Category Archives: Facebook

eTourism Summit 2014 Takeaways

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The “fire hose of information” delivered at #eTS14 is not meant to put fires out, but rather to start more fires burning. Stoke your at-home fires with these top takeaways curated from 22.7K Twitter impressions across the cyberspace that was #eTS14.

Thunderous themes:

  • Be human, not corporate
  • Interact with people
  • Be a story instigator; content is still king
  • Mobile, mobile, mobile
  • China, China, China
  • Music videos: the next frontier for DMOs
  • Free FB lunch is over; use pay-to-play wisely
  • Empower the under-35s 
  • Re-visit and prioritize your SMART KPIs
  • Steal good ideas and scale them to suit

More Key Learning Points

Social Media Platforms

Facebook: Reachpocalypse is real and can only be fought with a compelling content strategy directed at sharing by a committed fan base. Be conversational, use other people’s good content, feature outstanding visuals of food and scenery. Watch for organic to drop to zero and a buy button to appear.

Twitter: is growing up fast. It’s fundamentally changed how we watch TV to make it interactive in real time, explains Brian Carr. One billion conversations are happening every 48 hours; 280M users will likely peak at 300M and 78% use on mobile will rise to 81%. Promoted tweets by keyword and tailored audiences mean it’s time to strategize on a clever campaign. Use Twitter analytics and experiment with Twitter Cards to drive traffic to your website, Lead Generation Cards to capture user interest and emails, App Cards to prompt a download. 

Pinterest: resonates as a visual bookmark which has key impact during dreaming stage. Different to other channels, it’s not about past or present, but future. Works best when you think of your content as actionable, creating travel tips, itineraries, must-dos, free things, etc. It’s OK for a business to start with 24 boards, populated with 20 vertical images on rich pins. Enid Hwang’s tip: omit hashtags, they may penalize you. 

YouTube: 71% of travel searches on YouTube are for specific destinations, trumping search at 58%. Seeing Y-o-Y growth at 179%. Destinations and attractions account for 40% of all travel video views. Talk to your visitor centers, address what people want to know when developing video content. Google’s Shaun Aukland says, “Video is the next frontier.”

Google: Importance of search through the five stages of travel: Inspiration/Planning/Booking/Experiencing/Sharing. Note that if all advertising were to move to mobile-only, that’s OK, since 50% of all travel-related searches are now on mobile. “The importance of mobile is the single most important thing you can take away from this conference,” suggests Shaun Aukland. He emphasizes that the  “under-35s understand this stuff naturally,” and management from the governor’s office right on down should “listen to them, give them budgets and let them lead.” 


  • Best-practice example: Memphis video kills it in one minute with poetry and a voice over that rivals Richard Burton. – (filmmaker Peter Bragiel, In Transit)
  • Audio is 50% of your presentation. Use music to convey desired mood of video. – (Marla Johnson, Aristotle)
  • The story must be the foreground, the destination is the background. There’s nothing unique about eating out, a nice glass of wine, a swimming pool. Golfers already know where the golf courses are.
  • Remember that Vimeo is where Millennials are hanging out. “Subscribers are currency. Forget views. It’s about how many people have relationships with you.” – (Peter Bragiel, InTransit)

      *  “What are your top 10 Google and YouTube searches? Are you answering those questions with video? Start.”  – (Shaun Aukland, Google) 

  • You can even do it in-house. Too many ideas? Break up the topics into short, separate videos.
  • “Must. Do. More. Video.” – (Melia Dicker, Visit Mississippi)
  • “Like a home video?” Fly the producer over!” – (Peter Bragiel, InTransit)

