By: Yuni Suryati.
In the globalization era, development of information and technology has grown rapidly. Internet makes the distance no longer a problem in communication. According to the data published by internet live stats, the internet user in the world reaches about 3.5 billion by July 2016. Among 201 countries in the world, Indonesia ranks 12 with 53 million users. In term of information, the Internet has become the primary needs of all aspects of human life.
People will find information through various search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Msn, Bing, Hao123, etc. Internet become the medium for the flourishing of the modern way to communicate through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Tumblr, YouTube, and others. The favorite’s social media in Indonesia are Instagram and Facebook. Social media networking is engaging both social media producers and consumers.
Social media is useful for searching any kinds of information, including tourism aspects. The tourism industry is very much suited to social media. Social media exists to bring people together, therefore it has made a huge impact and wide-reaching effect on the tourism industry. Consumers can engage with social networking sites to research trips and organize informed decisions about their travels. They are going online to get reviews about hotels, destinations, travel deals and many other things before they take a travel decision. Website like TripAdvisor is getting hugely popular for people to talk about anything related to travel and tourism.
As producers, travelers will share their personal experiences of a particular hotel, restaurant or airline. Visitors are seeking out travel information and advice from the sources they trust the most. This style of user-generated content is seen by the online community as more credible and authentic. More than 800 million active users on Facebook posting updates and sharing images. Social media is dominating the tourism industry. Indonesia ranks fourth largest Facebook users after the USA, Brazil, and India.
Producers in social media networks will upload an article on the blog, photos on instagram, as well as videos on Youtube channel, and consumers will visit their social media channel to get more information.
Many tourism businesses have already identified this trend and are taking advantage of social media for their own marketing efforts. They have not only set up social media accounts, but they are actively interacting with customers and potential customers, working in building their online presence.
Several actions that can be done by the stakeholders to promote tourism industry through social media are:
First, designing a user friendly website by uploading an interesting videos and photos, giving an information about tourism destinations, hotels rates, transportation, tips for travelers, etc.
Second, building a good relationship with followers and partners and encouraging them to post a positive comment, writing articles about you, sharing your content and influencing others. They do this online on social media. In the tourism sector, word-of-mouth and getting impartial reviews is key to any business. This will help you in your marketing and brand awareness efforts.
Third, analyzing potential consumers and get to know about the gender, who they are, where they live, what they do, how many vacation days they have, as well as their social behaviors, therefore you can have a deeper understanding of your audience’s needs, issues and trends, which in turn can influence your marketing efforts.
Fourth, the tourism industry is a very competitive field. It is always a good idea to keep an eye out to see your competitors are doing. Social media is a great way of doing this, by visiting their pages and conducting specific searches based on their keywords. Keeping an eye on your competition is a good way to see what they are doing and to especially see what they are not doing. This can present you with great marketing opportunities.
To conclude, Indonesian tourism stakeholders, such as Ministry of Tourism, local government, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, and tourism destination sites, have carried out tourism promotion through social media, although they are also still using traditional media such as magazines, newspapers, television, billboards, brochures printing, etc. Looking ahead, the traditional promotion will be abandoned, because it is ineffective, inefficient, and expensive. Tourism stakeholders have to switch to the digital era and maximize the present of social media.