Brand Journalism, Tourism

Fakecationing Is Now a Thing; How DMOs Should Strike Back

Because social media apparently matters more than real life, people are now foregoing vacations to instead go on “fakecations.”  These involve posing in front of destination posters, using knuckles as stand-ins for bare leg stand-ins and, basically, playing pretend.

Of course, a fakecation won’t do much for a DMO’s revenue stream.

So what’s a destination marketer to do? Will millennials, only interested in impressing their friends, stop traveling altogether? Will all vacations become fakeations? Is the world coming to an end?

Instead of panicking, DMOs could get in on the fun times, and do some Instagram newsjacking of their own. Here are a few ideas:

    • Troll the #fakay and #fakecation hashtags. If you see any fake photos in your destination, shout out to the folks who posted them. Be witty. Be clever. Tell them how much more awesome your destination is IRL. Offer to show them around. Send them a link to low-cost flights.
    • Take a series of real-life photos in front of your destination’s landmarks with DMO staffers. Then, take a series of staged, fakay photos. Post ‘em, and ask your fans and followers to pick the real from the fake.
    • Showcase the REAL charms of your destination. Take some killer shots and tag ‘em with your own hashtag — #realcation, #takethatfakeaction, #getonaplane — whatever works. Make people jealous.
    • Write a list, “10 Reasons Why a Real Trip to (your destination) Beats a Fakecation”. Make it funny, witty, irreverent. Or, “Don’t Believe Everything You See on Social Media: How to Spot a Fakay” (filled with ways to tell if someone’s actually been to your destination). Or make up one of your own.

Bottom line: get in on the conversation in an engaging way. Break out your sense of humor. Be amusing. This is a hell of an opportunity to have some social media fun. Don’t miss out! Potential travelers are waiting.

TRAVELMARKETINSIDER.COM is owned and published by Jennifer Barbee, Inc.  JB Inc. is a different kind of web firm.  We focus on aggressive performance improvement for DMOs and travel companies. 

Keep your vendors, increase results. :-)

For an initial analysis and discovery call, email sales@jenniferbarbee.com

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Tourism, Weekly Tourism Wrap Up

TMI’s Weekly Tourism Wrap Up: Cool Stuff on Our Radar, 7/18 Edition

In honor of the end of the week and our love for you, dear readers, we’re presenting a weekly wrap-up of cool tourism-related stuff we’ve spotted. Anything is fair game for this post, from a rad Instagram photo to a multi-million dollar brand campaign to our fave new hashtag.

So if you’ve got tips or awesome content you think we oughta mention, email us at press@jenniferbarbee.com. We’ll be doing this round-up on the weekly, so you’ve got something else to look forward to on Fridays. ;)

Snapshots of Salt Lake: We’re digging the winners of Visit Salt Lake’s  ‘Salt Lake Exposed’ photo contest — from skateboarders to stoplights, we feel like we took a insta-cation to Utah.

Bambi’s mom lives: Disney lied. In the meadows of New Hampshire, Bambi and his mom are alive and well and SO ADORABLE. Thanks to Visit New Hampshire for bringing the truth to light. #NHSummer

Pot tourism trinkets: Every niche needs its souvenirs, and now Colorado’s burgeoning marijuana tourism sector has its own trinkets for travelers to take home. They’re calling it, “toking tourism.”

UK to blast off: The UK is looking to take tourists into space by the end of the decade. IE, soon. A spaceport is in the works.

We all scream for ice cream: Conde Nast Traveler readers pick the best ice cream shops in the world (including TWO in Texas, JB’s home state!). Annnnnnd now we’re drooling.

TRAVELMARKETINSIDER.COM is owned and published by Jennifer Barbee, Inc.  JB Inc. is a different kind of web firm.  We focus on aggressive performance improvement for DMOs and travel companies. 

Keep your vendors, increase results. :-)

For an initial analysis and discovery call, email sales@jenniferbarbee.com

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Brand Journalism, Tourism

Why DMOs Should Pay More Attention to Unconventional Travelers

As a destination marketing organization, hotels are your partners — your besties — your bread and butter. They represent a crucial component of your tourism sector, and there’s no question that maintaining healthy relationships with these local stakeholders needs to remain a top priority.

In other words, never neglect your lodging pals, or into the doghouse you’ll go.

couchsurfingBUT, there are lots of travelers bouncing around the world via less conventional means these days. They’re sleeping on couches, in treehouses, in other people’s bedrooms, on sustainable buses. They’re not your average hotel guest — but they are guests in your destination, nonetheless, and they’re spending $.

Unconventional travelers are often the most passionate (the perfect potential brand ambassadors) — they’ve usually got wanderlust in their veins and are looking to immerse themselves in unique experiences and local culture.

As a DMO, looking for ways to reach these groups of people can be an excellent opportunity for added exposure among new audiences. By offering guidance, content and expert advice to those seeking a road less traveled, you can become a go-to source for a new (and often overlooked) generation of adventurers.

Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • If you’ve got a major hiking contingency and amazing outdoor adventure options, put together a backpacker’s guide to your destination. Create laminated cards or another portable item that people can easily carry. Have them stocked up at local outdoor supply stores.
  • Reach out to some of the unconventional travel sites/apps (Airbnb, Couchsurfing, etc.) and discuss content partnership opportunities. Their visitors need guidance, and you’ve got the expertise.
  • Think of totally off-the-wall options your destination has to offer — experiences that wouldn’t appeal to the average traveler. Create content around these unique offerings and pique the interest of more adventurous explorers.
  • Talk to people. Communicate with couchsurfers and Airbnb users to see what they’re looking for in a destination. Opening a direct line of communication is by far the best way to expand what you’re offering and tailor content accordingly.

