Painlessly Prospecting for New Travelers to Grow Your Travel Brand

A lot can happen in 60 seconds. Every minute of the day, Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content. Twitter users tweet 277 thousand times, Google receives over 4 million search queries, and YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video. That’s a whole lot of new content in just one minute.

tommartinThe competition for travelers’ attention, especially repeat attention, is incredibly high and growing literally by the minute. That’s why it is so imperative to establish a digital footprint that extends far beyond your own corporate website or blog. The key to winning the Invisible Sale is to create propinquity — or the opportunity for repeated interactions— between you and an unqualified traveler. In the buzz of all that content being created, you have to make sure your a prospective is seeing your brand.

The art of generating helpful, relevant content that is strategically dispersed throughout the websites and social networks favored by your today’s digital planning travelers is creating what I call your Painless Prospecting platform. As your unqualified prospects move through your platform and run into you and your content repeatedly, they begin to qualify themselves through their actions and interactions with you and your content.

As you set about establishing Painless Prospecting platform, there are three legs you’ll need to focus on:

1) Home Base

Everything you do online and offline is designed to drive prospects to your Home Base. Your Home Base needs to be a website, a blog, or both. If your company has multiple brands, you might have multiple Home Bases. Regardless, your goal is to always drive prospects back to your Home Base, where you can use your content and tracking technology to qualify prospects and drive them down the appropriate sales funnel.

The single most important thing to think about when crafting your home base is how well it functions. In your website, you want to create a funnel-optimized, mobile friendly, qualified lead-generation machine that is committed to achieving only one goal: the constant creation and qualification of convertible leads for your brand.

2) Outposts

In the simplest terms, an outpost is a place where you and your content show up from time to time and where your prospects congregate. A good example is submitting a guest post on a popular travel blog, authoring an article for a magazine or some kind of review penned by an influential travel blogger. You create and post the content there, but you’re not investing a lot of time in doing so because your goal is to generate awareness. You’re trying to leverage the platform owner’s audience to create awareness of you and your product or service, and give prospects a simple way to follow you back to your Home Base.

3) Embassies

Similar to outposts, embassies are places where you find and interact with prospective guests, but in a much deeper and engaged manner—embassies are where you’ll plant a flag and plan to spend a good amount of time interacting with the people you find there. Embassies are the place you’re going to meet people, introduce people to one another, and get introduced to people.

Unlike outposts, effective embassy management requires plenty of work and a hefty time investment on your part. But that effort should translate into significant value in the form of new leads, reputation enhancement, or opportunities to connect with resources that enhance your ability to grow visitor usage of your brand or destination. You’ll have only a few embassies in your platform, so you need to select them strategically to maximize the effectiveness of your prospecting platform.

Your Ever-Changing Prospecting Platform

Keep in mind that your prospecting platform is not a static digital footprint. It ebbs and flows as you, or your company, emphasize different products or services. As you move in new directions or target new audiences, any propinquity point can vacillate between serving as an outpost or acting as an embassy. This might be due to a change in your strategy, a changing business climate, or just a realization that a particular propinquity point is under- or over-delivering based on your current effort level.

As you embark on this journey to build your own Painless Prospecting platform, know that you will make mistakes along the way. Failures will occur. Platforms or outposts will end up not making sense or not generating a big enough return on your time and investment to justify continued involvement. That’s okay. Failure is the price of learning. The key is to fail small while simultaneously setting yourself up to win big.

For more information on creating a painless prospecting platform for your own company, join me at TBEX Europe in Athens when I’ll present Propinquity: Leveraging the Secret Science of Relationship Formation to Grow Your Sales on Friday, October 24th at 10:45am or pick up a copy of The Invisible Sale.

Author Bio:  Tom Martin is a no nonsense, straight-talking 20-year veteran of the advertising and marketing business who favors stiff drinks, good debates and helping travel brands grow their businesses. As an internationally recognized digital marketing keynote speaker, blogger, founder of Converse Digital, and Author of The Invisible Sale, Tom marries his two passions, marketing & technology, to teach companies how to leverage digital marketing channels to achieve and sustain sales growth, enhance brand perception and painlessly prospect for new customers. Follow him on Twitter at @TomMartin.

 

Utilizing Instagram Video to Enhance Your Culinary Content

 

Editor’s Note:  You may have spotted Andrew at TBEX in Toronto when he presented a talk entitled “A Taste of Place: Defining a Destination Through Its Food Culture.” Andrew follows up with his return to TBEX Athens via “How to Monetize Your Culinary Content.” 

When I spoke at TBEX in Toronto the last few slides of my presentation focused on highlighting brands I had worked with in the past to enhance my culinary content. What I found most interesting is that during the Q & A (as well as numerous private chats which took place throughout the conference) bloggers and PR pros were most keen to learn more about this facet of my work.

