As I mentioned before, word-of-mouth has always been the best marketing vehicle in travel. But unlike mass media, it has been invisible. Not anymore. People are now sharing en-mass on message boards, blogs, review sites and social networks. So this is part where we’ll save you some time and money by encouraging your customers to share their experiences online so you can reap maximum bennefits generated by word-of-mouth.
In #1 Be Remarkable I explained that you first need to give somebody something worth talking about. In #2 Get your website in order we gave consumers a place to go after they hear about you. In #3 Monitor and Respect Tripadvisor we took care of Tripadvisor, the most important place for you to invest your time. Now let’s encourage consumers to share and save you some time.
Tripadvisor is also the obvious starting place to ask your customers to share the great time they had at your business. And when I say ask, I don’t mean ‘bribe’. In the transparent online world, unethical behaviour will get caught (and punished). Some ideas are to mention Tripadvisor on checkout, or add a simple “Share your experience with us on Tripadvisor” on an invoice or receipt.
Tripadvisor is used at the end of the purchase cycle, when a consumer is close to a purchase. It’s the last check to validate what they’ve learned about your business against consumer reviews. That means a consumer found out about you someplace else, earlier in the purchase cycle. In traditional marketing, this can be a newspaper article or a guidebook. There are social networks who tailor to consumers earlier in the purchase cycle, allowing you to use your past customers to create awareness among others.
In the 21th century, this might be a specific special interest website where your target audience shares experiences, based on the business you run. There are also destination specific websites. Our HelloBC Blogs section for example. How do you find the networks most relevant for you? Ask you customers, and see if you can find a pattern. Or Google around and see if you can find a place where your target audience ‘relive and recommend’. And when you find it, encourage your customers to share.