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Social Media & Destination Marketing

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Carl White

on 24 April 2014

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Transcript of Social Media & Destination Marketing

Will you please come visit?
What motivates tourists to choose places?
What type of people do you want to attract?
What image can our destination create?
How can we get this image across?

(most important to us).........

"Destination Marketing" in 20 seconds
Social Media & Destination Marketing
How to do it right (legally!)
Selling your destination to the masses by thinking about...
How can we get this image across...?
Photo & video-sharing website
Users 'follow' other accounts to see their posts
Accessible on desktops, smartphones & tablets
Uses 'hashtags' to specify topics that can be publicly searched
Website where users post & share articles, comments, photos, videos about whatever they wish
Can only see content you have "liked" or posted by your "friends"
Microblogging platform allowing short messages (<160 characters) and pictures to be posted to 'followers'
Basically same as Instagram but more text-focused, searches can be linked by #hashtags
Video-sharing website, users can view, upload and share videos
Instagram post from Tourism Australia's official account
Some of the other social media channels in use...
Facebook account of 'The Real South Australia', managed by the SA Tourism Commission
The innovative Twitter account of Visit Sweden, where a different Swede is in control each week - please see later
One of Tourism Australia's Recent YouTube uploads
Why use social media?
How Councils Reacted:
Some Positive
Some not so positive
And some inconsistent...
Why does this matter?
Social Media is powerful
Power is in the hands of the public
Mistakes are amplified
Positive perceptions are won or lost.
Sometimes, things go wrong...
The power of Social Media
Social Media & Tourism
When destination marketing doesn't go exactly to plan...
Remember the Visit Sweden twitter account?
Lesson 1: Know the risks!
Qantas twitter campaign to promote first class flying experience
Followers to use the hashtag #QantasLuxury, which could be publicly searched
Came shortly after grounding its entire fleet, sparking outrage from inconvenienced customers around the country...
At it's peak '#QantasLuxury' generated up to 51 tweets per minute, mostly mocking
Lesson 2: Understand that tourism is 24/7!
British Airways lost Hassan Syed's father's luggage & Syed tweeted about it
Syed paid to promote the tweet, exposing it to 76,000 users
What NOT to do...
The tweet was posted outside BA's customer service hours, so it remained unanswered for hours...
While 24/7 monitoring is not hugely important for smaller operators, remember that travel and tourism do occur around the clock - what time zone is your target audience in?
Lesson 3: Filter & Control Your Output!
Ryanair (another airline company!) CEO Michael O'Leary took to twitter using the Ryanair account for a Q&A with the public
O'Leary made the following blunders...

Forgetting to put dots in front of the response (often controversial) tweet so it was visible to all Ryanair's followers, not just the individual being responded to
Sexist & confrontational remarks
Failing to use the branded '#GrillMOL' hashtag
This came a year after Ryanair customer Suzy McLeod's viral complaint on Facebook (albeit to a fake Ryanair account) that she'd been forced to pay 300 Euro after forgetting to print off her family's boarding passes
Ryanair CEO O'Leary's response:
We think Mrs McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid

The head of Ryanair sometimes "just doesn't get it"
Lesson 4: Making claims!
What you say on
Social Media isn't
'above the law'

Your claims MUST be accurate...

And so must the claims that other people make about you and your products and services.
In 2009, ACCC brought successful action against Allergy Pathway Pty Ltd ("Allergy Pathways") for making misleading representations in brochures about the effectiveness of their products and services

Allergy Pathways were not to make any such representations for 3 years
In 2011, Allergy Pathways were held to have contravened this Court order because it had left glowing customer testimonials on its Facebook account, Twitter account and website