Social Media & Advanced Social Media Marketing

  • Create a social media culture in your organization. Your chief storyteller and best brand ambassador may be sitting right next to you. – (Gathan Borden, Visit Louisville)
  • Get to your community’s bloggers. You don’t have to be first to the punchline, but do pass the good stories along.
  • Join the Instagram conversation. Among Millennials with smartphones, 43% are using it. Thursday is the biggest day. – (Katie Cook, Visit Austin)
  • “What’s even better than targeting your customer? Finding other ones just like them.” – (David Fluegge, Colorado Tourism)
  • Keep your Facebook and personal pages separate. Business Manager is the solution. – (Josh Collins, Visit Williamson County)
  • Start “thinking like a publisher.” Facebook is. – (Mo Sherifdeen, Travel Oregon)
  • Advanced analytics, custom audiences, lookalike, tracking pixels, using your own mailing list: tools are your friends. “Spray & Pray approach won’t work.” – (David Fluegge, Colorado Tourism)
  • “Native beats banner.” – (Jessica Cox, MMGY Global).  Native advertising is here to stay, so join the crowd, use it wisely. – (TJ Salo, DreamPlanGo)
  • Focus on one KPI at a time or you’ll end up achieving nothing. – (Tess McBride, Sparkloft Media)
  • Consider targeting email unsubscribers to continue conversation elsewhere on social. – (David Fluegge, Tourism Colorado)

       *  “A sense of place is the filter I put every piece of content through. How strongly does it evoke a destination?” – (Talia Salem,  Brand USA)     

Attractions Social Marketing

  • Change happens. “Be tolerant of chaos.  Let the ground move under your feet every single day.” – (Geoff Drake, Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • Make your organizational chart flat. Employees such as mountain climbers and aquarium explainers are hearing fabulous comments from the public every day. Use compelling, appealing assets from the top of the world to the bottom of the ocean. “Cute baby otters works, too.” – (Geoff Drake and Theresa Ho, Yosemite DNC)
  • Attractions now have the upper hand with flash sale sites. – (Bob Schwartz, Boston Duck Tours)

       *  Vary your content, tone of voice, even grammar and punctuation for each social media platform according to user demographics. It works. – (Amie Wong, California Academy of Sciences)     

  • Mobile bookings means massive opportunities in the tours and activities space, even a storefront within the app. – (Michael Berman, Peek and Alex Bainbridge, TourCMS)

Small Budgets, Limited Resources

  • Maximize Twitter hashtags, Instagram and Pinterest when there’s no money. – (Leslie McLellan, San Jacinto Valley CVB)
  • Video need not be expensive. Maintain the rights and use contest entries.
  • Q: If you could have only one staffer on social media, what skill set? Designer? Photographer? Writer? A: “Don’t overlook a sense of humor.” – (Marla Johnson, Aristotle)  Tip: Check out graduate school of journalism students to find all 4-in-1.
  • Prioritize your channels, prioritize mobile.
  • Develop a tone of voice. (Tucson got 824% FB organic reach with “Advice From a Cactus” post.) Use other people’s content. (ScenicWA got 2500% organic reach with one-a-day image feeds.)

MICE Marketing

  • Look in the right place. You’ll find this audience on LinkedIn. – (Mandy Volpe, UniqueVenues)
  • Use website landing pages for specific types of meetings.
  • Push notifications will be the email marketing of tomorrow.

Experiential Travel

  • The sharing economy is here to stay. Embrace it, work with it.
  • Restaurateurs see as complimentary (appreciation of good food and company), not competitive. – (Guy Michlin,
  • International visitors wanted to “live like a local.” Now they want to “meet the locals.”
  • The physical distribution of Airbnb changes a visitor’s experience with a destination, since they primarily live an average of 5 days where hotels are not found. – (Andrea La Mesa, Airbnb)

Out-of-the-(Tool) Box Thinking

  • We have street view. We have satellite view. Why not drones? Drones are the something in-between. 
  • Not perfect is the new perfect on Snapchat. You don’t have to maintain the image of a perfection to get engagement. Watch developments: Snapchat Stories, Our Stories and Snapchat geotags…not to mention ads. – (Martin Stoll, Sparkloft Media)
  • Bitcoins have a higher and more steady demand than Expedia anticipated, and “none of us should be ignoring this innovation.” – (Michael Gulmann, Expedia Media Solutions)
  • Google CEO recommends Googlers to work one day/week out of mobile exclusively. Grounds the consumer experience, invites innovation. – (Shaun Aukland, Google)

