Your next group tour is all put together and nearly sold out. (Great!) Now you want to keep your group in the loop:
- Relay information to avoid answering the same question over and over and over.
- Provide a sense of community before your group departs—a key part of its success on the road.
- Make the itinerary available for all participants, 24/7.
I’ll give you four ideas.
Groups on Facebook
While the pre-departure meeting and document party are mainstays in our industry, there’s another way to grow that sense of community: Facebook Groups are a perfect tool to build a sense of belonging among group members.
Simply start a private or closed group on Facebook and add each group member. (How to create: bit.ly/FBgroupTvl). Members can communicate with each other by asking and responding to questions as well as by posting photos.
- Include only tour participants in this group. This will keep the focus clear and help build relationships within the group.
- Post the itinerary as a document.
- Encourage group members to ask questions. You can answer one time and the whole group can see it.
- Invite participants to share photos within the group during the tour.
# = Hashtags = Community
Starting a new hashtag—on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat—for each new tour departure gives group members a chance to stay up to date before, during and after their tour. Plus it’s a great way for your travelers’ family and friends to follow along, and it can entice new participants for future tours.
When considering a new hashtag, do a bit of research to see if it’s already in use. An original hashtag will stand out and be found by the right people.
During your tour, encourage passengers to use the hashtag when they post on their social sites. You can then search by this hashtag and share posts or add comments.
Stories that live longer
Did you know that Instagram Stories stay visible much longer than a regular photo post? What a great way to give the images from your group tour a longer shelf life so that passengers, as well as their family and friends, can stay in the loop.
Extending marketing opportunities and building community while on tour is easy with Facebook and SnapChat stories, too, and they operate in nearly the same way as Instagram Stories. Twitter Moments are similar in that you can provide a magazine-like view of tweets from your own feed, as well as from others.
You can keep your group in the loop when you provide Kodak moments (OK, that’s old-school term) or “Instagramable” opportunities.
We’ve all taken a group photo in front of an iconic site. How about also creating a cardboard cut-out of a picture frame that tour passengers can hold up in a photo? Craft stores sell these frames, and all you have to do is add your company logo and the tour hashtag.
Toting this frame around gives your passengers the chance to post their own photos while providing you with a new-school marketing opportunity.
To gain even more traction with your photos, set up a geofilter for your Instagram or Snap users. Most destinations will have a geofilter you can use. If you want to create your own, just Google “geofilter.”
Keeping your group in the loop is not only strategic, it’s easy. There so many great ways to inform group members and to build community. Not only will you build stronger relationships with your clients, you’ll extend your reach to a broader audience.
Catherine Heeg, an international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Connect with her socially and at cmsspeaking.com.
Top photo ©snyGGG/Adobe Stock