Passport Online Inc. reports its ESP, Automated Social Media Posting for Travel Agents - launched in June - has achieved agent sign-ups and gains in driving social media engagement for participants.
In the first two months of operation, Passport Online says nearly 800 travel agency Facebook business pages have benefited, according to Greg Kott, president and CEO of Passport Online Inc.
“Our most successful post had nearly 900,000 consumer views across our agency pages. With the total number of fans that can be reached across these individual Facebook pages totaling more than 300,000, and growing rapidly, this stat truly demonstrates the viral power of Facebook. Posts have generated more than 400 comments from prospective travelers. Agents are also reporting sales directly attributed to ESP posts,” said Marilyn Macallair, vice president of business development.
ESP is an extension of the electronic marketing services Passport provides to its agency customers, Kott says.
Passport currently powers the extranets for ten of the industry’s leading consortia and franchise networks (touching more than 30,000 agents) and powers more than 6,000 individual travel agency consumer-facing websites.
Those sites receive an estimated 6 million unique consumer shopping sessions every month. “We know now, however, that consumers are also doing their travel dreaming and planning on Facebook. ESP helps integrate social media marketing with website marketing, creating a comprehensive e-marketing platform,” Kott said.
With 93 percent of adult internet users currently on Facebook, ESP has proven to be a transformative product allowing agencies to execute social media strategy, creating discussion, interaction and Facebook stickiness, Kott says.
Posts fall into various categories including: travel quotes, travel tips, destination information, “did you know?” questions, fun posts, and a limited number of deal-related posts. Agents are encouraged to add their own content.
The program requires a sign up by the agent, and a connection by Passport Online to the agency’s Facebook pages. Agents control the frequency of posts, can review all content prior to posting, and opt out of any individual post. Agency privacy remains completely intact with all passwords residing in the hands of the agent, Kott said.
Also available as part ESP are supplier and destination promotional packages for ESP. The product is available to the entire travel agency community with introductory pricing of $15 per month. Passport Online says it plans to expand ESP to additional social media channels in the future.