Social Media and Tourism – is there anybody out there?!

I’m not long back from a little ‘stay-cation’ down in the South West of England and ahead of my trip I sent out a few tweets about the area hoping for some advice on places to go, things to see and good places to eat but I got NOTHING back in reply. I felt like the Twitterverse had abandoned me! Undeterred, I continued to try and find out if anyone was out there but I was further dismayed to find a general lack of use of social media and general lack of interaction. The campsite we stayed at had a Twitter account but hadn’t been active for a LONG time, I went paddle boarding and had a great time but the place we got a lesson from doesn’t have a twitter account, I went to the River Cottage Axminster Deli, Tweeted about them AND checked in on Foursquare and got no response (despite the fact that they are seemingly pretty active on Twitter with over 1,000 tweets and over 2,600 followers).

All of this left me feeling that businesses are missing out by not getting more involved in social media, especially in the tourism sector as people love to talk about what they have planned and what they do/did on holiday. Travel and tourism depends on word of mouth to spread recommendations and opinions, and social media allows people to quickly share these thoughts.

Tips for Social Media and Tourism

  • If you operate a business in tourism, have a presence in Social Media! For most this will be a Facebook and/or a Twitter account, but find out where relevant conversations are happening and explore other platforms.
  • Do some basic monitoring. Use something like hootsuite to have some searches set up. These could be based on your geographical location, your specific business, your competitors etc. basically to pick up on conversations that could result in new customers or find out what people are saying about you.
  • Engage with people. If someone has taken the effort to follow you, like your page, tweet about you or post about you at least acknowledge them!
Social Media and tourism info.
  • Check out the social media in travel and tourism awards, this is what the big players have been up to. You might not have their budget but that doesn’t mean you can’t take inspiration from their ideas!
  • Imagery can be so powerful in marketing in general so have a look at this tnooz article on why imagery is dominating social media in travel in 2012.
  • On a more local level, check out #scotlandhour on their website and on twitter, a great initiative giving tourists a place to find out more about Scotland and businesses a platform to promote themselves.
What are your experiences of social media in tourism? Maybe you are a business making social media work for you or maybe you don’t know where to start!? Would love to know your thoughts!
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