Travelling is probably one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences that a person can have. Just picture the sun shining over paradisiacal white sand beaches, sharing a delicious dinner in an exotic country or enjoying the snow covering the mountains, turning them into beautiful ski tracks. These seasons are not only great for people that are about to travel, but also for brands that want to connect with them and capitalize on all the conversations.
Before taping into how non-Travel & Hospitality brands can connect with their audiences in social media during travelling seasons, we should understand how people behave according to the generation they belong to when they decide to face a trip.
Source: Shullman Research
According to Social Times
- 75% of travelers post vacation photos to Social Networks
- 55% liked Facebook pages that were specific to their vacation
- 52% Dream about vacation when on Facebook (without one even being planned)
Let’s dive deeper into how millenials behave. The Internet-savvy travelers
According to a Forbes research
- 76 percent said that friends’ recommendations were a main factor, and what’s on sale, and social media also came far ahead of travel-agent advice (18%).
- Keeping fit was a priority for 14 percent of millennial travelers
- 98 percent of younger generations ranked ‘eating local cuisine’ as something that was very important (more than 5 out of 10) when they traveled
- Experiencing a new culture (86%) and eating local foods (69%) were listed as common determining factors for motivating people aged 18 to 24 to travel
- As for photos, 39 percent used a smartphone
Now that we have read some stats and facts, it’s time to move on and provide some useful tips about how brands can promote and leverage UGC.
There are many non-Travel & Hospitality brands that leverage the power of UGC during these seasons, in fact, some of them are the largest content promoters. GoPro is a clear example of this. The best and most popular content the brand has is the one created by their own clients. Thousands of videos in the most exotic places performing enviable activities make people want to share, comment and even create their own. This is how a small company turned the product into one of the most popular cameras in the world with a minimum marketing investment. Why? The product is a content creation machine, literally.
The brand is constantly inviting their fans to share their videos and showcasing the most relevant ones, building an authentic relationship between them. In fact they also created the GoPro awards, that rewards the most fascinating videos with monetary prizes. It is not coincidence that we are exposed to tons of GoPro videos during vacations seasons, this is when people travel and use them the most. And of course, they love sharing them.
GoPro is one of the most popular channels on youtube with over 4M subscribers
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote” (Michael Palin) and this is what brands should understand. When people are about to make a trip, whether is short, long, adventurous or relaxing, they are always excited about that. Sometimes they don’t even know exactly where they are going neither whom they are going to share the experience with. When travelling seasons are close, brands have the perfect opportunity to inspire them, or even become the main reason why they choose a specific destination.
Invite people to choose their destination style.
Associating your brand and products to a specific event (in this case vacations) can be a great conversation booster, even more if the participation mechanics you propose are simple and engaging, let’s take a look at this example:
To promote The Starwood Preferred Guest®Credit Card, American Express Canada delivered this Social experience. The company invited their followers to choose their favourite vacation style from a Twitter Voting Card (Beach Escape, Ski Retreat, Golf Getaway or City), and based on their choices, the brand automatically replied with exclusive personalized content. This way Amex was able to increase awareness about the many possibilities the Credit Card offers in terms of rewards and benefits.
This will not only help the brand to increase their earned media, but also learn more about their customers based on their choices.
Contests are also great conversation drivers, especially those that involves pictures and videos. Inviting your audience to share a photo using a hashtag associated to your brand will help you increase your earned media while you nurture and strengthen the relationship with your customers.
Take your audience to your digital properties
Your fans are sharing thousands of pictures, posts, snaps or Tweets mentioning your brand. You have the perfect opportunity to put them under the spotlight and display the most relevant ones. A small gesture can go a long way. Building a Social Hub showcasing the content they have created to millions of other people will help you increase brand loyalty.
Now that your audience is chilling on the beach or walking around a fascinating city, it’s the perfect opportunity to connect with them. They are already taking thousands of pictures or making great videos, why not capitalize on all that content? The right call the action with the right conversation environment will make people want to share those pictures with you, generating thousands of brand impressions in social media and boosting your earned media.
NateGeo is a brand that is constantly capturing “that exact moment” and they wanted their fans to do the same with this contest.
The travel might be over, but your audience is probably still on vacations mode. They will share pictures and make a recap about the experience they’ve just lived.
Give your followers an excuse to share that content with you. Build new contests, keep rewarding their participation, and what is even more important, make your brand the spark that inspires their following trip.