5 reasons why Twitter is NOT obsolete for tourism marketing

Despite finding it’s way into the presidential debate, onto national news, investigative reporting, and into our workplaces (come on, when’s the last time you went to a marketing conference without a Twitter hashtag?), Twitter sometimes gets a bad wrap. Twitter may not be the most lucrative social media platform in terms of the company’s own raw revenue, but it does have a unique, indelible place in our social media ecosystem. And this is especially true for tourism marketing experts. Here’s why.

Reason 1.  Twitter attracts tourism marketing experts:

Twitter often attracts specialists due to the conversational nature of the platform. Likeminded individuals and experts can easily find each other using a simple hashtag or searching by specific jargon. Unlike other social media platforms that require you to link accounts with someone before you can interact with them, Twitter encourages open connection and discussion. Top tastemakers and reviewers suddenly have real, human access to the most coveted chefs, destination authorities, and tourism officials. And potential travelers have a front row seat to the conversation (and can even get in on the action). If you are hoping to truly connect with influencers, Twitter is a great place to catch their attention by reaching out directly and engaging with them in conversations where they are already participating. This is especially valuable for new destinations and growing brands because, according to Social Media Today, customers are more than 44% more likely to discover a new tourism destination on Twitter than any other social media platform. It’s where you go if you want insider, in-the-know information.

Reason 2. Twitter aggregates many geo-location platforms:

Because Twitter links to almost every geo-based social media platform (think: FourSquare, Instagram, Facebook, Vine and more), it has become the great aggregator of location-centric marketing. It’s no surprise that tourism destinations such as Greece and Iceland are rising to the top of every trendy travel channel when Twitter is literally inundated with check-ins, geo-tagged photos, and live tweets from these destinations. You simply can’t ignore the slow influx of a certain trend when you see it all in one place. And the more your destination is seen, the more it will be top of mind when your customers are ready to book their next trip. But you don’t need to passively wait for your destination to become popular. Search for trends near your region or in your niche market that might help you differentiate your brand from the competition and run with it. A few years ago, for example, molecular gastronomy took the Riviera Maya by storm. Emerging hotel chains, such as Karisma Hotel’s Azul and El Dorado Resorts, jumped on the trend and began tweeting about their offerings to the excitement of many foodies and tourism experts. Today, they are known as the #gourmetinclusive all-inclusive alternative focusing on good food and inclusive service. What will your next hashtag be?

Reason 3. Communication is the king of tourism marketing:

At its heart, tourism marketing is a service industry. That means that providing good customer service when your destination is at its best – and worst – can literally make or break your brand image. Unlike email (with routine 12-24 hour wait times) and customer service hotlines (that always seem to be experiencing “unusually high call volumes”), Twitter presents an opportunity for near instantaneous communication and gratification. When a flight is delayed or your bags are lost and no one at the service desk seems to be able to help, Twitter becomes an outlet to vent frustrations. When you receive the best massage of your life and simply need to share a humble brag, Twitter becomes the perfect platform to let your follows know sp-ahhh time was awesome. Over 70% of customers who cite tweeting (both good and bad) say they felt better afterward. We believe this is because many companies monitor their Twitter accounts and are in practice of responding to customers. It’s a great service tool for one of the most critical service industries and should never be overlooked when building your customer outreach strategy.

Reason 4. You can let the tools do the work for you:

Some marketers are under the impression that Twitter requires a substantial amount of work because the livestream conversation never stops. This, however, could not be farther from the truth. Twitter is one of the easiest platforms to use when mining customer insights or scheduling content. There are countless social listening tools that tap directly into your Twitter feed, numerous analytics and reach measurement tools tracking your Tweet exposure, and even more scheduling and retweeting tools that allow you to wrap up your content in one neat package and have it sent into the internet at your allocated time. You can even retweet other peoples’ content if you don’t have time to generate your own. Twitter is an open source of information about your customers, your competitors, and your industry – and it’s often free to collect this information. The simple fact is that Twitter makes it easy for you to use and mine insights from the platform, so it would be silly not to take advantage of the opportunity.

Reason 5. Because your competitors have it:

Chances are, your competitors have Twitter accounts. And if they don’t, they should. There is no reason not to have a Twitter presence and most businesses understand that even if they don’t invest fervently in the platform. Thus, if you aren’t keeping pace with your competition, this is a missed opportunity. Naturally, if you are ahead of the curve and your competition hasn’t caught on yet, this is good news for you too. Twitter may not be your primary marketing focus, but posting and retweeting between 3-6 tweets a day (something that could take an hour or two of scheduling for the whole month if you know the types of content you want to expose), can have a real and meaningful impact.

No matter what your reasons are, we can’t think of many reasons why Twitter isn’t valuable for hospitality and tourism professionals. Tourism marketing has a unique opportunity to benefit from Twitter’s influential sphere and to keep your brand top of mind for potential customers. … And as we mentioned in our previous blog post about how to engage customers in new and meaningful ways (click here for more on that), this is the key to success.