Travellers' tales go viral
The use of social media as a sales and marketing tool has grown rapidly, especially among online travel agencies. Zuji Hong Kong has stepped up its Facebook campaigns, while Hotel.com has launched a campaign on the same site to enable people from different locations to jointly select and book rooms.
Zuji launched a Hotel Sudden Cash campaign, randomly 'bomb-dropping' a series of eVoucher codes, valued at HK$100 and a daily special HK$500, on its Facebook page over seven days, offering instant discounts on any hotel booking.
Earlier this year, the company launched a Chinese New Year Greetings for Zuji contest, asking its fans to 'visit' and 'greet' Zuji during the first seven days of Lunar New Year for a chance to win a ticket to Bangkok. This was followed by a campaign with Asiana Airlines to offer a free ticket to the United States via Korea to its Facebook fans through a photo-guessing and quiz contest, and an April Fools' Day game to give away a netbook computer.
'We don't see social media as just a platform to advertise, but a platform to engage both existing and potential customers and a place to incorporate inspiration, recommendations and discovery into the online consumer experience,' says Charlie Wong, general manager of loyalty programmes at Zuji Hong Kong.
He adds that the company has taken a strategic rather than tactical approach to enhance its social media presence, putting it on the right track for long-term brand and customer-relationship building.
'Our goal is to interact and engage with our customers and, more importantly, all travel fans.
'We not only share great travel deals with them, we also share interesting travel facts or stories, and create simple fun travel-related games.'
Meanwhile, Hotels.com has launched its new Hotels WithMe Facebook app, which allows people from different locations to collectively select and book a hotel.
Selected friends can be invited to join a 'trip', from where they can search for hotels together. 'Trip' members can perform a hotel search and show the results to other members who can pick any hotel they like and shortlist potential hotels that everyone can vote on.
All 'trip' members can also discuss the hotels using integrated chat. The app automatically keeps track of prices and the availability of hotels on the shortlist.
'Trip' members will be directed to the booking page once they agree on the hotel.