Publication Date: 2011-02-21
As Quokka Systems was promoting our travel sites the other day, we were asked why we don't have Facebook links on our site. This was a good question because it brings into question the value of social media and promoting businesses.
If you look at www.TravelInOntario.com, as an example, the site is all about capturing Internet users and sending them to businesses that match the interests of the visitor. The basic assumption of the travel site is that people know where Canada is and that Ontario is a province of Canada.
After this, TravelInOntario.com is not assuming much about the person using the site. All cities and towns are grouped into regions that follow either the provincial marketing region standards, or obvious popular groupings of cities and towns. Each page has some basic information, a map, sometimes informative articles and listings of accommodations. The accommodations are listed by very general type with information for the consumer to connect with the businesses.
At this point the site is ready for people to browse around and look for accommodations to book or contact. Ideally TravelInOntario.com will quickly and efficiently direct prospects to accommodations' own web sites.
In plain English, I don't want to send traffic to Facebook, I want to send it to the accommodations' web sites or their booking engines.
Where Facebook plays a stronger role is for individual businesses, particularly independent businesses. When people are staying at independent lodgings and campgrounds, they need to overcome fear of the unknown. Branding was explained to me once as an implicit warranty. If you have had previous experience with a Best Western or a Holiday Inn, you have in your mind a minimum standard that you feel confident you will encounter. With an unbranded property, the potential guest feels she or he is taking a risk on the unknown. If you are blogging on Facebook and creating a following through that social network, you will have a chance to assert your personality.
A fellow with a James Bond actor's name wrote the following piece, which covers how to tell a story about your hotel - concepts that translate to all accommodations types.
Where the Travel Sites listed below need to join the social media age is to allow people to easily share articles on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and so forth. It's on the to-do list!
For something as personal as the use of social media for promoting your business, you don't want to outsource it.
Travel Sites where you can post an article
British Columbia Accommodations
New Brunswick Accommodations
Nova Scotia Accommodations
Prince Edward Island Accommodations
Northwest Territories Accommodations
Robert Ford is a business owner and IT consultant based in Vancouver. Quokka Systems owns and operates a British Columbia Accommodations site and other Canadian Travel sites. Robert@quokkasystems.com