One of the most powerful uses of social media is for visitor and guest customer service – acting as a digital concierge.
It’s the same thing that you’ve always done in Visitor Centers and at hotel front desks, but now you can give advice and share enticing stories that reach around the world, in a public way that can catch the attention of many more prospective visitors.
In order to be able to step in and help people effectively, however, you have to know how to listen online.
Listen Online & Ensure Your Network Has Your Back
At a minimum, listening online means setting up social media notifications on a dashboard or via email that will tell you when you’ve been tagged (mentioned by your social account name) on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
When you are tagged, that is someone “talking” to you. It is expected that you’ll pick up the “social media telephone” and answer when it rings.
To stretch that a bit further, you also need to know when things are happening or about to happen in your area or hotel, even when you aren’t tagged.
To help with that, make sure that your fans, partners, members, and other online champions in your network have their ears to the ground along with you, and that they know that it is important to tell you when someone of particular interest is visiting.
Example of How to Listen: Oklahoma Tourism Says Howdy
Here is an example of individuals (our co-founders Becky and Sheila) who discovered that an old friend of theirs – author, blogger, and speaker C.C. Chapman – was heading out on a family road trip across the U.S. that would take him through many states.
C.C. is an avid photographer with a significant social media following, and he loves to travel.
This was an opportunity for tourism and hospitality folks along his route to say hello and be helpful, but they had to be listening. It’s great to set up press trips, fam tours and such, but don’t miss someone influential who is already coming to or through your area. Take advantage of such opportunities!
Oklahoma’s state tourism organization sets a fine example here….
First, C.C. asks his friends on social media for some ideas; pretty standard today, right?
So, initially, this was just friends chatting on Twitter.
But, in another tweet, Becky tagged Oklahoma tourism’s Twitter account, @TravelOK, because it’s her home state. She is part of their network of fans and online champions, and she knew that they’d like to know that this guy was passing through.
They responded quickly with helpful suggestions (and not three days later when it’s too late, something we see rather too often.)
The detailed visitor information is already available on their website, so they sent C.C. directly to it, using bit.ly links which help them track the various sources of click-throughs to that page.
Like any time-pressed visitor, C.C. wasn’t going to be able to try out all the ideas sent his way, but there may be future trips, and now when someone says to him, “Hey, you’ve been on a road trip through there, and we’re going on a similar trip, so what do you recommend?” he can refer friends to the information that @TravelOK provided.
And he did make it to one of Becky’s suggested stops….
Need some help learning how to listen and respond like a pro on social media?
That’s the subject of part of our online course in social media for tourism: Lesson 1 – How to Listen.
We’re happy to help you with this or any other social media education that you need, so drop us a line!
Want to reach millions of outbound travelers from China?
Tourism Currents is excited to continue our media partnership with COTTM (China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market,) now entering its 11th year and taking place 14 – 16th April 2015, New Hall, National Agricultural Exhibition Center in Beijing.
COTTM is 100% B2B and 100% focused on outbound travel from China. Many regard it as the industry’s most important platform, and it remains the only business to business event that focuses purely on the burgeoning outbound market.
Next spring in Beijing, connect with over 3300 Chinese buyers, all under one roof.
Have you connected with us in your favorite places? If you arrived here directly from a link, here’s the email signup for this newsletter. Say hi to Leslie and Sheila at Tourism Currents on….
- Our LinkedIn Page – follow us, and let’s talk business.
- Our Twitter stream – all day awesome.
- Our Facebook Page – we love your Likes, comments and Shares.
- Our YouTube channel – video about and from the tourism industry.
- Our Google+ Company Page – newish, but growing.
Don’t miss these goodies, either: