What does Google Plus for Travel look like?

3 Strategies for Any Kind of Travel Business to Make it on Google+. Remember…

Google Plus is not a catalog.

Google Plus for Travel is not a photo essay, and the chances that anyone is going to be so dazzled by your palm trees – as opposed to anyone else’s palm trees – are just not that good. While all travel is medium-information, some of it is actually quite high in terms of the information necessary for people to close the deal. In some cases people will plan for months and the role of social media is to continue to supply the information necessary to close.

Google+ is a chance to attract people to you, personally, so that they want to follow you and value the insight and information you provide. So a Google+ strategy can vary a lot depending on your business model and how you want to reach people.

If you’re only using it to dazzle people with images, then you’re likely missing out on the better part of your customer base.

Let’s look at 3 quick examples from the people I most often work with.

A) Small hotel posting on Google+:

  1. Photo posts are always popular, but they don’t convert into hotel guests.
  2. Instead we concentrate on quirky things going on in and around the hotel, especially the kitchen.
  3. Hotel proprietors are exceedingly popular not just for their kids, but for the no-nonsense approach to good living, good food and good service.
  4. Posts therefore reflect their many interests, the books they read, the way the community around the hotel is growing up or changing and the many things that make it an interesting community.
  5. Of the three business models listed here, this one can rely on occasional “impulse buying” – more so than the others. But there is no point to impulse guests in for a quick couple of days if they are not going to convert to fans and be a part of the people coming back regularly. Even a low-information quick purchase quickly changes to a high-information long-term relationship (hopefully).

B) Vacation rental website in Medellin Colombia posting on Google+:

  1. This one might seem a lot less personal – at first. Apartments are individually owned so services as simple as key drop off can meet a variety of different levels of service. That should be a value added if you’re really running a property management firm and not just a website.
  2. The posting does include sharing of photos and original posts – again of some very good photos – but also of news and insight from the neighborhoods around the buildings and those most popular with visitors to the city.
  3. In this case, it’s important to understand, the website acts much more as a community observer than as a host. The people of the city are the host, and the website acts more to get people to come and interact with the city. Note that none of the apartments have independent representation anywhere else on social media though a few will show up in other listing services.
  4. The strategy then is to appear much more as a travel facilitator if not exactly a travel agency. Every local service and value added builds credibility – and why wouldn’t you want to stay with a company like that?

C) A Time Share company with Properties in Mexico and the Caribbean on Google+:

  1. Theoretically, a time share company should be able to act as a neutral network of properties. The travelers gets to choose among them, so social media “should” be just a process of sharing.
  2. Concentrate all of your effort on #A above, and do it over and over. Produce content for your individual properties and then use the time share as a network for sharing that content.
  3. The time share then gets to be a little more invisible – but still benefits from the association with the great hotels or resorts in the collection.
  4. Time share ideally should be about members, not about administration and overhead. Therefore, you’re going to concentrate more effort into the core collection of properties and the communities around them, rather than the service (or lack of service) from the time share company. (Again, see #A above).
  5. Contractual time share should be the ultimate in retained, passive-interest marketing. They’re going to go this year, so why wouldn’t you just make them like you?

So, if people just love you, love them back. If they don’t love you, love them anyway. What’s your experience been like on Google+ so far?

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Photo top of this page: Crowded Netherlands beach with mostly adults, © Wikimedia Commons Copyright, by Stephen Codrington

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