Using social media to increase the benefit of business travel

One of the catchphrases of marketing today is that customer service is the new marketing.

One of the catchphrases of marketing today is that customer service is the new marketing.

Like most clichés it conveys a basic truth, but it only makes sense once one understands how customer service plays out in the way word-of-mouth advertising is magnified by social media.

Last week I said that the greatest opportunity in 2012 likely lay in converting on business or construction visitors already in our area this year. People sometimes forget that these are tourists, and very valuable tourists at that. They spend more, and they are in the community long enough to establish loyalties to local businesses.

It’s obvious that if you own a restaurant, and you provide good food and good service at a fair price, your customer will return. And we know that this customer will almost certainly tell friends about this great restaurant. Yet that word-of-mouth promotion has blossomed into an opportunity that can be far more valuable than traditional advertising opportunities.

Today’s business travellers stay in much closer touch with their loved ones than has been possible in the past. They follow day-to-day developments on Facebook, Twitter, Path, or what-have-you, and they chat regularly on Skype or FaceTime. They live by their mobile devices, and have become accustomed to online research for dining, accommodation and recreation options. This technology is a vital part of their lives. So if they receive great product, and great customer service, at a great price, we see a good number of these customers posting that on their online networks.

Yet human nature remains human nature – the customer is always more likely to broadcast a negative experience than a positive one. And since their networks likely include their work colleagues, a bad experience can lead to catastrophic results. Thus customer service becomes, for better or worse, even more powerful advertising than ever before.

Thus any business must be very concerned about online reputation management. At one level this is simple. If a visitor posts a negative review of your hotel on TripAdvisor, the way in which you respond to that bad experience can be more effective for advertising purposes than any number of good reviews. But the proliferation of social networks complicates this. On TripAdvisor the customer is in a sense offering you their feedback in a public forum. It takes specific searches to find feedback on other networks.

So it’s vital to be active on those social networks, and here is where Tourism Prince Rupert can help. In this context I’m speaking about business travellers, and they are certainly the most sophisticated when it comes to online travel planning, but it’s true in the case of leisure travel as well. From trip planning to decisions about evening dining, we’re accustomed to researching by interacting on social networks.

To be on the other side of this fence means finding interesting things to post about your own business. To be truly effective you must re-post the positive comments, re-post interesting things about your partner businesses, and allow your personality to come through in your online presence. If each tourism business or organization in Prince Rupert is doing this, then our job at TPR becomes much more effective. We take the best of that content and rebroadcast it on the various social networks where our visitors and potential visitors are waiting. This approach to marketing is becoming more and more important every year. Given the particular realities of this season, it has become vital. If we work together and do this well, we can maximize the benefit of this year’s business travel.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Coast BC NDP MLA Incumbent is seen with her wife Andrea Wilmot and their son Lua, as well as their dog Duncan. Preliminary results on election night Oct. 24 show Rice is in for a third term. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Poppy donation boxes have been delivered to restaurants, cafes, stores and places of businesses in Prince Rupert by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 127 for the 2020 National Poppy Campaign. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
National poppy campaign restricted by COVID-19

Prince Rupert Royal Canadian legion expects less donations to offer vital assistance to local vets

Elena Tran 9, grade five student at Conrad Elementary School learns about Truth and Reconciliation on Oct. 21 with the story of Chanie Wenjack who died at the side of rail lines while fleeing a residential school in 1967. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Conrad Elementary students learn of ‘reconciliACTION’ during Secret Path Week

Secret Path Week from Oct. 17 to 22 commemorates the passing of Chani Wenjack and Gord Downie

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Most Read