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Do's and Don'ts for Travel Campaigns on Facebook


By Ritesh Gupta
February 23, 2012

IN-DEPTH: There’s nothing that a platform can do to make a company trustworthy – it’s all in the content and how they communicate with customers.  The best thing about Twitter and Facebook is that they enable companies to communicate directly using their own voice, and instead of direct communications, communications with individuals are open for all to see, says Tom Kuhr, SVP Marketing, Luxury Link Travel Group.

Luxury travel website Luxury Link, as an active participant on Facebook, is eager to see more activity-based conversations rather than just “Likes”.
 
The company believes this should help both users and brands have more directed conversations based on what’s going on, rather than treating all news equally.
 
The company has two objectives with Facebook – find new customers and keep customers engaged and interested so when they decide to travel, they visit its sites first. 
 
“These very simple top-end goals can be measured through simple tools using a few KPI’s.  The soft side of the equation is more difficult – we’re enhancing our brand as well as the hotels we represent, and Facebook is a good PR tool in that respect.  We can measure engagement and sharing, but the real value is the growth of impressions – the more people who keep us in their feed the more impact we have,” said Tom Kuhr, SVP Marketing, Luxury Link Travel Group, who is scheduled to speak at the forthcoming Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Travel USA 2012, to be held in San Francisco (March 5-6) this year.
 
Kuhr spoke to EyeforTravel’s Ritesh Gupta about the company’s participation on Facebook. Excerpts:

 

How do you think a site like Facebook today is offering travel companies new opportunities to personalise customers’ experience and in turn build strong affiliation with a travel brand?

 

Tom Kuhr:
 
Facebook has been a huge success for Luxury Link. We’ve been able to find new customers through our Facebook page, as well as advertising outreach. Facebook gives us great targeting tools and enables enough customisation so we can give our page personality and make it truly reflect who we are when communicating to our fans and friends of fans.  We haven’t seen any features or functions specific to the travel industry however based on the last F8 announcement, we’re eager to see more activity-based conversations rather than just Likes, and that should help both users and brands have more directed conversations based on what’s going on, rather than treating all news equally.
 
Can you elaborate on how do you approach channels such as Facebook and Twitter when it comes to engaging with your customers?

 

Tom Kuhr:
 
We look at each channel differently as a communications medium, while keeping our voice and content consistent.   You reach Facebook fans and Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers much differently – treating each channel as if it’s the same will only lead to decreased engagement and Unlikes. We’ve seen a bit of overlap between channels but except for our biggest advocates who have truly embraced all social media, most channels don’t touch the same people. 
 
When we have a conversation on Twitter, it’s a much different experience and seen by many more people than that same conversation on Facebook.  With Twitter, you’re a lot less likely to get someone to un-follow by talking a lot, but on Facebook you must be very cognizant of how much content your pushing to someone’s feed – they’re much more likely to hide you if they don’t think what you’re talking about is relevant.
 
The other channels each have their own best practices, but we really try to keep our content similar on a daily and weekly basis to match our overall merchandising strategy. 

How do you think Facebook has proven to a runaway hit for any marketing campaign? What do you think stood in that initiative?

 
Tom Kuhr:
 
We’ve run a few great contests on Facebook, and have found very solid results when working with partners.  The rules of engagement for contests and sweeps are somewhat restrictive on Facebook as you need to use an app, and you can’t use some of the native functionality to generate buzz.  We’ve been able to build mailing lists as well as Facebook Fans through contests, but without involving partners, getting new people to your page requires you to pay for Facebook advertising.

We’ve seen success with other brands using Facebook to host interactive games and build traffic, but that isn’t low cost, and the game must be really good to get that sort of interest.
 
So, while we do use social media to support and compliment our marketing campaigns as another channel, we don’t feel that running campaigns on Facebook alone provides a great rate of return.  We will continue to test new ideas in 2012 as things tend to change on a regular basis with Facebook, and it’s a great medium for experimentation.

Can you list few dos and don’ts for campaigns on Facebook?

 
Tom Kuhr:
  • Don't repeat the same message the same way more than once a week
  • Don’t forget to comment on comments to your post – show that you care after your initial post
  • Don’t forget to remove spam
  • Do reference and promote other pages through names or links (partners, products you like).  This reciprocity will be returned and you’ll get new visitors
  • Do use different kinds of posts for variety
  • Do incorporate a personality, don’t be a brochure – your comments must be human

What according to you works best to earn trust, love and advocacy for your products and services amongst a new breed of savvy and fickle travel customers? How can a site like Facebook genuinely contribute to this?
 
Tom Kuhr:
 
There’s nothing that a platform can do to make a company trustworthy – it’s all in the content and how they communicate with customers.  The best thing about Twitter and Facebook is that they enable companies to communicate directly using their own voice, and instead of direct communications, communications with individuals are open for all to see.
 
We’ve seen the best way to earn trust is to do just that – earn it over time.  Brands do this by responding in a timely manner, delivering what they say they are going to deliver (or delivering more), being courteous, polite, and non-corporate.  In the end, especially with luxury brands, consumers want to know that the company has their best interest in mind.  That they care about the individual.  And, everyone – luxury or not – wants to feel special.  That one-on-one attention has been a private conversation until social media appeared on the scene, and now it’s public. Consumers don’t need a company to respond to them necessarily, but they do want to see how the company responds to others (their peers).  Those responses can build trust over time, or break a brands’ reputation in an instant as we’ve seen with some notable examples recently, like the Komen Foundation and the Netflix price hike. 

Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Travel USA 2012
 
Tom Kuhr is scheduled to speak at the forthcoming Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Travel USA 2012, to be held in San Francisco (March 5-6) this year.
 
For more info, click here

Or contact:
Gina Baillie
GM
EyeforTravel
London, UK: +44 (0)207 375 7197
US Toll Free: 800 814 3459 ext. 7197
gina@eyefortravel.com

About EyeforTravel
EyeforTravel is a leading business intelligence provider for the online travel and tourism industry. As well as providing some of the most in-depth research into global online travel markets and trends, EyeforTravel produces a series of senior executive travel conferences on a diverse range of topics including travel distribution, online marketing, social media, mobile and revenue management.  For more information visit www.eyefortravel.com.

 
Contact:

Gina Baillie
GM, EyeforTravel
gina@eyefortravel.com
London, UK: +44 (0)207 375 7197
US Toll Free: 1 800 814 3459 ext. 7197


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Also See: Devising Travel Marketing Strategies Based on the Strength of the Devices / Ritesh Gupta / February 2012

Meeting the Expectations of Last Minute Mobile Bookers; Customer Expectations are Driving Changes in the Online Travel Business / Ritesh Gupta / January 2012

Why 2012 is Going to be 'The Year of SoLoMo' (Social, local, and mobile) / Ritesh Gupta / January 2012

Understanding How to Measure Social Media: An Interview with Barbara Pezzi, Director of Analytics & Search Optimization, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International / December 2011

Travel & Hospitality Brands Need to Make Mobile a Top Priority for 2012 / December 2011



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