3 Steps to Encourage Customer Advocacy of your Tourism Experience Online
Published on January 17, 2023
Did you know that word of mouth marketing is one of lowest cost AND most effective forms of advertising for your tourism business or destination?
Word of mouth marketing doesn’t just mean customers leaving great reviews on TripAdvisor.
It also includes the great photos, videos and updates customers share on social media that mention your business or region by tagging your social media account and/or using your promoted hashtag.
When your customers and visitors share photos and videos of your tourism experience on social media, they are offering a highly-trusted, personal recommendation of your tourism brand to their online community of family and friends.
If you did nothing else except offer a brilliant tourism experience AND encouraged your customers to share updates about their great experience with you online, you would be well on your way to growing your bookings and customer numbers!
Here’s three simple steps to get your customers spreading the love and being online advocates for your tourism experience.
1. Deliver an outstanding experience to your customers
Firstly, to be in a position where your customers want to talk about your business positively online, you need to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Remember, you aren't selling a product, but an experience that is exactly what your Ideal Customers needs, wants, challenges and aspirations are.
Need more inspiration about delivering an exceptional experience? Have a read of these following Experience Development resources;
- Develop your tourism experience (from Destination New South Wales)
- Experience Development (Tourism and Events Queensland)
- How to charge a premium price for your product
- 5 Ways to Pivot your Tourism Experience for Post-COVID Traveller
2. Ask customers to share
Once you've delivered an exceptional experience, it's about thinking how you can encourage your customers to share their photos/videos/experience via social media or review websites.
No asking = less sharing!
Three things you can ask customers to do are:
1. Share photos or videos using relevant business/destination hashtags and/or tagging your social media pages, such as Facebook or Instagram.
2. Check in – people only check into places they are happy to be associated with.
3. Leave a positive review such as on TripAdvisor, Facebook or Google.
Think about how and where you can ask your customers to share, check-in or leave a review.
We know many Tourism Businesses feel a little uncomfortable about asking for reviews, however with customer reviews being one of your most trusted forms of marketing it's a major missed opportunity if you don't ask.
Below are a mix of ideas we have seen used successfully by different tourism brands over the years (and we continually add to!):
- Note in room compendium
- Personalised welcome note
- Hashtag written on the room mirror
- Hashtag written on door pass
- Room signage
- Automated but VERY personalised email after their stay.
- Small thank you gift with business card asking for review on check out.
Local Businesses - Attractions, Cellar Doors, Restaurants, Hire Businesses
- Attractions – on the attraction map, signage around attraction.
- Cellar Doors – signage around the cellar door, back of toilet doors.
- Restaurants – signage on the table, written on blackboard, business card, provided on payment receipt.
- Signage around the tour vehicles
- On boarding passes
- Back of toilet doors
- Personalised - asked by tour staff
- A business card handed out at the end of the tour.
- On all event collateral and signage
- Widely promoted event hashtag
- Via visitor collateral such as on regional maps or visitor guides.
- Via signage in visitor centres or via social media profiles.
- Promotion of destination hashtag on the Destination Instagram profile.
3. Thank and interact with guests
From there, it's really important you acknowledge and engage with as many of your customers as you can who are sharing great photos, videos and reviews. This further builds trust, loyalty and advocacy around your tourism brand.
Use the notification setting in social media channels such as Facebook/Instagram, which will let you know when someone tags your social media account or mentions your social media page.
Set up TripAdvisor to be notified when someone leaves a review, so you can leave a managerial response.
Make sure you have set up to receive notifications if someone leaves you a Google My Business review, so you can go and respond promptly.
Regularly check your #hashtag use on Instagram and respond and interact with visitors who have used it.
Or check out paid reputation management software like ReviewPro, which helps centralise all your review monitoring.
Over to you
- Which of these three tips can you put in place to encourage your customers to share the love with their online communities and new potential customers?
- How can you encourage and enable sharing of photos, videos and reviews about your tourism experience with your happy customers?
This blog post was originally published in 2014 and most recently updated in January 2023.