Media Buying

  • “Data and creativity are the Montagues and Capulets of advertising. They’ll start working together with formidable results.” – (John Durham, Catalyst S+F)
  • “Mobile advertising is in its infancy,” at currently only 2% of all ads. – (Scott Swanson, Opera MediaWorks)
  • Fasten your seat belts, but you don’t have to drive your data as crazily as the big box retailers do. – (Chris Smuthy, Sojern)
  • “The real purchasing strategy lies in the why and the how – not the where and the who.” – (Sabrina Wilson, Ad+Genuity)
  • Evaluate ROI during campaign, not just at completion.
  • Use call to action words appropriately; different ones apply to awareness, inspiration, consideration, activation, re-living.
  • “Invest in storytellers. In Louisiana’s best content, you can just smell the food.”- (John Durham, Catalyst S+F)

“There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”Nicholas Butler Murray (1862 – 1947) educator, former president of Columbia University

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Filed under Attractions marketing, Digital Tourism Marketing Trends 2015, DMOs, eTourism Summit San Francisco, Facebook, Google, Instagram, KPIs, Native Advertising, Pinterest, Snapchat, Social Media Platforms, Storytelling, TripAdvisor, Twitter, YouTube

Announcing a Facebook ‘Post with the Most’ Competition







Enter the search for the Facebook post with the best organic reach

(Photo: Gunnar Richter)

(Photo: Gunnar Richter)

SAUSALITO, CA — The 15th Annual eTourism Summit held in San Francisco on Oct. 8-9, 2014 is launching a competition among its delegates to find the Facebook post with the highest percentage of organic reach. 

The prize winner receives a complimentary registration to eTourism Summit.*

Since Facebook’s latest algorithm changes, reports abound that organic engagement has plummeted.  However, several organizations are reporting that they have been able to sustain, even to grow beyond pre-2014 levels.

“Many marketers have the wrong followers for the algorithm changes, or the wrong content or both,” stated Jake Steinman, CEO of NAJ Group, which produces eTourism Summit. The contest invitation to delegates is now open.! We’re looking forward to your entry.

Competition Guidelines:

1. All entries must include a PDF screen capture of the Facebook post as well as the Facebook insights results.  

2. Reach must be purely organic and cannot include paid boosts.

3. Eligible entries must include posts that were uploaded after April 1, 2014.

4. Must be a destination, hotel, or attraction with a minimum of 3,000 Facebook followers. 

5. Winner determined by percentage of total followers reached per entered post.

Email one entry per organization to: by July 31, 2014.

 *In the event that the winner is already registered for eTourism Summit 2014, a credit for the same value toward a future registration or the option to bring a colleague to #eTS14 will be extended.





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Filed under All Things F, eTourism Summit San Francisco, Facebook

Turning Likes Into Love: Announcing All Things Facebook 2014









Why did we create the All Things Facebook Pop Up Workshop?

So you can meet Facebook’s Travel Team in person and learn to turn Likes into love. 


 July 7-8, 2014    |    Beta Pop-Up Workshop    |    The Driskill    |   Austin, TX 









Join us for a deep dive into all things Facebook with their travel industry staff, other Facebook marketing experts, a workshop, Q&A, and a reception at the Facebook office.  Find the Agenda and the link to All Things Facebook Registration below.

If you prefer to have your registration billed forward to accommodate your 2015 budget cycle, just let us know.   Each attendee receives a Certificate of Course Completion during the private reception at Facebook corporate offices.  

Why A Facebook Pop-Up Workshop? Let’s face it. It’s a real challenge to keep up with all the changes Facebook is making. Consider revised algorithms for the news feed, bolder designs for brand pages, improved analytics products, new products to track lead generation, conversion, social CRM, plug-ins, applications and clever new tools. It’s estimated that Facebook introduced over 200 changes in 2013 alone.

Together with Facebook we have curated the most critical tools that destinations and attractions need to stay on top of their game. And, by the end of the program, you will know exactly how to use them.

Meet Facebook’s Travel Team.  Fifty attendees will meet Facebook’s Travel team that works with DMO’s, hotels and attractions— in person to get rare access to tailor-made presentations, workshops, roundtable discussions…and a truly rare Q&A session, too.

Ask Facebook? Here’s a unique opportunity to meet Facebook tourism executives and ask your questions, get answers that work for your business, dive deeper, navigate the platform, and explore Instagram.

You’re invited! Join us in Austin where we’re invited to a reception at Facebook’s Austin offices. You will leave with a certificate of completion—proof that you know more about Facebook for business than 95% of your colleagues and competitors. Or, make that 99%.

