Our Overflow podcast for the week is a reminder to make the Offline Ask a key element of your marketing strategy, even in a growing online world. Cameron returns from his vacation with key insights from professionals in the tourism community who made it a point to remind guests to frequent the social networking sites like Facebook and Trip Advisor to leave comments and ratings about their services.
At times we focus so hard to driving traffic to the social networks trying to form users into a community, that we forget to encourage that behavior when having face to face interactions with our audience. Using the social media tools at our disposal we build out these vibrant blogs and Facebook Fan pages, we try out new locations like Ning and encourage clients to leave reviews at Kudzu, Trip Advisor, Yelp, Angie’s List or the myriad of other review sites out there growing feedback. However, as Cameron observed first hand, having a strategy in place for driving your customers to those sites must include the “Offline Ask”.
A bed and breakfast where Cameron and Leigh stayed on Key West was called The Grand GuestHouse. The Ask strategy that they use is to stamp the back of a business card handed to the guest with a request to go to Trip Advisor, and in a personal way asking for “5 stars”.
On Danger Charters the ship’s crew made the Offline Ask as the ship was pulling into port at the end of the night. They used humor in their personal request “speech” to visit Facebook and Trip Advisor to review the experience. This is most likely a training element that is instilled into the staff by management as part of the marketing strategy that they are using to marry the social networks with the offline activities.
This is indicative of the new form of marketing, that it’s no longer just a push or a broadcast of a message, rather it is a two way communication in which the audience or customer participates in a significant way.
Using social networks to maintain a strong relationship may replace B2C email campaigns simply because the overwhelming amount of spam has limited the effectiveness of email.
The Offline Ask has changed from “sign up for our email newsletter” to “become a fan of our Facebook Page & leave us a rating on Trip Advisor”.
Another point to consider is whether or not there should be some type of incentive or deeper instructions from the property to the guests regarding how to actually execute the placement of feedback. How do you feel about giving exact directions or should you just gently nudge and let the customer figure out what to do?
Finally, encouraging photography and suggesting uploads to Flickr, SmugMug or Facebook with proper tagging is an excellent way for a destination to grow a community and gain some brand exposure. Having a Flickr Group set up would be a great way to encourage the posting process plus gathering assets that help promote the property.
Are you closing the loop performing an Offline Ask to encourage online feedback?
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