Most travelers are starting their research online. How can you be found by them when they are looking and how can you form relationships with these potential clients online? Lots of industries are finding unique ways to promote their products and services online using social media, blogs and email newsletters. The travel, tourism and recreation industries have a lot of opportunity in this online space!
For this special topic we had thee local case studies of how businesses are using social media to connect to their customers in the travel and tourism industry.
Our first presenter was Heather Wasklewicz, Social Media Director for 32north, makers of Stabilicers ice cleats located in Biddeford. Heather had the not so easy task of creating on online community around ice cleats but she did a great job. With Heather’s help and a few trial and errors, 32north has the respect of a large Twitter and Facebook following. 32north also uses video to make a fun series of online videos promoting their product. Heather also shared with the group the effectiveness of cross promoting with other partners and organization.
Second, we had Norm Forgey from Maine Day Trip a company that created customized Maine tours for locals, tourists and cruise line passengers. Norm had a fact filled presentation on how people are using the internet to plan their next vacation. With the use of social media and the Maine Day Trip blog Norm has been successful promoting his company.
Our final example was how Sunday River uses Social Media sites and their own website community to build relationships with their current and potential customers. Nick Lambert and Darcy Liberty presented what tools Sunday River uses including Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to communicate with their fans.
We were excited to do travel and tourism as a topic because it is such a good fit for social media. By connecting with your future and current customers online you are making it possible for you to let them help you with your marketing initiatives, which is what we saw in all three of these presentations. Social Media is simple word-of-mouth marketing but with new tools. Especially in this industry you have a good story to tell – the story of Maine. Letting your audience help you post pictures, share your videos, promote your services is better than any ad you can take out in any publication. Carl Natale did a nice recap of the day for MaineBusiness.com
Norm created Maine Day Trip in July, 2007 to provide private customized tours in Maine originating in the Portland region. The original target market was cruise ship passengers who were looking for something more extensive and informative than the bus tours offered by the cruise lines. The company has continued to expand its services to corporate visitors, hotel guests, and tourists who want a relaxing day off from driving or find that there is a lack of transportation to other towns. Relocation orientation tours and assistance services are now also offered.
Norm accepted a corporate relocation to Maine in 1999. He vacationed in Maine, with Mainer friends for over 15 years prior, and was already familiar with many tourist and scenic areas. His passion for Maine was fulfilled upon retiring from corporate life in 2007 and starting Maine Day Trip.
Darcy Liberty is a Maine native who returned home to take on the role of Director of Communications for Sunday River after earning a masters degree and spending six years managing communications and media relations for Winter Park Resort in Colorado but finding the winter’s not cold enough.
Nick Lambert aspires to lead the carefree life of a ski bum but is frequently derailed by his duties as Brand Manager for Sunday River and Sugarloaf resorts, overseeing marketing communications and web development.
Social Media Director for 32north makers of Stabilicers ice cleats located in Biddeford, Maine.