In many ways my presentation at TBEX Athens is a “Part 2” to my culinary tourism presentation in Toronto and specifically offers intermediate/advanced level bloggers a look into branded storytelling with a culinary twist. I’ll be using a case study approach to highlight four of my favourite collaborations, each brand representing a different industry: Canada Beef Inc (agriculture), Canon Cameras (tech), Pilsner Urquell (beverage) and Rough Guides (publishing).

Today I wanted to highlight an aspect of my work that I won’t have an opportunity to discuss during my session at Athens: utilizing instagram video to enhance your culinary content. I embed instagram video into all of my destination guides online and also use the online media platform for stories I write for Metro Newspaper Canada. These quick 15 second videos offer readers an audio visual glimpse into a particular event or experience which adds value to the copy and pictures you’ve provided, the heart of your story.

I currently use an iPhone 5S to shoot, and typically film anywhere from 10-15 video clips during a particular event. Once home I edit my video together using Cute CUT App, exporting to my Camera Roll as one file. I then upload to instagram and share via Twitter, Facebook and my blog. Here are three recent examples of how I’ve worked with beverage brands to highlight a food and drink experience.

Stoli Vodka at World Pride

This past June Toronto was the host of World Pride. I was thrilled to act as the Latvian-based vodka producers ambassador at the festival and produced a sponsored story for the brand, Rainbow High at World Pride Toronto. Stoli hosted an opening night party for the festival at Pravda Vodka Bar featuring a VIP Stoli cocktail party featuring table-top dancing and live Russian band.

Grolsch at the Toronto International Film Festival

Each September I acted as Metro Newspaper Canada’s reporter at the Toronto International Film Festival. Grolsch is the official beer sponsor of the festival and each year the beer brand hosts a fabulous al fresco concert series in the heart of TIFF-town. Beer fans gather for a string of free concerts while mix and mingling through art installations. The brands iconic green bottles with spring cap are served up ice cold at the bar.

Pilsner Urquell at Taste of Toronto

Pilsner Urquell was the official beer sponsor for this summers inaugural Taste of Toronto, which was hosted at historic Fort York in July. I traveled with the beer brand last Fall to Czech Republic and wrote a story for the Vancouver Sun, “Beer Tour: From Pilsen to Prague.”

Pilsner Urquell hosted a special Keepers of the Craft session for VIPs on the Saturday of the festival. Chef Grant Van Gameren at Bar Isabel was recently awarded Canada’s Best New Restaurant by Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine and spent the afternoon inspiring his eager audience to produce the perfect Spanish pintxo.

 

Author bio:  Andrew Dobson is a full time travel writer who has visited over 60 countries. He regularly finds himself on the road visiting two to three destinations a month. Based in Toronto, he manages his blog dobbernationLOVES full time while also regularly contributing to Metro Newspaper Canada, XTRA Newspaper, The Vancouver Sun and Eat In Eat Out Magazine. 
Andrew is known as an expert in branded storytelling working as an ambassador for brands such as Canada Beef, Canon, Rough Guides, DK Eyewitness Travel, Stoli Vodka, Pilsner Urquell and Ford. His blog was acquired by Metro Newspaper in February 2014.

 

Responsible Travel Expert Dr. Martha Honey to Keynote at TBEX Cancun

Dr. Martha Honey, a preeminent expert on responsible/sustainable travel and eco-tourism, will be the opening Keynote Speaker at TBEX Cancun.

mhheadshot11110.bestDr. Honey is the co-founder and Director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), and heads up the Washington, D.C. office. She has written and lectured widely on ecotourism, Travelers’ Philanthropy, cruise/resort tourism, and certification issues. She is currently writing her third book, looking at coastal and cruise tourism (Selling Sunshine, Island Press, 2015).

Before founding CREST, Dr. Honey spent 20 years as a journalist in East Africa and Central America. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She was Executive Director of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) from 2003-2006, and named one of world’s top 10 eco/sustainable-travel “watchdogs” (CondeNast Traveler, 2008).

We’re looking forward to kicking off TBEX Cancun with a discussion about the issues of responsible/sustainable tourism with Dr Honey, who is not only an expert in the field, but as someone who brings the journalist’s eye to the issues.

The keynote format will feature a presentation by Dr. Honey, followed by an interview conducted by Bret Love of Green Global Travel, who specializes in eco-tourism related issues. There will be time for audience questions and answers.

We hope you’ll join us for this informative keynote as we discuss the issues of the day in responsible/sustainable tourism and the role of the tourism industry, travel consumers, and the media.