TourRadar, the Australian based aggregation platform for organised group tour operators, is urging the industry to start using Facebook to its real potential as it gets set for its global search to find ‘The World’s Most Amazing Tour’ (runs from Monday 6th August to 5th September 2012).
As the social platform approaches its billionth active user, TourRadar will be combining statistics from its Facebook apps it already offers to 100 plus tour operators around the world, including G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, Exodus Travels and World Expeditions, which includes social action buttons like Recommend, Wish List, Like and I’m Going, to give an unbiased result based purely on interaction, for what the general public vote to be the world’s most amazing tour.
Do not shy away from this incredible platform
“Most tour companies (70%) are still shying away from one of the most effective and affordable marketing tools that is Facebook. They still see it as a great time waster and fail to take it seriously. With this campaign we are inviting as many companies as possible to sign up and see just how powerful it can be when you use just a few simple tools to connect to your audience in this social environment” commented Travis Pitman, co-founder and CEO of TourRadar.
“There is no other platform which offers such a level of engagement directly with your customers at costs that would make any other channel seem ridiculous. Use it in the right way and Facebook can create your own brand champions, who spread your message for you. Unlike traditional marketing, where you hope that a small percentage of people you are trying to reach will pay attention to your message, on Facebook, they’re already paying attention.”
“Facebook isn’t going anywhere and for the majority of the tour industry to keep its back turned on it will be the biggest mistake they could make. A Facebook page should be seen as a Facebook profile for your company. This is your voice, attitude, beliefs and even sense of fun and humour, in essence your brand’s persona. The Facebook framework and its integrated app eco-system finally allows you to bring the traditional offline chatter that occurs in the home, in the pub or the workplace, to an online environment.
Return on Investment (ROI) with Facebook is often questioned. Of course it’s difficult to put a £ value on getting 200 likes on a photo or 20 comments on a status update. With Facebook’s recent IPO they are trying harder and harder to prove this to businesses (see this article). Whilst tour operators using our apps love the increased engagement between their customers and fans, the one thing they love the most is the direct, measurable email booking enquiries that are sent by customers who have been able to browse the operator’s full product inventory and reviews from the comfort of their Facebook page. In the near future it will be possible for operators to login to their TourRadar Dashboard and view/download a complete snapshot of which users engaged (liked, recommended, wish listed, joined) with which tours.
Facebook and social sharing now even have implications on your search engine optimisation and reputation management. With Google’s recent ‘Penquin’ update of its search algorithm, the emphasis is no longer just on back links to your website, the search giant is now also putting a spotlight on social referrals to help push you up the search engine rankings. So, generate a lot of talk/sharing about travel, destinations, your tours and this will help your SEO efforts,” added Pittman.
TourRadar is currently scanning information with a combined global audience of 2 million Facebook fans and over 26,000 tours. Operators can sign up from now and throughout the duration of the campaign (which runs from 6th August and 5th September 2012) free of charge. The data from this period will be analysed from which the competition results will be judged.
Winners will be announced the 10th September and the tour operator who runs the top voted tour will win a year’s worth of TourRadar’s social and mobile Apps, valued at over £10,000. Badges will also be awarded for 12 Regional and Specialist Top Tours categories including Africa / Asia / Oceania / Europe / North America / South America / Adventure / Cruising / Day / Luxury / Nature and Youth.