So I’m reading The New York Times and wouldn’t you know, there’s an article about a distant cousin of mine in the Fashion & Style section. Seems he just got married for the second time, which is lovely, but the real scoop is that he met his new wife on Facebook. They were childhood sweethearts and fell out of touch over the many, many years that had passed by. After his first wife passed away, he searched for his old flame and there she was, on the social networking site. They connect, some time goes by and they’re married. Have to love Facebook!
In fact, lately I’m loving it more than ever. You’ve heard me sing the praises of Twitter and how it basically provides a free marketing outlet to anyone who figures out how to master the art of tweeting. I still hold that fact to be true but I’ve also seen Facebook evolve into an extremely dynamic venue for travel agents to engage with their clients and potential clients.
So, who’s using the medium well? I totally enjoy being a fan of Monika and Jill at Jet Set World Travel. They have a certain exuberance that’s hard to ignore. Today they announced that Monika will be at a wine-tasting at the Whole Foods, in Beaverton, OR, to discuss the wine regions of Australia. The duo also does a great job of posting photos of the hotels they’re staying at while traveling and of promoting themselves as experts on travel who seem to be everywhere.
Berman Travel recently invited me to become a fan of their Facebook page and I’m glad they did. They’ve got beautiful photos of Mexican sunsets to inspire travel to some great places; they’re also posting deals and fresh pictures of beautiful resorts. In fact, they’ve got 13 photo albums on their page.
Tzell Travel Group, a huge agency based in New York, was promoting a fan giveaway on its fan page: a two-night stay at The Blakely Hotel in New York. To be eligible, entrants had to post their idea of a dream vacation on the discussion board on Tzell’s fan page. It worked; when I checked, there were 41 responses. How smart is that? Tzell now knows where 41 clients or prospective clients really want to go. I’m sure they’ll put that information to good use.
Casto Travel posts travel-related news items on its fan page (tips for handling medical emergencies abroad), but it also put up photos from an awards night it hosted for its travel advisors. That’s a great way to let the public know that your agents are doing a great job. It also published a link to Yelp.com, where Casto has several reviews from clients. “I use two relics of the ’80s—one being Casto Travel, the other being my Def Leppard Hysteria CD,” praised one client. (Is your agency listed on Yelp? That’s another social site you need to be aware of.)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Admiral Travel International, which was probably using Facebook to promote its services before many of us were even thinking about it. The agency’s Cemantha Crain excels in keeping fans up to speed on the company’s president, Malaka Hilton, who travels all over the world, as well as the firm’s new enterprise, Authentescapes.
Is your agency on Facebook? If so, please invite me to become a fan; I’d love to see how you’re using it to expand your business. And, in the meantime, “fan” us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TravelAgentMagazine. Be sure to also take a look at our educational arm, Travel Agent University, which recently launched its fan page at www.Facebook.com/TravelAgentUniversity.