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.
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 customer 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.
Most tourism experiences do this really well, so below you can find some extra tips on how to create an even more exceptional experience in the following blogs:
- How to design a competitor free tourism business
- How to show your customers some serious love
- 4 ways to Rock your Customer Experience by Reducing Choice
2. Ask customers to share
Next you then need to ask 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, Google +, or Yelp.
Think about how and where you can ask your customers to share, check-in or leave a review.
Below are a mix of ideas we was have seen used successfully by different tourism brands:
- Accommodation – Note in room compendium, personalised welcome note, hashtag written on the room mirror, hashtag written on door pass, room signage or via an email after their stay (check out TripAdvisor’s ReviewExpress to help automate this).
- 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 blackboards.
- Tours/Hire Products – signage around the tour vehicles/hire products or verbally asked by staff and/or via a business card handed out at the end of the tour.
- Events – on all event collateral and signage.
- Destinations – via visitor collateral such as on regional maps or visitor guides, via signage in visitor centres or via social media profiles.
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 notification setting in 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.
Use Hootsuite to monitor hashtags, business mentions and Instagram location check-ins.
Or check out paid reputation management software like ReviewPro, which helps centralise all your review monitoring.
3. Make it easy to share
Finally, you need to make it REALLY easy for customer to share photos/videos/reviews.
Offer guests free Wi-Fi. This is a given with customers, so unless you live in a regional blackspot, we highly recommend you offer it to your customers for free.
Offer free digital device access such as iPads & Desktop computers. 1888 Hotel have ipads in all their rooms, have desktop computers in their lobby and have free wifi throughout their hotel.
Take photos of your guests (with their permission of course!), share them on your social media accounts and then ask them to tag themselves.
Seastar cruises take pictures of their customers on tour, then upload them to their Facebook encourage their guests to tag and share the photos with their family and friends. You can see how Paige & I tagged ourselves, allowing our family and friends to see what we had been up to on the Great Barrier Reef.
Over to you.
Which of these three tips can you put in to 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?
Like to learn more?
If you’re ready to ramp up the marketing for your tourism business, we’ll teach you how to set up an online reputation management and customer advocacy strategy for your business (and so much more!) in our Tourism Marketing Academy + Mastermind >
This blog post was originally published in August 2014, and has recently been updated to ensure it’s relevancy and accuracy 🙂