Assistant Editor’s Note: Sophie Bujold is a social media coach who specializes in helping travel professionals achieve online success. She speaks at industry events and works individually with travel agencies across North America. This article was originally published on Sophie’s blog where she provides regular tips and insights. Follow Sophie on Facebook and Twitter.
On social media, the content you post is critical to engaging your audience and creating a solid fan base. Yet, many travel professionals struggle with knowing what to post. Whether you are wondering what to say on Twitter, Facebook, blogs or any other channel, here are some travel content ideas to help get the creative juices flowing:
I’ve said it many MANY times : travel is an experiential product and the best way to get people thinking about travel is to show them fun places to go and fun things they can do while they are there. If you can, share personal or client photos of destinations you want to sell. They don’t need to be professional shots and often work even better if you’re in the photo doing something silly! I’ve had many travel agents report that they sell at least one or two packages they wouldn’t have otherwise every time they post photos of a trip they took.
If you don’t have photos of your own, Flickr is a great spot to find amazing shots of every type of destination around the world. Do a quick search and link (don’t steal!) to particularly amazing photography that you think your audience would enjoy.
Videos are also a great way to inspire customers to travel and usually works even better than photos because of their interactive nature. Once again, you don’t always need a professionally shot video to attract attention. A home video of a particularly memorable moment, useful information (like the view of a new cruise ship cabin), fun activities or footage of a new resort will do the trick. Got a knack for humor or publicly humiliating yourself without worry? Great! Use it to your advantage when you create your videos. The funnier the better!For those who are a little camera shy, don’t despair! YouTube is a great resource for videos of all kinds. With a little imagination you can search and find some pretty amazing clips.
3. Useful links
The latest traveler alerts, a list of recommended items to pack, articles about the hottest trends in travel – think about what would be useful for your readership to know and you’ve got some sharable content. This is your chance to show off your expertise as a travel professional and provide your potential customers with information that they may not find otherwise.
Not sure where to find this information? Blogs, news sites, and trade press have articles that can fit the bill. You can also use Google Alerts to monitor the web for articles on just about any topic.
4. Blog posts
This one should go without saying, but too many people don’t think about it. If you publish regular blog posts, PLEASE remember to post links to them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc if you have accounts there. Most blog platforms will allow you to connect your blog to other social channels automatically if you have trouble remembering to post.
5. Destination fun facts
Everyone loves a good bit of trivia or little known facts! It’s entertaining, informative and can again help position you as an expert in your field. Many tourist boards and hotel properties have fun facts available through their marketing department. Just ask to see if they can help you out. Otherwise, the web is always a good alternative!
Engage your audience by asking them questions about things like their favourite vacation spot, what type of perks they like to get from their agent, what makes their holiday a perfect one, etc. Get them talking to you AND use the opportunity to do a little behind-the-scenes market research to find out what you can do to win and keep their business.
7. Event announcements
Are you attending your local travel show or hosting a consumer evening? Let the world know where you will be and when! Invite your fan base to come see you. You might be surprised by how many of them show up…and bring a friend!
8. Top 10 lists
Quick, useful and always a good way of giving quick recommendations on destinations to see, things to pack, attractions to visit and more. You can either compile your own top 10 or link to someone else’s. Bonus points if you create your own with photos or video!
9. Community work updates
People like to know that you care about your community. If you or your team partake in community service or charitable work, share information like updates about your latest donation, photos of your team volunteering, or news about your favourite charity.
10. Contest announcements & updates
Contests are ALWAYS a popular thing. If you choose to run one, you can build anticipation and buzz by posting regular updates. Whether you talk about the prizes, highlight funny entries, countdown the days until the winner is announced or something else, you’re sure to get attention (and probably new followers/fans/readers) really quickly.
11. Travel updates
Here’s another great opportunity to showcase your expertise as a travel expert. Share updates about your favourite suppliers (new bathtubs in every cabin? Service upgrades at a resort? New designer bag with every purchase? Ok…maybe not the last one, but you get the point) or important travel updates about specific destinations (everything from new passport requirements to travel warnings).
12. Ship inspection information
If you are a cruise expert and visit ships while they are in port, by all means, share pictures and reviews with your fans. They WANT to hear your expert advice to know which ships are worth sailing.
13. Fam trip reports
I know too many agencies who require these reports from staff and then stuff them in a folder where they will never be seen again. You are experiencing travel while on these Fam trips and NEED to share those experiences with your fan base. This can be in the shape of photos, videos or blog updates. It doesn’t really matter. Either way, tell them what you liked, didn’t like, recommend and find amazing. If you do a good job, you may get a booking or two out of the experience.
14. Client stories
Ever get an email from a client who tells you how GREAT their trip was or wants to let you know about something funny that happened? If so, ask for their permission to share it with everyone. It acts as a testimonial for you and can be entertaining all at once.
15. Answers to common questions
If there are travel questions you get regularly, use the opportunity to share the answer with a wider audience. It may even prompt your fan base to ask you more questions and start engaging. Again…show everyone that you know your stuff and the bookings will follow!
If something is happening in the travel community and you have an opinion to share, you can use your social channel to do so. However, I would caution you to think twice about being excessively controversial or political as it may turn some people away. Some controversy is ok, but too much can be hard to handle for some people.
17. Travel tips
These can be quick tips or longer blog posts about your recommendations. Just like the fun facts, top 10 lists, and other ideas listed here, they help position you are the expert that your are while being useful.
18. Behind-the-scenes updates
If your teams is planning an event or preparing something big, there is always interest in seeing you have fun behind-the-scenes. Be creative here with photos, videos, stories and staff comments.
19. Favourite quotes
Inspiring travel quotes are fairly easy to find (Google to the rescue!) and quick to post. If you are out of inspiration for the day, a quick quote can keep the engagement going with minimal effort.
20. Staff picks
Get your whole team involved in recommending hotels, resorts, cruises, activities or whatever else you can think of. This can be really fun for everyone and helps showcase your agency as a whole.
Think written or video interviews with people on your team, a destination representative, hotel partner, etc.
22. Funny Stories
Whether it’s a cartoon, a funny video, an anecdote or the joke of the week, humor always goes a long way!
23. Updates from the road
This is where you bring out your inner journalist. If you have access to an internet connection or a smartphone while on the road travelling or attending events, you can provide live updates. This works particularly well on Twitter or Facebook where updates can be quick and short. Blog posts take some thought, but you could still provide one update per day once you have a chance to slow down a bit in the evening.
Did you just get a new specialist certification? Did your agency win an important award? Maybe you got featured in the local newspaper. It’s time to let everyone know so they can share in the joy and find out how fabulous you really are!
25. Travel deals
I saved this one for last because it seems like the most obvious choice, yet it’s not always the best one. Depending on your sales goals, you may not want to attract the bargain hunters looking for the best deal. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if deals are a good choice for you.
It’s not as hard as it may seem. Many of the ideas above are already available within your agency or on the web. A simple Google search or using Google Alerts can help you stay in the loop and find interesting content quite easily and without gobbling up your precious time.
Now it’s your turn…
Have you had success with any of the ideas above? Or perhaps I’ve missed a few good ones that you’d like to share?