Who Should Attend? This is a lively, professional development and interactive workshop especially for digital, new media and social media staff to expand the knowledge necessary to ensure your organization thrives. Join us. Due to the 1-2-1 interactive nature of the workshop, space is limited.

1        Marketing executives

2       Digital media directors and managers

3       Social media directors and coordinators

What prior knowledge is necessary? A basic understanding of how things work on Facebook. Delegates have used Facebook in a business capacity and must have a business page, but may not know how to go further with it. (Note that delegates are at intermediate level. We will not instruct on Facebook page set-up.)

What’s required? 1) We will pre-register all delegates with a Facebook ad account authorized for a minimum $50 spend billed to the credit card supplied. This is in order to conduct transactions during the interactive workshop session to ensure that each attendee is comfortable with the how-to basics that meet your own budget.  2) We ask that all attendees bring an excerpt or log-in from your customer database, as we will demonstrate how to use Facebook’s management tool known as Custom Audiences. ********************************************************************

 Your ALL THINGS F Workshop Leaders and Facilitators:

 – Jessica Roberts, Global Solutions, Travel Vertical, Facebook

–  Krupa Patel, Global Solutions, Travel Vertical, Facebook

–  Jennifer Barbee, Founder and CEO, Jennifer Barbee Inc.

–  Martin Stoll, Founder and CEO, Sparkloft Media

–  Elena Ferranto, Product Development & Innovation, Sparkloft Media

–  Laurie Jo Miller Farr, eTourism Summit


 What will be covered in this workshop?

PROVISIONAL AGENDA  (Last Updated 4/1/14. Subject to Change)


JULY 7, 2014


4:30-6:00 pm: Explore Instagram For Business…and burn calories at the same time. Introducing the Instagram Field Trip—a walking tour of Austin.  Participants bring mobile phones plus inquisitive minds for Instagram tips and tricks. Following the field trip, participants will have newly honed photography skills and digital media applications that will make a difference back home.

6:00-7:30 pm:  Instagram Opening Reception.  Instagram moves indoors. Continue tips and tricks while we showcase our best results from the field trip. Facebook marketers join delegates for an evening showcase and  icebreaker at The Driskill in the heart of Austin.


JULY 8, 2014 

7:30-8:30 am: Continental Breakfast

8:30-8:45 am: Opening Remarks and Introductions

8:45-9:15 am: Diving Right Into the Deep End of Social Media  

With 76 percent of the 1.23 billion monthly active users logging on daily, uploading 350 million photos a day, the “why” of Facebook is clear. Get up to speed on the latest Facebook tools and plans (drones, virtual reality – what’s next?) and adjust your strategy to take advantage of the updates and changes that Facebook is making for brand marketers.

– New advertising tools like FBX

– New Social CRM tools like Custom Audiences

– New Targeting tools such as “look alikes”

– New ways to analyze Facebook uses using Facebook Insights

– New tools for page admins

Leaders: Martin Stoll, CEO, Sparkloft Media;  Jennifer Barbee, CEO, Jennifer Barbee, Inc.

9:15-9:45 am: How To Improve Your Facebook Engagement

We could call it “Understanding the Art and Science of Facebook Engagement and How It Will Affect Your Social Media Programs.” During this session we will look into relevant industry content samples and discuss why they worked or didn’t.

– When and how your fans — and their friends — see your content

– How your News Feed is affected by Edge Rank changes with the latest Facebook updates

– What type of posts work best and how often should they be updated – What the best community management practices are

– Know how your News Feed is affected by Edge Rank changes with the latest Facebook updates

– What type of posts work best and how often should they be updated

– What are the best community management guidelines

– How tourism marketers are using their Facebook followers to amplify their brand

Leaders: Elena Ferranto, Product Development & Innovation, Sparkloft Media; Jessica Roberts, Director, Global Solutions, Facebook

9:45-10:00 am:  The Right Stuff 

We’ll see precisely what can go right when we apply the right stuff in a case study from within our own peer group presented as a best practice example.

10:00-10:30 am:  A Look Inside Facebook

Keeping up with changes and updates to Facebook can feel like a full-time job. Hear directly from Facebook’s travel vertical about the most recent updates and product changes and how these affect your social media marketing campaign. Find out how destinations and attractions can benefit from the latest innovations in 2014 and in 2015 marketing plans.

