By Clay Darrohn As a child my family visited Disney World more times than I care to remember. Four magical days of my father doing his best Clark Grizwold impersonation and my mother snapping more photos than the papparazzi at Prince William and Kate's royal wedding. Even though posing for each photo was excruciating, what was more painful was the family huddle the weekend after we got back . We had Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, neighbors, plus anyone who could stand a 2 hr slide show for a free plate of spagehtti and meatballs was in attendance. I couldn’t understand what the big deal was about these get togethers. I just didn’t get it…. Flash forward 20 years. Two Disney and 3 Bahama trips with one or more children and I’m willing to pay $500 in roaming charges to post a picture of my child with a dolphin on Facebook. I realize these are my big moments; my family's big moments. I’ve shelled out $5K so my daughter could lose her mind at the first sight of Cinderella’s castle. It was worth every penny. No more need for plates of spaghetti and meatballs because now, my wife and I post. Our friends and family follow each other on Social Media sites and we do the same in return. We go where they have a great experience and they do the same. All of which really makes me wonder why my family seems to be the majority on this? Why hasn’t every vacation destination fully embraced Social Media? Is it because your waiting for an ROI formula? Are you using Social Media and not seeing results? If so, odds are you aren't doing it right. I’ve listed 5 reasons why you must consider using Social Media if you own a business in the travel industry. It's less a question of why you should use social , it’s a question of when you’re going to decide to start:
1. A picture says a thousand words: Through uploading pictures and videos, friends and family members will share your clients' experiences and become more likely to book or become a Brand Ambassador.
2. "There’s this beautiful little place...": Travelers don’t want the cookie cutter experience. They want to be in on the secret gems, but they need someone else to try it first and refer.
3. We are all experts in our own minds: Travelers are critics, spectators, collectors and creators. We will speak volumes to an amazing experience. We will also let you know where your short comings are so you can learn from your mistakes
4. You need to fish where the fish are: Your potential clients are here, so what is your plan to reach to them?
- In the USA, 52% of all leisure travelers use Social Media
- 41% are more likely to recommend a destination if they are a fan on Facebook
- 40% of online travelers visit social network sites to research destinations
5. Inspire the masses: Do you have a large customer base already? Do you consider them advocates for your brand? Using social media is an extremely effective vehicle to engage this client base. They are a valuable part of your brand. Have them speak on your behalf.
There is no doubt in my mind, because of the obvious experiential nature that travel provides, a travel business will absolutely flourish on many social channels.How many of you or your significant others didn’t post a picture of your last vacataion to a social media channel?
What are your favorite travel destination pages on Social Media? Do you always share your vacation experiences online to friends and family? Share your thoughts in the comments below!