How Tourism Boards are embracing Social Media
As I just arrived in Durban, South Africa, for the biggest Travel and Tourism conference in Africa – INDABA, I am starting to prepare my presentation on the work that South Africa Tourism has done on WAYN since last November. It strikes me that South Africa Tourism Board is one of the most forward -thinking and innovative organisation in the Tourism industry that I have come across thus far. This is also very handy when dealing with their young and dynamic Global Head of e-Marketing William Price who has constantly been ahead of the game and willing to use Social Media as of one his vehicles to drive a global awareness around the country. It goes without saying: South Africa has a lot going on right now and they are in a great position to leverage from all these prestigious and internationally known events: from the Confederation Cup, Miss World, the IPL, and of course, the World Cup in 2010!
So when William and I met last year in Joburg to discuss their key online strategic imperatives, we came up with something that was, we believed, going to have a worldwide impact within our community and driving traffic and content generation for their site.
Imagine an international competition…Imagine one WAYN guy or WAYN girl becoming the “Face of South Africa” and acting as their reporter on the ground – and using social media to report on the beauty of the sceneries, the cultural heritage and the various attractions…To get to win it, users of WAYN had to apply from all over the world, all from one central profile on site. This then evolved to the selection of the top 100…then to the top 13 Finalists – Applicants had to generate their own content on why South Africa was a destination of choice in less than 200 words – the content being then reviewed for the second part of the competition. A great content value add for South Africa but also an interesting and original buzz around the community. As we approach the last few days of this global contest, the last 13 are using the WAYN Plans to promote their own applications, urging their circle of friends to vote for them – but the beauty of the contest resides in the community itself voting who they think should win the golden ticket:
The results have been mind blowing:
- Over 5 million views
- Over 20,000 entries to the competition worldwide
- Over 2,000 reviews added in less than 2 weeks following the launch
- A clear buzz and excitement over a competition that gets talked about within the community and essentially promoting a dream destination
We are not just excited at the announcement of the winner which will come in a few days time but also by the ongoing buzz that the lucky winner will be able to generate once in South Africa: these destination contests almost become their own media programmes within their own right and those WAYN users who will not have made it to the Finals will at the very least be able to travel through the eyes of the lucky guy or the lucky girl. Even better, they will be able to apply to the next contests as more Tourism Boards around the world start to embrace a new form of interaction on Social Media: We are already extremely excited to be working with Germany, Sweden, Montenegro, Thailand, Ireland, Canada, Philadelphia and Tunisia Tourism Board to name but a few.
Social Media can really be an exciting place to be for advertisers when thought about the right away and most importantly, when built as part of the customer journey.