Chairman of ACCC:
This outcome confirms that any business that decides to leave public testimonials or other comments on their Facebook and Twitter pages will be held responsible if they are
false, misleading or deceptive
Lesson 5: Watch for Defamation against your company!
Case Study 1: TripAdvisor
Lesson 6: Be personal!
TO DO: American Airways
A tourism example (pre-social media though)...
ACCC v Abel Rent-a-Car Pty Ltd (1999) FCA 314
Company advertised "free rental" of cars, when in actual fact "free" meant "subject to substantial excess"
Held to be 'misleading and deceptive' - made to change ads
Same principles apply...
Is this representation made "in trade or commerce"?
Is the representation being made
on behalf of
the company?
Is it misleading or deceptive?
Is it false?
Questions need to be asked in similar cases:
Misleading or Deceptive Statements made by tourism operator OR person on their behalf
False Statements made by tourism operator OR person on their behalf
Defamation laws in Australia will protect someone who has had his/her reputation damaged by published material (this includes social media)
User-generated website listing un-edited first-hand reviews of accommodation, attractions and restaurants written by travelers
Companies can also sue but only if they are less than 10 people big
Obviously, you can get a bad rap or a good rap based on these reviews...
What can you do if your business gets a bad rap?
If you're gutsy (and rich), you can sue the website for defamation based on damage to your reputation
BUT, you will lose the case if the review was "
substantially true
" or it expressed an "
honest opinion
Has anyone tried to sue them for defamation before?
In Australia:
In the UK:
Has anyone tried to sue them for defamation before? [CONT]
In the USA:
Owner of this hotel sued TripAdvisor for $10m in 2011

because reviews were "statements of opinion" rather than statements of fact, and thus protected under the USA's right to free speech
In Canada:
- remember the bed bugs review? Yet to be decided by Canadian Court System [at March '14]
Lesson 7: Be creative!
Lesson 6: Be personal! [CONT]
DO: Bahamas Tourism
Sending out automated generic & identical responses to complaints
What is it with these airline companies?
All one-on-one interaction with potential, current and past visitors
Builds rapport, loyalty & respect
Underpins the entire point of destination marketing
Gives confidence to people considering spending money visiting a destination
Lesson 7: Be creative! [CONT]
lowcostholidays.com seized an opportunity!
UK man Thomas Cook posted this to Thomas Cook Travel Agent "for a laugh" in 2012
Good publicity, good judgment & massive exposure!
Picture of Thomas Cook enjoying his free holiday went viral on twitter
User-driven websites, where much of the content is written by tourists
Takeaway points
1. Judge consumer sentiment & know the business risks of engaging the public
2. Know that tourism is 24/7
3. Filter & control your output - a tweet sent in a second can remain in circulation forever
4. Don't make misleading, deceptive or false claims
5. Be aware of negative publicity & deal swiftly with it
Measure Twice, Cut Once
The power is in customers' hands when it comes to social media - and the speed & accessibility of communication means they have a lot of it
6. Be personal and be creative
A misguided tweet could cause big problems, BUT
A successful, well-thought out social media campaign can be priceless for your business
7. Understand the nuisances of each channel, e.g. hashtags, text vs. image focus, public vs. private
Case Study - Social Media & Its Potential
Queensland Tourism ad surfaced on YouTube, picked up by UK in cold January 09 and went viral on all social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube predominantly), prompting 34,000 video "applications" and an enormous social media buzz for very little money

Generated estimated $70m for Queensland economy
Thomas Cook responded...bit of a PR fail
What about defamation on other forms of social media - twitter, facebook etc?
Still possible -
Mickle v Farley
What's the moral of the Defamation Story?
1. Bad reviews are
genuine - look to fix the problem/deal with the consumer directly

2. A defamation case is never successful if the defamatory statement is truthful or it is an honest opinion

3. However, defamation cases can still succeed -
Mickle v Farley

4. It is best practice to respond to all reviews to try nip negative feedback (which could hurt reputation) in the bud
The same principles apply - the company needs to show loss and the defamatory material - tweet, facebook post, YouTube video, internet site - must not be substantially true or an honest opinion
Full transcript