This is the sixth post in a series of ideas that Rodney shared at SoMeT.
One of the best opportunities provided by social communication tools is for destinations to stay in touch with consumers post-trip. Until recently, this has been quite costly and time consuming. It’s very hard to have a relationship through a newspaper ad, direct mail or email newsletter. But now you can keep in touch easily online.
The best way to connect with travelers to start a relationship is when people are in-market. There are a variety of ways that you can do this but one of the best is when they’re actually online.
Most destinations have an airport, train station, bus station or visitors center that offers WIFI and sees a large proportion of visitors come through the doors. Getting people to connect on Facebook right there and then is one of the most under-realized opportunities in destination marketing. If you could get every person who uses WIFI in your airport to connect on your Fan Page, you’d quickly have a big community of the right fans.
You’ll get a lot of locals too but that’s actually a good thing. Locals are your ambassadors online. They’re often passionate about where they live. They can support travelers. Many of the people in their networks will live elsewhere and can become visitors. That’s a pretty huge opportunity when you consider that the average Facebook user has 130 friends.
Most airports send people to their web page once they’ve logged on to the Internet or even just set them free on Google. This is a huge mistake. If you send them to a Facebook page and offer them a reason to click ‘Like’, you can stay in touch with them forever. Better yet, why not give free WIFI to fans. Make people click ‘Like’ to access the Internet. There are 800 million people on Facebook so chances are your air travelers are there. If they’re not, they may prefer to set up a Facebook account than pay.
Calgary Airport is coming close to this by allowing people to ‘connect’ to get two hours of free WIFI.
Imagine if a destination could get all of this traffic to their Fan Page. I know there are political challenges to this but surely someone out there has a strong enough relationship with the local airport to try?