Today’s post comes from a friend of mine I met on Twitter a number of years ago, Jason Mollica. Despite his allegiance to all things New York (Mets/Rangers/Knicks/Giants), he’s a terrific guy and you should follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn. He emailed me early this week and pitched me on the idea of travel recommendations. Since vacation season is just around the corner, it makes sense to take a look at that from a marketing point of view. Hope you enjoy the read. – MLC
There was a time when the concierge desk of your favorite hotel was the place to get a recommendation for a good restaurant or a place to get off the beaten path. While hotels still can do this, travel websites are quickly becoming the hot place to get them.
Not only are travel recommendation websites becoming the go-to place for tourists to get information, it’s also a way for businesses to get in on the act, as well.
For example, smaller travel destinations can work with travel bloggers to help those with limited budgets spread their message. And working with niche bloggers would be even better for the destinations.
Think of it this way. Blog content will always be available to access, and can be re-shared, giving it an endless lifespan. So, all content should be created and published on a blog, and then shared out onto social media platforms. That way, you are still sharing your content, but you are encouraging visits to your website to access the content, and giving your destination more opportunity to be considered as an option by potential visitors.
Terri Lundberg, the founder and owner of Hometown Tourist, a travel recommendation website, says bloggers are recognized as a valuable destination marketing resource. “Bloggers had their own session for the second year in a row at ITB Berlin,” Lundberg said. “In a way, most of ITB Berlin was about local recommendations.”
Websites like Hometown Tourist offer potential travelers recommendations from longtime locals and residents who know where to get the best food, listen to the hottest local bands, and where to spend a quiet evening. It’s different than sites like Trip Advisor that offer tips, but not necessarily recommendations.
According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, people reference 10.7 sources of information, prior to making a purchasing decision. Those sources include blogs and recommendations. So to leverage an opportunity as a business or destination, you need to have unique and relevant content on the site.
“Locals who have traveled from their home state or country to Berlin, shared with all who travel why their destination is worth visit and what you should do once you get there,” added Lundberg. “There wasn’t one person that I spoke with who didn’t see the value of local recommendations.”
When you are using local people, instead of tourists that have only visited a destination once, you are getting the real scoop on an area. This helps drive travelers to local businesses. Locals will recommend the their favorite restaurant over the national chain because they know the owners or the food may just be better.
Travel blogs play an important role in crafting the attractiveness of the destination, its people and the stories that shape its daily life. Recommendation blogs and website help to shine the light.
Jason Mollica is a passionate public relations/social media marketing professional that truly enjoys assisting clients in maximizing their online presence for better financial results. Formerly the public relations manager at a strategic marketing and PR firm near Buffalo, New York, he was responsible for educating clients on social media, strategic marketing plans, as well as media training. Prior to this, Jason worked at Niagara University in the Office of Communications and Public Relations. It was there that he took on the task of researching and implementing a new social media agenda. Jason’s research included participation in several seminars and was also chairman of the sector’s Social Media Committee at Niagara University. Through these experiences, Jason has seen firsthand the impact that effective social media marketing strategies can have on companies and organizations.