Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Posts Tagged ‘TravMedia’

TravMedia, Twitter, the World

Posted by thecastlegroup on June 25, 2009

Twitter success story!

In support of our client and partner company, TravMedia, a media company that provides tools and services for travel companies and travel journalists, we jumped into Twitter six months ago. The results speak for themselves. 
 
With TravMedia’s limited marketing budget and a need to reach media and PR pros in the travel industry to encourage subscriptions to client and partner organization TravMedia, we turned to Twitter as a marketing tool.
 
The appeal of a low barrier to participation made Twitter an appealing, if experimental, marketing platform.
 
We started by following key industry influencers and those we wanted as subscribers: tourism boards, travel media and other Twitter travel big shots. The inclination of people to “follow back” helped build an initial solid base of followers to the feed.
 
For content, we started by merely posting headlines of client news posted on TravMedia. Next, we began to add in links from other travel news sources that announced industry jobs, events and initiatives. And of course, we used the valuable “re-Tweet” to share interesting news posted by TravMedia followers.
 
In about 30 days, the feed had caught on. We quickly attracted several hundred followers. From there, it was viral social media at its best. Soon, others were recommending following @TravMediaUSA through the “#FollowFriday” feature, and people were regularly re-Tweeting our posts.
 
Since mid-December when we launched the feed, we’ve grown to 3,200 followers today, with new followers each day.

TravMedia CMYK_300dpi 
Can we call this a success? Absolutely. The rapid growth in followers aside, we’ve seen about a 150 percent increase in trials on the TravMedia service this year, and the company has doubled its projected budget through May. Beyond that, we are regularly engaged through the DM (direct message) tool on Twitter and regularly asked for information and opinion. The posts are widely read and shared, and the follower growth pace has increased, not decreased. Twellow, the so-called “Yellow Pages” of Twitter, lists @TravMediaUSA among the top 400 travel feeds in the world (out of nearly 20,000). Twinfluence, which analyzes Twitter reach, ranks TravMedia among the top 15,000 of all worldwide Twitter feeds (among 10 million or so), reaching more than five million people.   
 
Finally, we hosted our first “Tweetup” in New York City in May, and since this was our first time promoting an event via Twitter, our expectations for attendance were modest. However, we were pleased to see an impressive turnout of about quadruple the anticipated number of participants. The “Tweetup” started as an interesting experiment and showed a level of engagement among followers that pleasantly surprised us.

If you need help with your Twitter or social media strategy, The Castle Group can help.

Do you have a great Twitter success story?

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Zarex and travel marketing

Posted by thecastlegroup on May 26, 2009

Thinking of the summer beach trips with my family when I was a kid remind of two distinct food-related memories. The first is eating sand-filled tuna fish sandwiches. The other was drinking Zarex, a fruity syrup mixed with water to create a sugar-laden drink.

Sugar heaven!

Sugar heaven!

They still make Zarex, but no one really drinks it anymore. As juice boxes, drink pouches, powdered drink packets and more have changed what and how we consume portable beverages, Zarex has been pushed to the fringe where it exists as a novelty item.

I’ve spent time this week at a major travel industry convention. From what I see, many in the industry are still living in the Zarex age. The world has changed around U.S. travel organizations, but they still like to get things done the old-fashioned way. And some of the old way is fine but, with the exception of a few progressive companies (JetBlue), few are aggressively embracing marketing technology, social media and conversational media to drive the business. There is dabbling and an attempt to integrate messages, delivery systems, creative content and more, but it should be much further along.

And that could be said for most industries, not just travel.

By way of example, “I need to get started on Twitter” was a refrain I heard far too much. The travel industry should be in the vanguard of Twitter. Its consumers have already shown their penchant for expressing opinion (TripAdvisor), finding deals (Priceline), comparison shopping (Kayak) and more. Granted, a great number of companies are on Twitter, but not enough. Our own TravMedia Twitter feed has nearly 3,000 engaged followers. It’s not that hard to do.

I am making the offer of a free consultation with any and all travel companies — I will review your integrated marketing efforts to make sure they are in fact integrated, that the right tools are being used in the right way and that companies are squeezing as much efficiency out of their marketing and PR as necessary.

Call me, DM me through my Twitter feed, respond to this blog, and we can talk.

Like Zarex, travel marketing and PR should move beyond its “nostalgic” phase where plans are built the same way year after year just because they worked in the past. There are great new resources out there. Zarex is still great once in a while, but it shouldn’t be the only thing one drinks.

(Updated 5/27/09) Note: here’s a link to a related article on this theme from a blog posting on Travolution discussing behavioral marketing, or lack of it, in the travel industry:  http://www.travolution.co.uk/blog/2009/05/is-the-travel-sector-stuck-in.php.

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