How Social Media CAN Work | TravelResearchOnline


How Social Media CAN Work

Some of us “older” curmudgeons have expressed bewilderment over what all the ballyhoo is about when it comes to social media and our travel businesses.  There is Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (someone is trying to resurrect it), Pinterest, Instagram, and more.  I’ve seen posts in forums and communities like TRO’s that constantly question the value of social media, and how some folks “never” get business from those avenues.  So I have to wonder, are you doing it right?

The perfect example cropped up today.  I have a client booked to Cancun, departing in two weeks.  I was at a supplier training last night and learned about a promo code that would get the client a complimentary upgrade to first class on their outbound flight.  Once the promotion was applied and confirmed I had four options on how to advise my client:  text message, email, private message on Facebook, or posting it on his Facebook wall.  The first three would have been effective in advising him, and only him, of this great perk I secured for him.  However, I was looking for a subtle way to say “look at me, I’m your AWESOME travel consultant” and telling the world about it at the same time.  So I posted on his Facebook wall.

What happened next?  Within four hours a friend of his commented on the post, and then contacted me.  She was getting ready to plan her honeymoon, could I help her?  Do you think she’s hoping for a complimentary first class upgrade?  I’m sure she is, and if the promo is still applicable, I will get it for her just as well.

And for those that are still sitting on the social media fence, here’s another example from last year.  In 2010 I reconnected with an old neighbor and high school friend via Facebook.  She found out I was a travel consultant and had me book her Fall 2010 school break trip with her two sons.  In early 2011 she contacted me again, but this time to book the family trip (seven passengers, four rooms) on a Regent Seven Seas Cruise for 12 nights in Scandinavia.  The ONLY reason I got that booking is because we reconnected through social media, and she found out I was a travel consultant.

But my point here is this:  Facebook and other social media, IF USED PROPERLY, can lead to new business for you, without costing you a fortune in marketing funds.  Don’t be afraid of social media, and give it a chance.  You don’t have to jump into EVERY social media avenue out there.  Pick a couple, and wade into the shallow waters at first.  Get some tips from some of our social media gurus here on TRO, ask other agents what has worked for them, and experiment.  Most importantly, find SUBTLE ways to promote your business without looking like you are promoting your business … like advising a client about an upgrade you got him by posting on his Facebook wall.  It really can work.

Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel ( located in Brentwood, Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations ( she focuses on travel for young adults under 35. Susan can be reached by email at or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

  6 thoughts on “How Social Media CAN Work

  1. “Don’t be afraid of social media, and give it a chance. You don’t have to jump into EVERY social media avenue out there. Pick a couple, and wade into the shallow waters at first.”

    AMEN! This is SO important for everyone to avoid feeling overwhelmed by social media.

    I would also add that you should start with the networks that appeal most to you since those will tend to be your most enjoyable and successful ventures.

    In other words, if the thought of making a video turns your stomach upside down, don’t start on YouTube 🙂

  2. Great point Sophie!!

    Another example of how Facebook can work, happened this week … I booked a client to Beaches Ocho Rios for the end of March … she was so giddy with excitement that SHE posted about it on her Facebook wall. In less than 10 MINUTES I had 3 new FB friends as a result of that post, and 2 of them have already booked with me.

  3. There are so many ways to work that referral system. After all, social media is mostly networking. I see many people who get hung up over the fact that there’s technology involved. Once they get past that, it becomes much more natural for them to participate. It sounds like you’re in your online networking groove 🙂

  4. margo rose says:

    I’m sorry, but I do disagree with what the author did here. IMO, I do not and will not post that sort of information on anyone’s wall. Many of my clients don’t want their clients and maybe, their friends to know that they’re going on a wonderful and perhaps, expensive vacation. I would request that they repost my Private Message that I will send in the event of news like this.

  5. Margo,

    I would agree that you need to know your clients. When I posted about the flight upgrade on my clients wall, I knew they wouldn’t object (they’d already posted about the trip, talked about where they were going etc). If I’m not sure about a client’s reaction I wouldn’t arbitrarily post private info on their wall.

  6. Mike Zimmardi says:

    I like the idea of posting it on the wall, but you have to be careful. Posting dates of travel or any hints could inform people they don’t want to know. Also, it would be a good idea to get their permission first as you did.

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