Leaders: Jessica Roberts, Director, Global Solutions, Facebook; Jennifer BarbeeJennifer Barbee, Inc.

10:30-11:00 am: Break

11:00-11:30pm: Hands-On Exercise: Hit The Bulls Eye by Laser-Targeting Your Desired Audience

Did you know that you can easily identify and target potential fans who are most likely to engage with your Facebook page? The essence of success on Facebook is learning about the various ways to precisely target…and re-target…your Facebook fans. See how a call-to-action such as Shop Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Book Now or Download can enhance your strategic marketing. In this hands-on session you are introduced to the targeting capabilities of Facebook, for example:

– Use the Look-Alike Audiences tool to target your best prospects

– Use FBX

– Discover Custom Audiences

– Re-targeting using your own first-party audience data

– Pages To Watch

Leaders: Krupa Patel, Associate, Global Solutions, Facebook; Jessica Roberts, Director, Global Solutions, Facebook

11:30-11:45 am:  The Right Stuff II

In our second case study (tba), we’ll find out how Facebook advertising techniques are used to target new fans with an ROI that’s good news for everyone.

11:45-12:15 pm: Hands-On: Ads That Boost Your Brand’s Self-Esteem.

Destinations and attractions can boost their Facebook marketing results with new ad techniques. We’ll find out how to construct a Custom Audience on Facebook and you’ll manage an actual Social CRM experience.  During this session you will be able to upload up to 500 names from one of your actual databases and, under the watchful eye of our experts, match them to Facebook users to construct your own custom audience.

– Use Conversion Pixels to track ultimate sales

– Understand how to use Facebook for social CRM: Custom Audiences

– Re-targeting


Leaders: Jessica Roberts, Director Global Solutions, FacebookJennifer Barbee, Jennifer Barbee, Inc.

12:15-12:30 pm:  The Right Stuff III 

Watch your reach and engagement numbers grow on Facebook Insights. This case study (tba) presentation is on organic and paid reach.

12:30-2:00 pm: Luncheon

1024px-Facebook_like_thumb2:00-2:45 pm: Turning Likes Into Love

  What constitutes a successful promotion? How to tip the balance from like to love to evangelist, perhaps? What types of games, surveys, contests and sweepstakes are tourism marketers using to generate excitement and engagement among their Facebook fans? We’ll hear from Facebook with examples of successful destination, hotel and attraction promotions, plus examples of tips on stretching dollars via co-op programs that work.

Leaders:  Krupa Patel, Global Solutions, Facebook; Martin Stoll, Sparkloft Media

2:45-3:00 pm: The Right Stuff IV  

“Make new friends but keep the old” are the lyrics to the traditional Scout song that makes good sense for marketing pros. We’ll hear from the field about how this can work for you with repeat traffic on Facebook that translates into repeat visitors at your doorstep.

3:00-3:45 pm: Measurement Isn’t Magic, But It Sure Helps  

It’s not uncommon these days to hear that social media marketing is really all marketing, not just a separate line item on the budget. Still, reporting upstairs to get the appropriate resources for social media campaigns and staffing is a fact of life. It’s your Facebook ROI that makes the difference. We dive into an overview and interpretation session of Facebook reporting features and analytics capabilities and various ways to use them. Whether its sales conversions, event attendance, lead generation, creating more engagement, our experts will introduce real-life examples of proven ROI followed by interactive roundtable discussion among attendees about what’s worked and what hasn’t.

Leaders: All

3:45-4:00 pm:  Break

4:00pm-5:00 pm: Rotating Facebook Peer-to-Peer Roundtables  

We know that destinations and attractions have created and conducted some brilliantly successful ideas using Facebook. Other destinations and attractions have noticed some initiatives that they’d like to adopt.  Each roundtable discussion will dive even deeper into these topics. Every 15 minutes we move to a new table so each of you will have an opportunity to cover four topics.

