Are travel & tourism organisations throughout the GCC making the most of social media?

Bruce Martin

Travel & tourism organisations throughout the GCC are embracing social media.  But are they making the most of this powerful marketing channel?

Social media is now a very noisy environment.  It’s more important than ever to ensure your activity is effective enough to rise above the crowd.  

It’s not about budget it’s about being smart.

Here are 8 social media mistakes GCC travel businesses should avoid in 2014

  1. Bad timing
    Many organisations in the region make the mistake of not considering the time difference.  If your target market is Europe then why post messages at 9am your time, when Europe is still asleep?  Also, try to avoid posting during the working day.  It’s convenient for you, but most of your target audience will miss it.  Consider scheduling posts for the evenings & weekends; they are usually more effective.
  2. It’s all about me, me, me!
    Many organisations still make the big mistake of only sending announcements and sales messages instead of listening to their audience.  Don’t just talk about you, engage!
    Take a look at the twitter account for Bahamas Tourism  Virtually all their activity is one-to-one engagement with potential or current visitors. This is a great approach. It builds rapport, loyalty, respect. It gives confidence to people considering purchasing your produce or visiting your destination.  
  3. Not speaking the language of your potential visitors
    Amazing at it may seem, there are many tourism businesses around the world who choose to send messages almost entirely in their own language.
    Make use of Facebook’s language targeting functionality and consider tweeting in English and Arabic or even better: create two separate twitter accounts; one dedicated to the GCC market and one for international.
  4. Too many social channels
    It’s simple: Better to be great in less social channels than weak in many.   Some organisations make the mistake of creating a profile on every social media platform.  
    Unless you have huge resources, it is very difficult to maintain lots of profiles and so, they all suffer. 
  5. Not using Facebook advertising
    Facebook should not be considered a ‘free’ marketing anymore.  Sure, you can post on it for free, but you’ll probably not reach more than 10 % of your fans due to Facebook’s new algorithm.
    Organisations should consider ‘boosting’ posts which are performing well to maximise audience reach.  Often just $10 can result in a huge spike in views.
  6. Lazy Tweets
    Avoid the easy option of posting your Facebook images to Twitter, this looks very bad.  There are several tourist boards in the GCC guilty of this (naming no names!)
    Take time to use Twitter well and you will reap the benefits.
  7. Lack of images
    Talking of images, are you making the most of yours?
    Images result is far higher audience engagement. So be sure to maximise the return on the images you own.   Consider adding an image to accompany every single post you make and you will reach a wider audience.

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