Four years ago I wrote my first set of 365 Guide articles on social media. Much has changed since then, but fundamental marketing basics still prevail. As baffling and time consuming as social media marketing can seem, real results can follow. Almost every travel planner who engages in some form of social media marketing can now boast of at least one acquisition of significant business resulting from a Facebook post, a tweet or a well placed comment on an online forum. Many tour operators, cruise lines, hotel chains and airlines have honed “SMM” to a fine art.
Indeed, the travel industry seems particularly well positioned to exploit the potential resident in social media. If at the heart of online marketing is conversation, there are few activities people more like to discuss than travel. Everyone loves a travel story, especially their own, and given the opportunity will happily add to their collection. Travel is deeply ingrained in the human psyche and we owe our very existence to our ancestor’s willingness to seek out a horizon. Combine our wanderlust with a sense of narrative, and travel’s place in social marketing is pretty much assured.
Still, there is much to be learned. For every success story there are dozens of travel agents, tour companies and hotel properties still struggling to develop their online presence. The pitfalls are many, the platforms are confusing and the results difficult to measure. Amazingly, for all of the media devoted to social media marketing, there existed no resource dedicated to the crossroad where social media and travel met.
Introducing TRO SMITH – Social Media In Travel and Hospitality. TRO’s contribution to our industry’s discussion is dedicated to bringing the best minds in marketing and the brightest in travel together at one place to discuss the unique proposition of marketing travel to consumers and customers of all types through digital media. We hope to gain by giving. There is much to be learned and TRO wants to provide a forum where those conversations can be had openly so we can glean as much as possible from each other. If you want to learn more about social media marketing as it relates to travel, TRO SMITH is a good first stop.
I have the honor of being accompanied by a great team. We are proud to announce Ms. Sophie Bujold as our Editor in Chief. Sophie’s expertise in both the travel industry and in social media marketing is well known and she brings her own stable of fans to the party. John Frenaye is our articles editor and behind the scenes Chris Burton has his hands on the technology reigns.
Already several major companies have contributed articles to our fledgling publication and we start with a look at the amazing skill demonstrated by industry leader Intrepid Travel, perhaps the most brilliant social media star in the travel sky. Intrepid Travel’s craftsmanship in their product and in their marketing efforts are so extraordinary as to be the best possible example to showcase the potential of social media to create and maintain a loyal following. Our first week of articles also examines the role of contests in marketing efforts, and the Pinterest platform as a natural portal for our travel fantasies to be on display. I’m also pleased TRO’s good friend Nolan Burris contributed a video introduction for our debut.
Please think of TRO SMITH as a site dedicated to the travel industry’s quest to achieve best practices, to live up to the potential inherent in its DNA. Let us hear from you, leave us comments and make us work for your respect. We will do our best to earn it.