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Marketing Travel Online is discussed on TalkShoe.com – some Highlights

What a fun discussion!  Patricia and Michael Chaffin just had a lively conversation around online marketing in the tourism industry on Talkshoe.com’s IndieHotelier podcast.  Here is the recap if you don’t have time to listen to the conversation.
 

With 66 million users on Facebook, social media is the most active engaged audience that a marketer could ask for.  Other Social media sites including MySpace, Linkedin.com, Twitter.com keep you connected with your “communities”.  Your communities can be your friends, colleagues, people with similar interests etc.
 

As a marketer, Social media is the “most powerful word of mouth” says Patricia.  Michael adds to the discussion that word of mouth is the best form of advertising as the audience is active and engaged in your message – he also points out that mainstream marketing is not as effective any longer. 
 

One way communication is not engaging for consumers who are bombarded with thousands of messages a day.  Patricia and Michael discussed our short attention span as we are constantly interrupted by marketing messages, and threads of conversations through mobile phone instant messages, MSN IM, email etc.
 

So the question was asked – “What does this mean to me as an advertiser of travel?”
 
Patricia pointed out that travel marketing for the most part remains to be a stagnant one way communication from the brands (both hotel brands and intermediaries) – but some are starting to adapt  more of a user generated space allowing users to participate in the conversation.  A great example of this is Sheraton Hotel and Resort’s “Must Do” campaign.   This contest allows the users to tell the “brand story.”

Michael asks – what can a hotel do?
Patricia suggested adding videos and images and stories, or add groups to websites like Facebook, UTube, Flickr, travelpod and she mentions a Hotel group out of Nova Scotia – Signature Resorts that has launched  a  “Nova Scotia summer vacation memory” campaign that invites users to post their Nova Scotia Signature Resorts memories to win a digital camera.  This allows these resorts to have the audience help to create their brand message and tell the stories.
 

The internet has really created a forum where consumers want to hear and be engaged in the “stories” and not just continually receiving the one way brand messages that we as advertisers traditionally push out.  The discussion circled back to – so what do we do about all of this?!  The answer is Don’t bury your head in the sand – listen to the conversations (use tools like Blogpulse.com, Google alerts, Technorati) and monitor and participate in your own brand message – according to both Patricia and Michael.
So where is this heading?  What now? Work on your content – on your story.  Don’t jump to any new technology…focus on your experience b/c no matter what technology you apply – you need to encourage the “conversation” and ensure that there are good stories to be told.  Don’t be afraid of telling the stories.

Great information – thanks Michael and Patricia!  There was also some discussion around Blog writing – and what makes a Blog a successful and well read one.  Let me know out there – am I providing content to you that is engaging and fun?  Do my posts make you want to return?  Do you want more of Henrietta’s travels?  Till next time…
[tags]marketing travel online, hotel marketing, internet marketing, Michael Chaffin, talkshoe.com, a couple of chicks, social media, facebook, hotel brands, blogs, indiehotelier, tourism marketing[/tags]

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