In 2013, 47% of travellers shared their travel plans and asked for recommendations from contacts via social media. This means that a large chunk of travellers rely on social media to help them decide on their next trip. To reach these potential clients, travel businesses need creative and powerful social media marketing strategies. Let’s look at six most innovative social media campaigns to come from the travel industry in the last four years.

1. Send us your Facebook Profiles competition (Cape Town Tourism)

In September 2012, Cape Town Tourism launched the Send us your Facebook Profiles competition. The Facebook campaign urged travellers to send their profiles for a virtual tour of Cape Town’s least explored areas. After sending their Facebook profiles, entrants could create their own five-day Cape Town holiday, and watch their profiles explore the hidden gems of the Mother City.

After over 150 Point of View (POV) videos, 400 first person Facebook status updates and 10 000 POV holiday photos, the campaign registered 5800 page impressions and 41 000 monthly page visits. Through the campaign, tourist numbers in Cape Town rose by 4% and Table Mountain received its highest volumes in 83 years. The competition also helped Cape Town Tourism win the Best Overall Use of Social Media Award (Convention and Visitors Bureau) at the 2013 Travel + Leisure Social Media Awards.

2. 'Twitter Hotel' (@Sol Wave House)

Based in Mallorca, Spain, Sol Wave House prides itself on being the first ‘Twitter hotel’ in the world. With blue and white decor (based on Twitter’s colour scheme), the hotel has tied it’s marketing strategy to the social network.

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When guests check-in at the hotel, they are granted access to the hotel Twitter- available only through the hotel's WiFi service. Guests can then tweet each other, share photos, send private messages, see who's online and flirt by sending virtual kisses using #SocialWave .

To encourage guests to tweet about the hotel, food and drinks are ordered at the pool bar by tweeting the @SolWaveHouse. The hotel hosts #TwitterPoolParty, where Twitter guests receive a free drink each Friday.

3. #MeetSouthAfrica (South African Tourism )

In April 2013, South African Tourism invited 15 international travel bloggers from the iambassadors network to participate in the #MeetSouthAfrica campaign. The bloggers embarked on four different itineraries (our adventure/backpacker trip being only one of them) covering all nine provinces of South Africa. The campaign’s aim was to market the country as tourist destination on social media platforms.

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By September 2013, the campaign had produced - 9,000+ tweets

  • 77.8 million tweet impressions or ‘opportunities to see’

  • 3.3 million twitter accounts reached

  • 1,059 photos on Instagram

  • 31,500 views within 12 hours of a single photo on Facebook posted by Uncornered Market

  • 60,000+ views of Viajando con Diego’s bungy-jump video on YouTube

South African Tourism launched the official #MeetSouthAfrica campaign on Instagram in October 2013. By mid-December, 2572 photos had been shared under #MeetSouthAfrica on social network.

4.The Hilton Brothers: Tattoos Hornets Fire (VisitSweeden)

VisitSweeden created a powerful Pinterest campaign based on photographs by American photogrpahers Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg. Known as Hilton Brothers, the pair traced the footsteps of Stieg Larsson's crime-beating heroes in his novels: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” to create an eye catching travelogue.

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VisitSweden used the travelogue to create a Pinterest Board titled The Hilton Brothers: Tattoos Hornets Fire. The campaign inspired close to 1,000 Stockholm itineraries and won the Best Pinterest Photos Award at the 2013 Travel+Leisure Social Media Awards.

5. Hamilton Island Resort

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To create conversations around their destination, Hamilton Island Resort, Australia created the Ultimate Instameet. The campaign aimed to create creating a mass meeting between Instagram users from across the globe on the island. Staged between November 23-25 2012, the campaign generated over 640 images and reached over eight million people through social media, including 815,000 of their direct Instagram followers alone. The campaign also gained mainstream media attention generating AUS$2.3 million and 65 million media impressions in the process.

6. Hampton Hotels

To educate guests about their hotels and brand identity, Hampton Hotels created a YouTube video series known as “Hamptionality Moments.” The campaign featured the recreation and sharing of the real life guest stories on the hotel’s YouTube channel. Launched in late 2012, the video series generated 5 million YouTube views, a 133% increase in Facebook fans, Twitter engagement growth over 110%, over 500 million social impressions.

If you have more examples of innovative social media campaigns from travel industry, add them on the comment box.


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