Roundtable #1: Managing Your Facebook Community

Roundtable #2: Making ROI and Analytics Work for Your Department

Roundtable #3: Really Sticky Facebook Engagement Techniques

Roundtable #4: Managing and Staffing a Social Media department

Roundtable #5: Building Your Facebook Audience Organically

Roundtable #6: Using Instagram to Reach Millennials

5:00-5:30 pm:  “Ask Facebook” Q & A Session, with Jessica Roberts and Krupa Patel, Facebook Travel Vertical, Global Solutions

6:00-7:30 pm: Reception at Facebook Offices.  Facebook’s offices are a short five-block walk from the hotel. Each attendee receives a Certificate of Course Completion during the private reception at Facebook corporate offices.



The Driskill, at the intersection of historic and dynamic in the heart of downtown Austin is our venue for the Pop-Up.  For hotel reservations, please call The Driskill directly at 800-233-1234 or 512-439-1234 and ask for the special eTourism Summit rate of  $175 per night.


Early Bird Registration Fee for DMOs/Attractions/Hotels: $795 (until April 14,  fee will increase in $100 increments through June 6, 2014).

Early Bird Registration Fee for NON- DMOs/Attractions/Hotels: $1,095  (until April 14,  fee will increase in $100 increments through June 6, 2014).

Attendance is limited to 50. Cancellations on or before June 7 are refundable minus a $75 cancellation fee. Cancellations after June 7 are non-refundable. Special Discount: Like our Facebook page  and receive a $50 discount. If you prefer to have your registration billed forward to accommodate your 2015 budget cycle, just let us know.   Each attendee receives a Certificate of Course Completion during the private reception at Facebook corporate offices.


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Facebook’s Lee McCabe: “If It Works It’s Obsolete”


Facebook's Lee McCabe and Jake Steinman after the interview

Jake Steinman, founder and and CEO of eTourism Summit met recently  with Lee McCabe, Facebook’s Head of Travel, for a candid discussion about tactical ways in which destinations and attractions can use Facebook as a more effective platform.

Like the Facebook platform itself, the company’s campus in Menlo Park has changed substantially in just the year since our E-Tourism Summit (ETS) group last visited for a field trip. The complex has since grown into Main Street in a Small Town USA, with three-story buildings on both sides of the street, and they contain restaurants, bike shops, printing shops and a Facebook flagship store with all types of Facebook branded t-shirts, hoodies, and bric-a-brac.

There are “twenty-something” hipsters who seem to mix freely with more seasoned “thirty-something” adults, creating an environment that gives the headquarters the appearance of a college campus—only with an air of accountability permeating everything.

McCabe comes most recently from Expedia, where he led its hotel partnership team, and seems to have a firm grasp of the travel landscape; he has plans to grow the travel vertical team, which is based in Austin, into sub-verticals that may include one to focus on destination marketing organizations.

An excerpted version of our question-and-answer session follows: (Photo : Lee McCabe (left) at FB headquarters)

ETS: What advice would you have for travel industry sectors such as DMOs or attractions that are using Facebook’s ad platform to target prospective fans that most likely to engage with them?
McCabe: One of the biggest problems that most travel companies have is that they built an original fan base that doesn’t have an affinity for their product or destination. A good example of a DMO success is Tourism Australia, as they follow these basic principles:
o The foundation of their fan base consists of Australians who are passionate about their country
o Their fans have friends who have visited Australia
o You have those who may not know anyone living in Australia, but have visited the country and have enough passion for it to continue engaging. Nearly 90 percent of their posts are user generated. Your best marketers are friends that have been to the destination.ETS: What can the average destination say Berkeley, California learn from them?
McCabe: You really only need a few hundred people to create a rich content engine. For example, if they only had 500 fans in the beginning and their average post is seen by 30 percent of their fans, that becomes their benchmark. That means that there are some posts that are seen by only 10 percent of their fans and others that might be viewed by 50 percent. The post with the higher engagement is somehow resonating with your fan base and the best way to expand is by:
o Including similar posts in the same time slot on a similar topic
o Boost your post by using non-organic ads on Facebook to help find your target audience. For example, if a post depicting a scuba diver has generated high engagement, you target scuba divers within a 1,000-mile radius of your destination.
o This advice can be summarized by:
 Post
 Benchmark
 Boost posts that engage beyond your benchmark

ETS: How many times per day should brands post?
McCabe: It varies per brand, but generally we recommend to post two to three times a day to stay consistent and engaged.

