Top Travel Twitter Chats For DMOs

A successful DMO today needs to have an established presence on social media. The art of developing creative content, high click tweets, Instagram filters and Facebook albums is being mastered by destination marketers globally. So, what’s next? What are other ways to increase engagement and make your social channels buzz with activity?

Hosting, sponsoring or participating in a travel Twitter chat allows destinations to re-purpose evergreen content, stunning imagery and spotlight signature events. According to Simply Measured:

  • There are approximately 550 million registered users on Twitter, and 241 million monthly active users (a great pool to draw from if you’re looking to expand your follower base).
  • 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads (and live chats can provide you with micro market research on what your followers think, want, and wonder about).

There are more than 300 existing Twitter chats and we’ve selected our top travel and tourism chats below.

#TL_Chat2#TL_Chat

Host: Travel+ Leisure Magazine @TravlandLeisure

Time/Date: Each Tuesday from 2-3 pm (EST).

Details: Each week is a different theme. Past themes include how to book vacation rentals, road trips, pet-friendly travel, California getaways and eating like a local.

girstravel2#girlstravel

Host: @travelgogirl

Time/Date: Each Monday – 6-6:30pm GMT

Details: First-ever travel chat for women. Empowering and connecting women with @WITSummit and a weekly travel chat. Each chat has a theme such as travel + moms, cultural celebrations, rural travel and guilty pleasures.

#FoodTravelChat2#FoodTravelChat

Host: @FoodTravelist

Time/Date: Each Wednesday 8pm EST.

Details: Connect with food travelers from around the world to discover unique experiences, tastes, cafes, restaurants and delicacies.

travelskills2#TravelSkills

Hosts: @cjmcginnis and @JohnnyJet

Time/Date: Each Friday 12-1pm EST.

Details: Great travel tips, destination inspiration and recommendations from where to find cheap airfare and get the best hotel room to insider scoops on the best promotions. Chat questions include summer travel pain points, transportation tips and exotic trips.

#travex2

#TRAVEX

Sponsor: Travel Squire @travelsquire

Time/Date: Each Wednesday – 5-5:30 PM EST

Details: A digital magazine and travel therapist trip consulting service. Founder of #TRAVEX

#foodiechats2#FoodieChats

Sponsor: @Foodiechats worldwide online foodie community https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSYdp7WLTgk&feature=youtu.be

Time/Date: Each Monday 8pm ET

Details: Common hashtag that foodies, bloggers, consumers and influencers use on Twitter. Great way to promote local food and specialty restaurants.

luxchat2

#LuxChat

Sponsor: Chat moderated by @LuxuryPRGal

Time/Date: Each Wednesday – 2:30 pm PST

Details: #luxchat is a live, interactive Twitter discussion about luxury brands, travel, hotels and food. Currently on hiatus until fall 2014

#TRLT2#TRLT (The Road Less Travelled)

Hosts: @TheTravelCamel, @Sihpromatum and @PointChaser

Time/Date: Each Tuesday 1-2pm EST

Details: International destinations that are often overlooked such as Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Central America. Past topics include solo travel, aquatic adventures, travel oddities, adrenalin and spooky places.

#seetheworld2

#SeeTheWorld

Host: @TheCultureur a luxury travel, culture and lifestyle website and managed by @NyssaPC

Time/Date: First Wednesday of the month at 12pPST/3pEST

Details: A weekly Twitter Chat discussing all things related to travel, food, lifestyle, and culture, with a new destination every week.

Tripit2#tripitchat

Sponsor: @TripIt

Time/Date: Third Thursdays of each month.

Details: Tripit discusses travel websites and search engines, planning tips and advice. The company has itinerary templates online and sample itineraries to destinations in Europe, the US, Australia and South Africa.

Website: http://www.tripit.com/destinations/

 

 

travelwell33
#TravelWell

Sponsor and Host: @Pravassa

Time/Date: The first and third Wednesday of the month at 4:30PM EST.

Details: Each week has a new theme related to wellness such as staycations, yoga in Thailand, new hotels and healthy food.

 

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This Just In: AdWeek Highlights DMOs That Partner With Social Influencers for Big Results

follow your nola2

Unlike regular consumer products, selling travel is the art of converting sales for an intangible collection of experiences. What’s more, these targeted consumers need to journey away from their home to obtain the value of their purchase, providing an added challenge for destination marketers to overcome.

Social media has allowed destination marketers an engaging channel to entice potential travelers by harnessing the power of virtual word-of-mouth. DMOs have found success developing creative socially driven campaigns to engage and attract visitors.

For example, The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board’s “What’s Your L.A. Story?” campaign, showcases the city in 15-second video vignettes, highlighting true visitor stories such as a father and son visiting the venue where The Doors debuted. Instagram Influencers were also courted to visit the destination and tag  posted photos with #LAStory. This accounted for half the campaign’s 25 million social media impressions.

