As the recent 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, it was Social Media that we turned to, getting messages and information out to family and friends across the globe within a matter of seconds. The online sentiment felt worldwide was one of tremendous pain; and messages of sympathy and hope for those affected blanketed our twitter feeds, our facebooks and youtube accounts.
An earthquake of this magnitude touches all facets of a community's economy and lives, and as Christchurch is one of New Zealand's key tourism destinations this will be a significant blow to "Christchuch" as a brand. Our strategic partner Dr. Mathew McDougall, CEO for the China based firm SinoTech Group, is a South Islander himself, and one of the global experts on Social Media Strategy and Analytics.
If you want to become an inbound operator creating itineraries for overseas clients coming to New Zealand, then below you'll find a couple of tips to help you on your way.
1) Get to know your product. This means doing the legwork, and getting out there.
Or you can cheat and go to TRENZ, but you're never going to know for sure if the brochures they're showing you are simply putting their product in the best light, or if they're for real.
If you've visited a product provider, and can report from first hand experience that their "Garden Suite" actually looks over someone else's garden, whereas their "Lake View Suites" do get views of the lake, but across someone else's roof, you're in a better position to be able to manage a client's expectations.
In August 2008 YouTube beat Yahoo! into 2nd PLACE for total US search queries, and that makes for one fairly compelling argument to get a video of your tourism product up on YouTube.
YouTube also happens to be owned by Google, so the higher your video ranks on YouTube, the likelier it is you'll also appear in Google search results, which of course now include videos.
But remember, although a professionally produced, high definition, TV advert-style production would be every tourism operator's dream, a video doesn't have to be all that; it could simply be a presentation of stills photographs of your tourism product saved as a .mov (movie) file, an AV clip, YouTube will still "see" this as a video!
You can create an AV clip yourself, by creating a PowerPoint presentation...
Happy clients who have their problems resolved will tell 4-6 people about their positive experience.
A dissatisfied client will tell 9-15 people about it. And approximately 13% of your dissatisfied clients will tell more than 20 people about their problem.
Conclusion: You have to satisfy three to four, for every one that is dissatisfied with you. It's tough to work with a 4:1 ratio against you, which is why your client satisfaction efforts are so important.
I never went to Travel & Hospitality school. In fact, I'd never had any experience in client service or in the travel industry whatsoever before I started my little inbound travel business. You don't need to - avoiding dissatisfied clients as above should be common sense for any...