Across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, “Travel” is one of the most shared topics. As adventure-seekers, we’re inspired by the epic tours our friends, family, and peers post about on social media platforms. Some of the most adventurous or “Instagrammable” photos pique our interests and for the majority of us, leads to an inevitable booking.
Word-of-mouth (or maybe post-of-picture), has been the most effective form of marketing because people buy from those they trust. When consumers see their network post about an experience, they’re more likely to trust their experience than the outdoor adventure travel ad floating in their Facebook feed.
This article covers why your tour operating business needs a social media strategy. It’s important to implement a social strategy because:
- Most people are on social media
- Consumers research for their travel plans before booking
- People post during and after their travels
- Consumers expect customer support on social media platforms
- And social media helps create a brand identity
A Majority of Americans Are On Social Media
There are billions of monthly active users (MAU) on social media platforms. In fact, 72% of Americans use social media. For instance, there are 2.23 billion MAUs on Facebook, 1 billion MAUs on Instagram, 335 million MAUs on Twitter, and 250 million MAUs on Pinterest.
With nearly ¾ of Americans on social media, this impacts the way consumers travel — in how they research and experience an outdoor adventure or location. In fact, 43% of social media users end up making a purchase after seeing it on social.
Travel photos posted by Facebook users affect more than half of users’ travel decisions. This could mean traveling to the same location as their Facebook friend or booking with the same tour operator.
Because social media is so ingrained in our daily lives, people want “Instagrammable” locations now. This means that when they take photos during their outdoor adventure or arriving in a certain location, the landscape and attractions must be picture-worthy.
If your tour operating company is not on social media and actively engaging with consumers, you are missing out on billions of opportunities.
Consumers Research Their Travel Plans
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, consumers research trips and tours before booking because: 1. It helps them get excited. 2. It helps them feel more confident. 3. It helps them create the best experience.
Pinterest found five traveler personas based on user data, one of which is The Adventure Lover. These travelers are looking for active tours and are finding them on Pinterest. This has become a popular travel searching and inspiration social media platform.
Nearly half of American Pinterest users will visit Pinterest before booking their next trip or tour. After a couple of months of “pinning” outdoor adventure content from brands, 76% of travelers make a purchase.
Earlier, we pointed out that outdoor adventure posts on social media affect users’ purchasing decisions. Seeing an outdoor adventure on social media is second to asking friends and family for their recommendations. Social is even more impactful than TV or print media.
If outdoor adventure travelers cannot find your tour booking company while researching or scrolling through their social media feed, they will book with another operator. They’re also going to listen to their network before trusting an ad from a tour operator they’ve never heard of before. They want authenticity and honesty.
Consumers Post on Social Media During and After Their Travel
It’s understandable why so many people post on social media during their adventures — social media has made it the status quo. Social is about sharing your life with an audience. You can also follow others’ adventures and use that as inspiration for your next trip.
With consumers using their smartphones for navigation and making reservations at restaurants, it also makes sense that 85% of them are booking tours on their phones. If someone is in the location of your outdoor adventures, you will have a better chance of reaching them through social media than typical marketing strategies.
Here are a couple of points to consider:
- When people are posting about your tour, can they tag you on social platforms?
- Do you have a hashtag they can use?
- How can they engage with your company past the adventure?
If outdoor adventure travelers can’t tag your company or use your hashtag, your tour company is less likely to be found by their peers.
Social Media Platforms Can Offer Customer Support
Part of the term, “social media” is being social. 63% of people use social media platforms for customer service needs. Having a social strategy to respond to customers help increase customer satisfaction. This in turn helps with word-of-mouth later when they post about their trip.
It’s beneficial to have a social media channel because you can answer questions, comments, and concerns in one place. Because it’s public-facing, others can read your responses, which can help decrease additional customer service requests.
Plus, it gives you a chance to showcase your brand and demonstrate the quality of service.
When you increase customer satisfaction, this creates a snowball effect. You will encourage more word-of-mouth references, tags on social, and a positive opinion of your brand.
Social Media Helps Create a Brand Identity
In addition to marketing efforts, social media helps tour operators build a brand identity.
What’s brand identity?
It’s how people think of, associate, and interact with your brand. A brand identity is a personality, look, and voice that makes you unique. This is important because 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.
If consumers do not already know your brand or trust it, you need to develop that trust. One way in doing that is having a memorable brand that consumers remember and want to support.
By consistently posting on social media and engaging with your audience, you will start to build a loyal customer base. This base will tag you on social media and speak to their friends and family about your brand.
With 72% of Americans on social media, their outdoor travel decisions are influenced by what’s in their feed. You are missing out on opportunities if you are not on social.
Social media is more impactful than TV, print media, or digital advertising. Consumers research their travel plans before booking. You will miss out on bookings if outdoor adventure travelers can’t find your tour guiding company.
Americans like to post on social media during and their adventures. Make sure your tour company is taggable and findable on social platforms.
Having a centralized platform to provide customer service will increase customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Creating a brand identity creates consumer trust and loyalty.