Feel free to share other ideas in the comments. Because you’re tourism geniuses, after all. ;)

TRAVELMARKETINSIDER.COM is owned and published by Jennifer Barbee, Inc.  JB Inc. is a different kind of web firm.  We focus on aggressive performance improvement for DMOs and travel companies. 

Keep your vendors, increase results. :-)

For an initial analysis and discovery call, email sales@jenniferbarbee.com

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Tech, Tourism

16% of Americans Search for Travel Info from the Bathroom (Seriously)

Think the title is TMI? (Not TMI like Travel Market Insider, but its other meaning.)

Well, you can thank the age of technology for the fact that we all know way too much about everything — and each other.

According to a recent study by Priceline.com, Americans are pretty attached to their phones. Like, obsessively attached to their phones. Not only do they try to book trips via toilet, but 34% of those surveyed said it would be easier to go a week without seeing their significant other than their mobile phone.

Now THAT’S a love story.

Another key (and less embarrassing) insight: 77% of those surveyed said they plan to use their mobile devices to book travel more often this year, and more than 1 in 10 are booking travel while in transit.

What does this mean for DMOs? MOBILE MOBILE MOBILE. There’s no question that mobile is the future. People are on the go, and travel planning is on the go with them. It’s more important than ever that destination marketers make researching, planning and booking via mobile as easy as possible.

So are you considering how easy your content is to access via smartphone? Do you have a responsive site design? Are you putting useful info for travelers fr0nt and center?

Check out your site stats and see how much of your audience is accessing the site via mobile devices. Bet it’s more than you think. Adjust your strategy accordingly, ‘cuz if you can’t engage your mobile audience, there’s trouble ahead.

 

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Tourism, Weekly Tourism Wrap Up

TMI’s Weekly Tourism Wrap Up: Cool Stuff on Our Radar, 7/11 Edition

In honor of the end of the week and our love for you, dear readers, we’re presenting a weekly wrap-up of cool tourism-related stuff we’ve spotted. Anything is fair game for this post, from a rad Instagram photo to a multi-million dollar brand campaign to our fave new hashtag.

So if you’ve got tips or awesome content you think we oughta mention, email us at press@jenniferbarbee.com. We’ll be doing this round-up on the weekly, so you’ve got something else to look forward to on Fridays. ;)

go-hawaiiDMOs stacking up on social: Skift took a look at all the U.S. tourism boards and their social media efforts. Stats junkies will love this one — all kinds of juicy info. Spoiler: Hawaii takes the cake.
Christmas in July: San Antonio’s TBT of a festive, sparkly Riverwalk is making us wish December would get here already.
Everyone loves London: According to the WSJ, London tops the list as the most attractive city for international travelers. Cue hurt DMO feelings.
’50s beach bunnies: We love Visit Panama City Beach’s Beach Blanket Bingo-esque throwback snapshot. When leapfrog was a thing!
Will travel for weed: Pot popularity in Colorado is “substantially higher” than expected, thanks largely to tourists.

TRAVELMARKETINSIDER.COM is owned and published by Jennifer Barbee, Inc.  JB Inc. is a different kind of web firm.  We focus on aggressive performance improvement for DMOs and travel companies. 

Keep your vendors, increase results. :-)

For an initial analysis and discovery call, email sales@jenniferbarbee.com

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Social Media, Tourism

10 Takeaways from #FBTravel14

20140708_151559(0)Yesterday, Jenn took the stage at Austin’s The Driskell hotel, where she (and several savvy counterparts) schooled an eager audience of tourism pros on all things Facebook. Because really, who doesn’t have about a billion burning questions to pose to the social networking giant?

If you missed out on all the fun, here are 10 key takeaways from Jenn and her fellow presenters:

  • 51% of Facebook posts are vacation related, according to Facebook.
  • 35% of comments made by consumers on Facebook are compliments; 8% are negative.
  • 9:1 is the median view to share ratio on Facebook.
  • There is no “perfect day/time/word count to post.” Every group is different and the trial and error method is most effective until you find a unique rhythm.
  • 11 million people quit FB in the last 3 years. Unfortunately, none of them were your parents.
  • Demi Lovato & Wilmer Valderrama were hanging in Austin this week (unrelated to Facebook, but interesting nonetheless).
  • When it comes to social, experiment — then fine tune. That’s how they do it in Visit Fort Worth.
  • Grow, engage, convert, inspire and be available to your audience, advises the Visit Franklin crew.
  • “Just like an art museum…curate your content with care,” says Martin Stoll of Sparkloft.
  • Social media experts must be “Thinkers, Feelers and Doers,” says Elena Ferranto of Sparkloft.

Wise words, y’all. You’d be smart to take note. Besides, this might help shift the love/hate relationship you have with Facebook towards the warm, fuzzy side.

TRAVELMARKETINSIDER.COM is owned and published by Jennifer Barbee, Inc.  JB Inc. is a different kind of web firm.  We focus on aggressive performance improvement for DMOs and travel companies. 

Keep your vendors, increase results. :-)

For an initial analysis and discovery call, email sales@jenniferbarbee.com

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