We Like Tattletales

The "Best Kept Secrets" issue. Every major travel magazine publishes at least one issue each year dedicated to shedding light on these great "finds." And the featured destinations, properties, and providers inevitably bask in the glow of newfound attention and legitimacy.

But who wants to wait to be discovered by the media? With today's 24-7 connectivity, and every traveler armed with the equipment necessary to immediately share whatever it is they are experiencing right as they are experiencing it, the question is, what are you doing to enable your current clientele to share your secret with the world?

Let's think about it. The constant sharing of information via the social web has changed consumer behavior. Gone is the time where people held their "finds" close to the vest. It's now a badge of honor to find and share. Consumers feel legitimized when others acknowledge and affirm their experiences. Today's interconnected society allows everyone to be a trendsetter or a trendspotter or simply just participate in shaping the dialogue.



So how do you harness this phenomenon and empower your customers to tell your story? By providing them the chance to talk about you during all three phases of their interaction with you, and by rewarding them for doing so.

Phase 1: Discovery/Booking

As your prospective customer is getting to know you, make sure they are able to share what they find. Enable share tools on your site so that visitors can share content they've discovered there.

Once they've decided to book with you, make sure they can share their itineraries via email. And encourage them to invite people along for the trip virtually by giving them a space where they can set up a trip profile page and eventually share their trip content.

Phase 2: Travel

Remember the good old "Wish You Were Here" postcards? Let's be honest, we all know we didn't actually want "you" here -- we just wanted you to know we were there. Social media has amplified the postcard effect exponentially because of the response factor -- immediate gratification for the braggart in all of us. So encourage your customers to brag a little -- remind them to share pictures, tweet, as well as update their status on Facebook -- right now. And consider immediately rewarding them for doing so -- offer an upgrade, a free drink, or rewards points for telling your story to their networks.

Phase 3: Post Travel

Just because the trip is over doesn't mean the conversation is. In fact for most travelers the story-telling has just begun. Make sure you are monitoring the web, picking up on conversation about your brand and engaging with those who are having it.

These days, it's definitely not about keeping secrets. It's about letting your story be told and knowing that you will only be one of many voices telling it. Harness the power of your customers as your storytellers and embrace the fact that while you may not always create the dialogue, there is no reason why you shouldn't be participating in and propagating it to your fullest advantage.

3 comments about "We Like Tattletales ".
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  1. Leyla Arsan from Lotus Marketing, June 28, 2010 at 12:53 p.m.

    Travel has always been about bragging rights. Who doesn't love sharing their travels with their friends who are stuck in the office. I know I do!

  2. Ron Callari from iOptimize Marketing, June 28, 2010 at 2:27 p.m.

    Hi Beth, great article. It actually defines what our social media service entails. ( greets the hotel guest or airline passenger at time of booking by attaching our service to the hotel's or airlines' online booking engine. At that moment in time, the confirmed booker can tweet or send out a status update via Twitter,Facebook and LinkedIn.

    Then during the stay the guest receives a voucher for a free 'room upgrade' that can be retrieved at a check-in. He or she then receives a unique URL where both the concierge at the hotel and the guests' social communities can communicate on this individual's URL page with suggestions as to what see and do near the hotel.

    Post-stay, we email all guests with requests for them to critique their stay with their social communities and Trip Advisor.

    Never thought of it in that way- but guess could be called the travel industy's first 'automated' tattletale!

  3. Jeff Goldscher from Aquarius Sports & Entertainment, June 28, 2010 at 3:32 p.m.

    Couldn't agree more - we encourage our hotel clients to repeatedly ask guests for reviews (good or bad), and also to use social media to spread other "hidden gems". Smart way to increase loyalty for frequent visitors to the same cities and build relationships (versus just shouting with discounts).

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