TrekAmerica Live is an exciting new on-line community platform set to revolutionise the use of on-line social media in the travel industry. Bringing America to life like never before, the combination of UGC and social media will deliver business objectives with a measurable ROI. Jenny Black, Marketing Manager at Trek America and Rob Sandbach from KMP Digitata explain the project.
To generate a significant increase in user registrations and a growth in on-line bookings.
TrekAmerica wanted to provide both current and potential Trekkers with a platform that met their needs. Highlighted scenarios by clients included, meeting others in their group before travelling, keeping in touch with friends and family whilst away as well as sharing photos and videos on return. With 15,000 fans on Facebook, there was not the functionality to adequately fulfil the above requirements of their Trekkers.
With an exceptional 99% referral rate from past passengers, this is an invaluable way of utilising past Trekkers as brand ambassadors for TrekAmerica. With methods of communication changing, TrekAmerica is acutely aware that peers are now much more influential over purchasing decisions in forums and blogs in comparison to traditional marketing.
TrekAmerica Live is a community platform designed to deliver four key benefits to the business; Fulfil requirements of existing clients, Increased cross-sell of tours, Accumulation of e-mail addresses of potential customers, To gather high quality imagery and video for use in promotions.
With over 15,000 Facebook fans, TrekAmerica started with a strong presence on the social media landscape. TrekAmerica approached KMP Digitata to scope and deliver the “next step” within social media. The proposed solution was designed to receive user generated content from people who are / have been on a Trek and presents the most interesting and valuable content to potential customers at the point of purchase.
Not just limited to the sharing of content, the platform encourages interaction between the two groups; making each and every customer a TrekAmerica advocate.
Fostering and encouraging this sharing of information is the key objective of this social media platform, with a view to dramatically increasing brand awareness and sales revenue. With a staggering 99% satisfaction rating, TrekAmerica is happy for past passengers to act as ambassadors for their brand.
TrekAmerica Live is making the “social” just as important as the “media”. This eclectic blend of user-generated content and social media has been designed to deliver very real business objectives. Alongside image, blog posts or video content about a trek, booking links and prices are featured to entice customers into a purchase. In addition and certain actions on site require signing up for data collection.
People trust recommendations from their peers more than a company’s sales pitch and TrekAmerica Live is perceived as an independent platform were people can find out more about what travelling with TrekAmerica is really like and see for themselves the fun people have.
Upon booking a TrekAmerica tour, each passenger receives a unique URL, linking them to their own individual Trekkers profile on TrekAmerica Live. This page is pre-populated with their details, along with an interactive map of the tour they have booked.
A user’s personal profile will allow passengers to upload photos and videos, write travel blogs, post comments to Facebook and send tweets whilst on the road with TrekAmerica. Travellers can invite friends and family to login to their profile and keep track of their progress on tour.
The interactive tour map will display exactly where they are on any particular day and will allow followers to find out more information about their exciting destinations. The media uploaded to the users profile and tour group is then used on the public part of the portal. As potential customers browse through tours and destinations, they are shown images, videos and blog posts of people actually on a trek.
Clients booked on a TrekAmerica trek can visit the platform to meet the other travellers on their trip six weeks prior to departure. Previously this was a cumbersome affair and now is an integrated part of the TrekAmerica Live experience. Trekkers can talk to their family and friends at home whilst they are away.
The interaction however is not one way as new customers can ask questions of veteran trekkers. A loyalty system rewards veteran trekkers with increased status on the site as well as discounts off future treks; so they’re encouraged to stick around and help people out.
TrekAmerica Live is used to gather user generated images, videos, blog posts and diary entries, tagging each piece of media to a specific destination and monitors its popularity (views, ratings, comments and place this in relevance of date order. As additional function users to vote for popularity of images and to which they wish to see.
The platform's best content is then bubbled to the most prominent pages which are visible to potential customers to excite and entice them into a booking Importantly TrekAmerica can now talk to its customers in a one on one personable way. Although TrekAmerica Live has a few significant benefits over Facebook (higher resolution images and video, fewer ads & the TrekPoints loyalty scheme), from a strategic level it was very important that we did not try to replace Facebook.
Many users are comfortable with using Facebook to communicate with their friends back home. To this end, TrekAmerica Live supports push/pull image exchange with a users Facebook account. Users can upload their media to either platform or vice versa. TrekAmerica Live can also push status updates into Facebook when a trekker reaches a new destination.
TrekAmerica Live was launched in July 2010 with relevant emails being sent to various sections of TrekAmerica’s database over a two week period. TrekAmerica Live will, however, be fully launched by the end of September with banners on the main branded website and an announcement on their Facebook fan page later this week. Jenny Black, says” We hope to see an increase in users as well as page views and are really excited about this new platform that has been created”.
Stats to date: Since launched on the 27 July to past and present trekkers
• 900 registered users
• 1958 photos uploaded
• 113’000 page views
• 12’100 total visits
Check out 12ahead, our brand new platform
covering the latest in cutting-edge digital marketing and creative technology from around the globe.
12ahead identifies emerging trends and helps
you to understand how they can apply to modern-day companies.
We believe 12ahead can put you and your
business 12 months ahead of the competition. Sign up for a free trial today.