Here is an intriguing idea from a US company to motivate travel agents around the world to start using social media channels and create their own blogs.
The project, by Go Performance Marketing, backers of ReviewResorts marketing service, has lofty ideals but is primarily aimed at getting agents to market their talents and knowledge through channels such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as producing their own content.
Central to the idea, known as the Travel Blog Project, is a 100-day initiative where agents signed up to the programme are given tips each day about what they can do to raise their profile and showcase what they can do.
The scheme is aimed at three types of agents - the supposed "web marketing newbies" that know the marketplace but are unsure how to use online channels; those that need "structure" to use social media channels; or agents requiring "creativity" to communicate their message in a better way.
Here is an example, according to the project website, if how it might work:
Mondays: We will "Tell" about the travel experience. We will post one or two paragraphs on our Blogs about travel stories, destination knowledge, insight and experiences, best places to eat, things to do and more. Posts will be written around the posting theme of the day.Tuesdays: We will set up a week's worth of "timed" Tweets on Twitter that will automatically fire off two or three times a day promoting our blog. The Tweets will be our insight, opinion and experience about our travel niche.Wednesdays: Wednesdays we will "Sell" by posting special travel offers and packages on our Blogs. The packages may be a good deal, a group departure, a new ship or hotel. Whatever you want to sell. Creativity is good, but something within your niche.Thursdays: We will promote on our Facebook fan pages. We will post a small snippet and a picture. We will also become a Facebook fan of 5 other blog project participants by clicking on the "like" button on their Facebook fan pages.Fridays: Follow-Fridays! We will promote our blogs together by posting comments on one or two other Blog Project participants' blog. We will find a post that we think is interesting or insightful and leave a comment. Then we will create three or four sentences on our own blogs discussing the other blogger's post and include a link in our post that points to the other participant's blog. This will create a large web of linked blog sites that will raise the profile and ranking of all involved. It will also provide a bit of an incentive to craft interesting and engaging articles so fellow bloggers might comment. The end result will be web of inter-linked online marketing that will us much stronger as a unit than individually.
Once up and running, with help given to create blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter profiles, participating agents will be sent a daily email with tips and guidelines on what they can do each day.
The free initiative is hoping to get at least 100 travel agents involved, with founder George Oberle claiming the idea is sorely needed as the travel agent sector faces a "turning point".
"Suppliers are questioning the power of travel agents to adapt to new online marketing channels in the effort to generate sales. Yet, travel agents have an incredible opportunity to sell 'better travel' simply by telling their story consistently through posting on their blogs, social media sites and sending bi-monthly email campaigns."