Here’s some good news for you, the adventure travel and tourism marketer: your sector is one of the fastest growing areas in the general industry, and it’s only expected to keep growing. That’s especially true for both an older baby boomer audience that just won’t settle for sedentary excursions on a tour bus, millennials that crave new active experiences – and even those in between.
Adventure travel appeals to practically everyone, and state tourism boards are starting to jump on. So if your company offers packages close to home, you may want to pay attention to how they’re marketing their destinations.
A recent blog post in iMediaConnection mentions this phenomenon. The author, Doug Schumacher, looked at the top nine boards for different states around the country and took note of social media trends involving adventure. The top three included Hawaii, Michigan and Colorado tourism, all of whom have audiences above the average number of engagements (632,353 social media users). Other boards listed were California, Georgia, Alaska, Florida, New York and Texas. The focus of the article was on those top three performers.
Go Hawaii, the official tourism board for the state, has the most success with Instagram. Perhaps that’s not surprising, given the photogenic nature of its environment. The thing to note here is that when adventure travel and Hawaii are mentioned, the content revolves around water activities. With Instagram as their primary social outlet – a perfect fit for travelers and tourist taking photos on the go – many of these posts relate to either being on the ocean or near waterfalls, roughly 38% of their total social engagement.
What this means for you: Is there a particular activity that your company offers that you could tie to the “adventure” tag? Obviously, some activities lend themselves to this label (ziplining) more naturally than others (sightseeing). Include this term in your tags or hastags when posting to Instagram or your preferred social media outlet. You’ll find that search traffic will more likely come your way.
The next example Schumacher relates is Visit Colorado, where the posting volume is even greater than Go Hawaii’s. As a result, the tourism site has significantly more engagements than any other state’s site and spread out over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Colorado has more Facebook engagement that also reflects these higher fan and follower numbers, especially where “adventure” is concerned. Similar to Hawaii’s water-themed posts for adventure, Colorado takes advantage of its natural resource, the Rocky Mountains. The visual content portrays this abundance, and followers are responding accordingly.
What this means for you: What social media outlet has your greatest number of fans and followers? How are you engaging with them? You may want to take a good look at the content you are posting, when you are posting it and how often are your engaging with your audience. Try to be systematic in your approach by posting and engaging at certain times of the day.
Finally, Schumacher takes a look at Pure Michigan’s social campaign for adventure. Few people outside the upper Midwest have considered the Great Lakes State as a hotspot for adventure travel. But by showcasing different geographical features – from forests to snowy trails to naturally the Lakes – their audience has taken notice, mostly on Twitter. Combined with an aggressive TV ad campaign, Pure Michigan has made strides over other competing states’ tourism boards.
What this means for you: What kind of strengths can you play up with your company? Do you offer a service unique to your competitors? Do you go the extra mile in terms of service? Think about what makes your travel business stand out and feature those prominently on social media.
Have you used any of the social media lessons outlined above from the Hawaii, Colorado and Michigan tourism boards? If so, what kind of success have you had with them? Share your thoughts below!