Social media best for tourism marketing: Experts

Thiruvananthapuram, June 8 (IANS) The country’s first conference on travel technology got underway here Saturday with a call to tourism and allied businesses to utilise social media, the blog world and digital applications for marketing their services to the new, tech-savvy global traveller.

Social media and online marketing were the focus of today’s discussions at the International Conference on Travel Technology (ICTT) India.

“Social media has become a constant presence throughout the traveller’s life cycle, from the decision and planning stage, the actual vacation to post holiday,” said Selina Power, a social media specialist from Australia.

Her advice to those in the industry was to create engaging social conversations with the traveller, ask customers to share images on social media.

Chad Wiebesick, director of Social Media and Interactive Marketing for the tourism agency of Michigan, US, commended Kerala Tourism’s use of Facebook to engage with customers, both existing and potential.

“Kerala Tourism is doing a phenomenal job by making its fans heroes on Facebook. By posting good, user generated content – particularly photographs – it is able to constantly generate likes, shares and interests from people,” he said.

Adam Franklin, marketing manager for Australia-based Bluewire Media, described blogging as an inexpensive medium to generate leads and value for websites. “Use your blog as a business tool. Have social media buttons on it, have people you network with comment on it,” he said.

Philip Calvert, an author and social networking entrepreneur from the UK, spoke about the benefits of LinkedIn for travel professionals and companies.

ICTT India is being organised by the Association of Tourism Trade Organizations, India (ATTOI), with the support of Kerala Tourism. More than 250 delegates, including tour operators, travel professionals and bloggers, from around the country and abroad are attending the event that ends Sunday.

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