New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. used a similar tactic with their “Follow Your NOLA,” inviting a dozen digital story tellers to the city. To date, the “Follow Your NOLA” campaign has generated 600 million total impressions and drove a 20 percent increase in traffic to neworleansonline.com.

For the full article, click here. 

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Social Media Challenges in Destination Marketing

This article was re-posted from the Business 2 Community blog on August 2, 2014.

Earlier this year, we celebrated Facebook’s 10th anniversary, LinkedIn boasted more than 300 million active users while TripAdvisor now has more than 175 million reviews. We have come to expect seeing travel & hospitality stakeholders managing accounts on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or even Google+. In other words, social media marketing has moved beyond bells and whistles and is now the mainstay of a sound digital strategy, along with having a transactional, mobile-optimized website and a clean database for frequent, automated emails and/or newsletters. But while social media is now recognized as important, in particular within the travel vertical, managing it remains a constant challenge.

BEST PRACTICES

During its most recent annual summit in Vegas, DMAI (Destination Marketing Association International) shared the results from a recent study conducted by Development Counsellors International, surveying more than 100 individuals responsible for social media marketing at destination marketing organizations across North America. Some findings were real eye-openers, confirming what many observers suspected: while social media are considered important for a majority, budget allocation remains marginal, at best.

Social Media Challenges in Destination Marketing image Screen Shot 2014 07 24 at 12.32.29 PM 600x391

This chart shows that 71% of destinations surveyed must deal with a social media marketing budget of less than 25,000$. Perhaps even more surprisingly, 99% of organizations have a digital marketing budget, yet only 60% have a dedicated envelope for social media activities.

Social Media Challenges in Destination Marketing image Screen Shot 2014 07 24 at 12.33.03 PM 600x436

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This second chart demonstrates beyond any doubt how social media are under-represented in the big picture of digital marketing budgets. Roughly 76% of destinations allocate less than 10% of their total marketing budgets to social media, regardless of the size of the digital marketing budget to being with!

Social Media Challenges in Destination Marketing image Screen Shot 2014 07 28 at 10.17.19 PM 600x170

So how are social media budgets spent? Some very interesting findings here, shedding light on some best practices by destinations in their social media efforts. According to the survey, most popular budget allocations are:

  • 39% in paid promotion: promoted tweets, Facebook ads and promoted posts, etc.
  • 29% in content development: graphics, writing, photos and videos, apps.
  • 28% invest in Human Resources for engagement.
  • 18% spend on contest initiatives.
  • 13% spend their budget on monitoring tools such as Radian6, VocusSocial, Sysomos, etc.

Social Media Challenges in Destination Marketing image Screen Shot 2014 07 24 at 12.37.04 PM 600x487

One eye-opening finding is that destination brands with intermediate social media marketing budgets seem to be the ones outsourcing this function the most. In particular organizations with budgets within the 25,000-50,000$ bracket, 83% of which outsource their social media activities, handing it over to agencies and/or freelance experts. We are not so surprised to see that destinations with the smallest budgets tend to keep activities in-house, since budgets are scarce to being with. Nevertheless, it is somewhat surprising to find out that virtually one out of every three DMO outsources its social media activities.

Social Media Challenges in Destination Marketing image Screen Shot 2014 07 24 at 12.40.51 PM 600x478

Finally, when surveying what are today’s top social media challenges face by DMOs, again I was somewhat surprised not to see some concerns rank higher, i.e. maintaining engagement, or budget constraints. In fact, the biggest challenge seems to be one shared by many industries alike, and not just in marketing: time, or a lack therof. Over 30% of destination marketing managers identified time as a key challenge, specially with new social networks and mobile apps creeping up all the time and despite of softwares that help managing it all.

It’s no wonder the second biggest challenge is to stay abreast of new trends and technologies that can help making sense of it all. In fact, attending industry events, conferences and participating in various training and webinars is a key component of staying on top of evolving trends and finding out the tools and tech to help managers in their everyday chores handling social media activities.

Social Media Challenges in Destination Marketing image Screen Shot 2014 07 24 at 12.44.31 PM 600x78

One last word. Return on investment (ROI) is almost always a key performance indicator in most organizations, yet it remains elusive in particular in destination marketing, where direct sales are not core to their business model (compared, say, to a hotel, restaurant or transportation). Nevertheless, it’s surprising to see only 8.1% of respondents identifying this challenge as key. Does it make it less important to measure? Of course not, but it does reflect how difficult it remains to “prove” social media campaigns, and that destination marketing organizations have integrated different ways to address this concern in some shape or form.

Do any of the above results surprise you? I would love to hear your comments in the section below.

Click here for more on this DMAI report

 

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Four Tips To Overcome The Digital Travel Marketing Disruptors

This article published on Skift one year ago, The Destination Marketing Organization Model in Tourism Is Broken, challenged DMOs to re-examine their marketing model to remain effective in the fast-evolving digital landscape. Skift identified four disruptors to DMOs: the rise of the collaborative economy, user generated content, OTAs and mobile platforms.