ETS: What analytic tools are available to higher spend advertisers that are not available to those using Facebook’s self-service model?
McCabe: This depends on their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). If we have clients that are trying to influence destination consideration, we partner with Nielsen for research measurement. If they’re trying to build traffic to their website, they can simply add a tag to the post and track the user’s visit to their site.

ETS: Are there any types of campaign or contests that you see working better than others in the travel space?
McCabe: Unless it’s something unique like Australia’s “Win the Job of Your Life,” which puts the destination at the heart of the competition, it’s difficult to see long-term success with contests or sweepstakes. In most cases, they don’t attract people who are passionate about your product. I think DMOs are best served by building campaigns around seasonal themes that support their TV, print and other (including social) efforts.

ETS: Has Facebook released any products that can be used by DMOs to enhance and assist them in preparing ROI reports for stakeholders and board members?
McCabe: We see some new models that are working well for CVBs and destinations in general.
Use Facebook Exchange to retarget your audience
Facebook Exchange (FBX) allows real-time bidding (RTB) on ad placement and retargeting. RTB lets advertisers bid in real-time on a specific ad impression rather than a larger group, allowing advertisers to show more relevant ads and run more effective campaigns. For instance, if a person is looking at a certain hotel on that hotel’s website, the next time they log into Facebook, that hotel’s ad can show up in the person’s News Feed (which is the most engaging part of Facebook).
Use Custom Audiences
 Custom Audiences allows marketers to find their current customers on Facebook and reach them with relevant ads. So, for example, if an airline has a database of the emails for the people who flew to Hawaii last Christmas, they can use Custom Audiences to reach that same group of people on Facebook and show them an ad on Facebook for a discounted rate to Hawaii this holiday season.

ETS: What other spin-off opportunities does this create?
McCabe: There’s now a new opportunity for co-branding by creating a new packaging offer with an airline or hotel partner that is more attractive. This information can be obtained through data-share agreements with airlines or from Sojern, Adara and other full service DSPs (Data Service Platforms) such as Bluekai or Triggit.

ETS: With the growing importance of “photography marketing,” how can travel brands use the Instagram platform more effectively i.e., is it feasible to market certain images to specific targets, etc.?
McCabe: While we’ve said that ads will come to Instagram within the next year, there are no marketing products on the platform at this time. That said, we’ve seen brands across all verticals effectively build engaged audiences on Instagram, and if you think about it, travel makes sense. Instagram is an aspirational platform focused on beautiful content. Look at what a brand like Starwood Hotels has started to build on Instagram and you can see the possibilities:

ETS: What are the biggest changes in the past year for those who are seeking organic engagement?
McCabe: Your ads should be great quality and relevant to your target audience. We work with brands that believe to “always live in beta” and “if it works, it’s obsolete.” It’s important to learn how to target the fans that are willing to engage and they may not be your friends. We have over 1.1 billion people on Facebook and you may now find people around the world, for example in Scotland who somehow love your product. It’s all about finding the people who matter.

ETS: Are any companies doing a good job of understanding your full targeting capabilities?
McCabe:   MGM Resorts has done an excellent job using Facebook to acquire new customers, convert them into guests, and ultimately brand loyalists. They have consistently seen returns on ad spend higher than 3X for each stage of the purchase.
Using products Custom Audiences and retargeting on Facebook Exchange, the brand has seen a positive return on ad spend
5X+ return on ad spend using custom audiences targeting its customers on Facebook
15X return on ad spend using Facebook Exchange

HotelTonight sought to acquire new customers who would download its last-minute hotel booking app and ultimately use it to book reservations.
To acquire users /app downloads

HotelTonight used Facebook’s granular targeting and two key products: the mobile app install ad and Facebook Offers.
10X higher click-to-install rate from the mobile app install ads, compared to standard mobile banner ads (between October and December 2012).
According to booking and registration data, 80% higher return on ad spend from Facebook Offers than average mobile advertising spend.

ETS: What is the spending threshold at Facebook’s travel vertical where they can receive live support?
McCabe: We aren’t able to share this information at this time.

ETS: One final question. Can you tell us what you plan to talk about at the E-Tourism Summit?
McCabe: My presentation will focus on customization and targeting for travel destinations and suppliers.

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Filed under Custom Audiences, DMOs, Facebook, Instagram