Do you have a Facebook account? Twitter? A Blog? We put these questions often and have adopted social networks in our daily lives as a necessary addition. We keep an eye on these media and think we cannot live without them in what has become a connected world. The proximity and immediacy of Facebook or Twitter are increasingly important reference points for people, where a comment or question elicits a flow of information that can influence a final decision. The social networks have changed the world of communication and publicity, no less so than in the world of travel and the tourism industry, where they are here to stay.
Continuing with the theme of travel destinations and their image, I find it necessary to devote this space to highlight the importance and the impact of social networks in the promotion of destinations. The promotion of places and destinations has been enhanced with the use of Web 2.0 tools. Destinations are taking advantage of the full value of the Internet so that tourists and visitors turn into your best ambassadors.
At the point of choosing a vacation destination, the opinion of friends or family members has become increasingly decisive, or said in Twitter jargon, what the people we follow have to say matters. We keep in mind the opinions we read, we like to be guided by what is “fashionable,” by those places “we must” visit and “the coolest” places about which people don’t stop talking.
The social networks are used by destinations to sell their tourist attractions with promotional campaigns. They help reach a wider and more varied public. They allow everyone to have more direct access to information, to learn about what a destination offers more thoroughly and, what’s more, they help tourists feel a part of something. One cultivates loyalty with tourists and creates a community around the destination. One creates an advantageous synergy, as one not only promotes through direct contacts or through those people who follow the destination but through the sharing of this information with the friends of those contacts. Indirectly, more people get to know the destination.
Those following the news and offers about a destination generated through social networks are highly interested in the product, making it very focused promotion.
Through social networks a medium-term benefit is obtained, which serves not in economic terms, but to rather to enhance reputation and build confidence.
This is the objective of promotion through these tools. When we see data telling us that half of the people on Facebook are inspired to go on a trip by a friend’s photos, or that a similar number were invited to travel or planned a trip through social networks, or that many travel pages on the Web achieved considerable income through these tools, we ask ourselves how anyone cannot see the benefits.
One clear example of promotion through the social networks is Queensland, Australia.
Tourism Queensland needed to promote the Queensland Islands and Great Barrier Reef and entrusted the agency Nitro with the task of developing a campaign that helped publicize the islands internationally. And did they ever. They launched “The Best Job in the World” campaign, in which the job consisted of spending time there, taking photos, diving and then blogging about it. Six months with a salary of $100,000 to be the guardian of a heavenly island in Australia.
The campaign was a success that exceeded expectations. The contents were distributed through a multitude of channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.). You can see the campaign step-by-step, from its announcement to its explosion in the media here.
To conclude, I pass on the video that captures some of the campaign’s impact.