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How DMOs Can Use Social Media to Engage with Travelers

I recently had the honor of being invited to the Wyoming Tourism Governor’s Conference to discuss how destination marketers can use social media to tell their brand’s story and reach out to and engage with travelers.

We’ve talked about it before, but social media really runs the entire path to purchase for the traveler. From dreaming to shopping to enjoying their trip, travelers are on social media and using different channels to help with each step of their journey. Given its ubiquity, travel marketers of every stripe need to be using social media channels to engage with travelers throughout that path.

There are a number of places and ways DMOs can reach travelers. Here are are our top takeaways:

Knowing your audience allows for more relevant interactions

The heart of social media is indeed, the idea of being social. It’s important, then, that you know your audience, what they are looking for, and create content that speaks to them. In this case, we took a look at the audience most interested in travel to Wyoming in order to understand what kind of social content would resonate.

First we looked at the top origin markets searching for flights to Wyoming:

Top Origin Destinations Looking to Fly to Wyoming

New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, and Jackson make up the top five list of cities looking to fly to Wyoming.

If you look at top origin cities searching for hotel, a different picture appears:

Top Origin Destinations Looking for Hotels in Wyoming

The top five origin markets looking for hotels in Wyoming are Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Cheyenne and San Jose.

What is clear is that Wyoming’s audience is different depending on which offering they’re most interested in. As such, you should speak to them differently across both your social media channels, as well as other advertising efforts. Saying the same thing—like offering the same package or ad—to different audiences might leave you speaking effectively to one but not the other.

For example, we see the top origin markets looking for hotels are mainly within the surrounding region of the state, whereas those looking for flights are coming in from the coasts. Your local travelers will have a different timing window and, likely, different interests than those from far away.

Understand your timing trends & creating content accordingly

Your social media and additional advertising efforts need to be timed correctly to ensure you are speaking to travelers when they are in-market for destination. We looked at the US hotel searches to Wyoming and compared the lead time to the national average to see how they stacked up.

It should come as no surprise to anyone in the great state of Wyoming because the state certainly is not average—and the same can be said for their traveler’s lead time.

Those searching for travel to Wyoming tend to look 30+ days ahead of travel. Video is a great way to capture these early planners, and social media is the perfect place to share those videos.

The Wyoming Office of Tourism is taking the need for videos seriously and in their recent re-branding has rolled out some impressively eye-catching videos. While they have their longer TV spots, they’ve cut their videos down into perfect, bite-sized and Facebook friendly videos, including:

Video is a great way to capture the attention of people dreaming early on. These videos inspire travelers to learn more—and travel to—Wyoming, in particular, by giving the viewer reasons “WY” to visit Wyoming.

I had a great time talking social media and travel marketing with so many great people and businesses in Wyoming. Want to learn more about how Sojern works with DMOs to drive travelers to your destination? Check out our case study for more information.

Catlyn Origitano

About Catlyn

Catlyn is Sojern's Senior Content Marketing Manager. She loves playing video games and hiking with her dog, Dottie. Her favorite part of travel is the food, preferring street food to fine dining. She holds a PhD in Philosophy.