To not just survive, but to thrive in today’s destination and travel marketing environment, here are four actionable ways to overcome each disruptor.

1. Leveraging Aggregate Travel Audiences

  • Disruptor: The collaborative economy
  • Don’t view the peer-to-peer (P2P) movement as a threat, but as an expanded community with niche audiences to leverage. If AirBnB is becoming popular in your destination, what can your destination do to capitalize on the consumers visiting the site to book a place to stay? Explore advertising opportunities to push to your booking engine or accommodation partners. Participate in social media chats sponsored by other travel aggregators like the #Expediachat Twitter chat or the Travelocity Gnome’s #gosmelltheroses twitter chat. Show that your destination understands this new travel ecosystem and how to be an active player in this evolving space.

2. Instagram and Vine Are The Little Black Dress of Travel Marketing

  • Disruptor: The rising importance of UGC and social platforms
  • The ability to create and curate user generated content (UGC) is imperative for any destination’s marketing plan.  Research continues to show that consumers trust the opinions of other consumers, travel bloggers, friends and family over brand advertising. Work with popular digital influencers across Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to promote your destination. For DMOs, curating content is more valuable than creating content. So leveraging visually-driven  UGC on Instagram or Vine can be a time saving way to publish more personal content. Vine, the video-only social platform, is exploding right now. According to Mashable, five Vine videos are tweeted every second and the platform has 40 million users. DMOs can regram a picture or video on Instagram or revine a video on Vine to share third-party content with their followers.

3. Be Visual

  • Disruptor: The dominance of OTAs in the distribution system
  • DMO websites still play a vital role in inspirational travel, even though OTAs are dominating the consumer search and buying process.  OTAs are most often used to search for the best deals once a specific destination has been shortlisted. However, DMO digital platforms offer inspiration when consumers are still selecting which locations to shortlist. To be effective, make sure your website plays into the aspirational values and experiences for which your target audience is looking. Be visual!  For cost-effective imagery, create a promotion to drive image content creation. For example, HotelTonight created the “Snap Your Stay” campaign to encourage users to take pictures and upload shots of their hotel rooms to receive credits ranging from $5 to $10. As a DMO, you could partner with a hotel, city coupon service like CityPASS or Entertainment Book, attractions, or restaurants to encourage travelers to generate content using specific hashtags.

4. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

  • Disruptor: Mobile
  • By this time, responsive design in mobile is old news.  Your best bet to stand out from the clutter online is personalization. From touchdown to takeoff, every digital touch point you have should be mobile optimized. Whether you have a responsive design website, app, social channels or emails—personalize whenever possible. Personalization can be achieved on a website or in an email by asking consumers their interests in a pop-up, then customizing the content consumers receive. The more custom content you can deliver—the  better.

When mapping out your digital strategy, use the traveler expectation infographic to identify gaps in your current marketing and ways to optimize.

travel infographic3

What else have you done to ensure your DMO evolves with the dynamic travel marketing industry?

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Top Eight Digital Influencers for Travel

We live in the era of digital influencers — individuals with loyal social media followings whose words and images can motivate an army of consumers to book a vacation. Travel is a visual experience, so photo-driven social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have become the perfect fit for showcasing a destination’s attributes. For DMOs, […]

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The ABCs of Travel Marketing

Ready to soak up the sun this summer? See the latest trends in travel marketing. From gamification to fun filters to Prezi presentations to unexpected experiences—DCI spells it out one letter at a time. Download the full PDF here.  Augmented Reality and Apps Back to basics, don’t forget the essentials travelers often look for, helpful […]

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Gamification: How Destinations Are Jumping On Board

Move over social media badges, gamification is getting more sophisticated and DMOs are jumping on board. Social media badges are the Super Mario’s of the Nintendo gaming world. Simply put, badges are the first iteration of a fast evolving complex mechanism. We’re entering the Xbox360 and PlayStation high stakes era. In fact, a Gartner Study […]

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The Future of E-commerce and Online Travel Booking

On Monday, Amazon announced a new shopping feature for Twitter.  When consumers see products or gear in promoted tweets, they can respond to the ad and include the #AmazonCart hashtag to have those items automatically added in their Amazon shopping carts. This innovative e-commerce idea transitions Twitter from a simple publishing platform to an e-commerce […]

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It’s all in the details: Driving social media engagement with photos

We know it’s cliché—a picture speaks 1,000 words—but it’s also true. For a DMO, photos are key to driving engagement on social media channels. Consider this: photos on Facebook receive 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more click-throughs than text alone according to Kissmetrics.   On Twitter, users are engaged […]

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Email Marketing Best Practices for Tourism

After waking up, what’s the first thing you do in the morning? Brush your teeth? Make coffee? If you answered check email on your phone, you’re not alone. According to SOASTA, 67 percent of smartphone users who check apps look at email first thing in the morning. That means one of the most effective means of […]

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