to sign up to your website.

2. Add SEO enhanced, high quality content to your site on a regular basis

I know that writing content is a distraction from an already hard and full day’s work. However, online content is an investment in your business’ present and future marketing, and something that will start working for you as your online presence grows.

3. Offer incentives for customer to sign up to a newsletter

If you think that adding a newsletter is more trouble than it’s worth, ask yourself this:

If you could email every customer who has ever bought (or even thought about buying) something from you, whenever you had some exciting new product, deal, special or so on, how much would that be worth?

Offering a newsletter with interesting content and information is a great way to expose people to more products and services.

4. Offer an online forum, group or chat for registered users

Give your customers a place to vent, criticize or praise and engage with them through your website. This not only provides valuable market research and feedback for you, but also serves to build trust.

5. Integrate social networking facilities

Encourage customers to like and share your content. Get them to follow you on twitter. Get them to join your FaceBook group or connect with you on LinkedIn. In other words, keep them in orbit around your business.

In the current economic climate, when many small businesses are struggling to make ends meet, it is more important than ever to hold on to new and existing customers with both hands. If you look back over your accounts for the past year or so and find that a significant number of customers only completed a single transaction, then it is time to use these 5 internet marketing techniques to drive revenue and repeat business like never before.

Dr. Peter Tarlow’s Tourism Tidbits

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Encouraging people to give the gift of travel

For many people the Chanukah & Christmas season is a time of giving. One of the great gifts that a person can give to another is the gift of travel. Travel serves as a perfect gift in that it allows the receiver to use it at a time that works for him/her. Travel gifts open up new horizons and provide memories that can last a lifetime. Encouraging people to provide the gift of travel is not only good business, but acts as a subtle form of marketing. To make travel the perfect gift, however, some preplanning is also needed. In this special edition of Tourism Tidbits we provide you with ideas as to how to make your travel experience the least hassle free possible, either as a giver of travel or as a receiver.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to showcase your community and/or attraction. It is also a time when if things go wrong there will be a great number of people with and for whom you will need to do damage control.

-Do not overcharge. Everyone understands that during the holidays prices will rise a bit, but gauging is never a good idea. The few extra dollars that you will make by raising prices unfairly will be more than offset by negative publicity. Instead, offer holiday specials. Consider these to be part of your advertising campaign. Nothing promotes your industry better than good word-of-mouth advertising.

-Remember that your employees are people too. These are people who are giving up their holidays for others, and while they may be receiving extra pay, no amount of money can compensate for lost time. Treat your employees with extra respect; prepare them for longer than usual hours and visitors who are tired, frustrated or even angry.
-When in doubt smile! The holidays are supposed to be about fun, family, and memories. Travel should also be about those very same things. Even when people have had to deal with the hassles of travel, train your employees to go out of their way to smile, be cheerful and do something extra nice for people.
Making travel a personal gift item.

Another good marketing tool is to encourage your local citizens to consider travel to your locale as a personal gift option. Even in these difficult economic times, may of people will be spending a great deal of time trying to find new and innovative gifts and travel gifts not only provide for friends and family to see each other but also aid your local economy.
There are numerous ways that you promote your locale as a travel gift. Many travel agencies will be more than happy to work with you. Before promoting the gift of travel to your locale remember the following:
-Make sure that you locals check with the people receiving the gift to determine which dates will work for him/her/them and which dates will become a problem. Help locals to know when airline prices are reasonable and promote travel to your location when the hotels are in their low season.
-Make sure that the person giving the gift is aware of about how much the gift will cost the receiver. It is not helpful to give an airline ticket or a free night stay at a hotel if the person cannot afford to get to the destination and/or stay at a destination’s hotels. Make sure to match the gift with the receiver’s ability to pay for the other parts of travel.

-Encourage people to give travel gifts to your community that create positive memories and a desire to return. It does not matter what giver likes or may think the other person ought to like, rather make sure that the travel gift reflects the receiver’s lifestyle and shows off your community in the best light. Know if the person to whom you are giving the gift likes adventure travel, urban travel or perhaps countryside travel. You will get the best results from gift travel if you can encourage the givers to match the travel experience to the receiver’s psychological profile.
-Do not be afraid to encourage the people who live in your locale to use air miles as a way to bring people to your community. Once the person is in your community, s/he will be spending money and adding to the local economy. How the person gets to your community is less important than what the person does once there. Although many airlines charge for transferring miles, but allow you to “purchase” a trip for another person for free. Do not transfer miles but rather purchase the trip for the person who is to receive the gift. Remember that paid airline tickets usually are not refundable and charge for date transfers, most tickets bought with air miles are much more flexible.
-If inviting friends and relatives from another country, make sure that the person has a passport and meets all visa requirements. If you are dealing with US citizens, remember that all US citizens need a passport if they are traveling by air or sea. That same requirement is true of many other nations.
-Purchase the gift around the other person’s likes and dislikes. If giving an urban travel gift, provide a special add-on. Travel is about memories. When encouraging your local citizens to give the gift of travel, aid them to turn these trips into special memories. Make sure that your citizens understand that special memories need not be expensive. For example, a bottle of wine or a fruit basket will set the stage. Lots of communities have local theaters or sporting events that are fun and add a bit of local color. Always remind people to chose events for their guests that fit the receiver’s lifestyle.
-Make sure that the person receiving the gift has an opportunity to let your local tourism office know what he or she thought of your community. Feed back from gift travel is especially helpful in knowing your community’s strengths and weaknesses. When people come to your community make the gift of travel more than merely seeing and doing new things, make it about sharing memories and a desire to return again and again.

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