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Late to the party? I think not!

Back when Howard Stern was a relative unknown, there was a statistic floating around that the average Howard Stern fan tuned into the shock jock for 80 minutes a day. The most common reason cited was to hear what he would say next. The average Stern hater tuned in for 150 minutes per day. The most common reason cited was to hear what he would say next.  I am not sure how many listeners he had back in the 80s when he was starting out, but it was significant, and look where it got him. If we scale it back a bit, how would you like to have several hundred thousand fans waiting to hear what you had to say next?  Not likely for most (if not all) agencies, but a piece of cake for the cruise lines.

Someone left a comment on a Travel Weekly article on social networking that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines was “late to the party.” Another commenter said that the cruise lines had no desire to listen to the agencies and to help them market socially. The comments were intriguing. And after a bit of digging,I might be inclined to say that the cruise lines were right on time for this party and to be honest, there is zero incentive for them to work with an agency in the social media realm. The cruise lines are Howard Stern!

Take a look at some numbers pulled from the Facebook pages of the top cruise lines:

socialmedia

Have those numbers sunk in yet? These numbers do not look like those of anyone who was late to a party. Nor do they look like companies who are not interested in social media.  With a few clicks of a mouse, they can post any special they like. They can send a private message targeted to their fans. By logging on and being active twice a day, they are able to monitor their fans and see what excites them.

Carnival and Norwegian have taken it a step further and before you even see their Facebook page, you land on a custom page asking for your contact information. Does anyone doubt the need for that? Does anyone believe that these pages direct their fans to see their trusted travel professional?

It is very clear that they are embracing social media and do not see a need to subsidize anyone else but themselves.  We need to collectively pull our heads out of the sand and realize what is going on around us.  We don’t stand a chance of getting Carnival’s 176,000 fans. I am not sure we’d know what to do with them if we even could get them. But this clearly demonstrates that social media has become a big player in the sales game and contrary to the comment at Travel Weekly, I might be inclined to say that most of us are running a bit behind schedule!

Don’t believe me? How many new prospects did you get today? I pulled the numbers for this column 9 hours ago and in the past nine hours, Carnival has picked up 2,213 new fans, 21 new pictures, made two posts, received 121 comments, and 194 “likes” on those two posts!

Interested in seeing what they are now?

Royal Caribbean
Carnival
Norwegian
Princess

  3 thoughts on “Late to the party? I think not!

  1. Janet Engel says:

    Could not agree more on this. Travel agents must get onboard here…check out the FB page I created for exactly this reason!
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Social-Media-for-Travel-Professionals/101307143247209?ref=mf

  2. Ian Jackson says:

    Impressive !!! (i totally agree with whats been written here)

  3. Steph Lee says:

    Great article John! The social media arena is wide open for agents right now with relatively few traditional brick and mortars having really made a name for themselves in it. That’s great news for those that haven’t started their social media campaigns — you’re not quite as late to the party as you may think!

    BTW, Janet’s FB page is fabulous for those looking for resources and articles on expanding their social media marketing. Found some great stuff on it!

    Steph Lee – TravelQuest

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