Using Twitter’s “Flock to Unlock” Feature

Using Twitter as a way to connect with readers is not something new for travel news sources. However, social networks are ever changing, constantly adding new tools and features.

For instance, Twitter has a “Flock to Unlock” feature that helps Twitter users to gain widespread interaction with other Twitter users through the offering of incentives. Companies and brands most often utilize this tool in order to grab the attention of Twitter users by presenting a reward in exchange for retweets, follows, or favorites.

According to Tnooz, Expedia Media Solutions partnered with The Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC), to launch a “unique campaign” using the “Flock to Unlock” Twitter feature. They asked Twitter users to tweet and retweet the #VanGogh2015 hashtag, where they would earn “brush strokes” that revealed six of Van Gogh’s famous works of art. Six lucky Twitter users would receive a trip to the Netherlands.

VanGogh2015

NBTC wanted to boost tourism to the birthplace of Vincent Van Gogh and areas associated with hi life, in celebration of 125 years of this famous Dutch painter’s work. By partnering with Expedia Media Solutions, the six-week social media campaign #VanGogh2015 engaged with a diverse audience and sparked interest in Van Gogh’s life and work.

In the end, the campaign reached 2.2 million Twitter impressions and interacted with over 22,000 Twitter users. Although achieving that level of success is not an easy feat, it worked extremely well for the travel brand Expedia, so it may have great potential for travel news sources. Reaching Twitter users, especially those who are already followers, in this manner could be an excellent way for the media to become better engaged with their readers.

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Shared Scenes Spotlight – National Geographic

National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog has been interacting with their Twitter followers by asking users to share any fun and interesting travel trivia that they’ve come across in their journeys.

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By using the hashtag #StrangePlanet, readers can interact with National Geographic by sharing interesting travel facts. National Geographic picks the top 5 tweets with the most interesting trivia and writes an article about it on their Intelligent Travel blog.

NatGeo trivia

What a creative way for a travel news source to engage with their readers!

Sharing Scenes Spotlight – Matador

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Since I’ve been discussing the use of video for travel journalism is my past few posts, I thought it’d be fitting to feature a travel news source that is doing this well. Matador is “the world’s largest independent travel publisher” that actively posts fun video voyages on their YouTube channel.

They post travel videos ranging from reasons to visit specific destinations to amusing sightings while traveling, such as “Man runs 2 miles in flippers wearing a scuba mask.” They even have numerous series, including their skiing adventure videos called “Shredding Power.”

Matador YouTube

A popular video of theirs that is currently featured on their channel is “Exploring Palawan’s Perfect Beaches from the Air,” which has accrued more than 370,000 views.

Way to go Matador, keep on taping your trips and we’ll keep on watching!

Meerkat: The Next Big App for Travel News Sources

In my most recent post, I talked about how video can enhance travel news reporting. Now I’d like to highlight a new social app that can take video sharing one step further for travel news sources.

The app is called “Meerkat,” and it allows users to live-stream video feeds through their Twitter accounts. According to Skift, the app’s popularity has only been growing since its launch in late February. It has been downloaded over 30,000 times!

Meerkat

Meerkat is a new social app that allows users to make in-the-moment live-stream videos.

Many brands have already began using Meerkat for instantaneous video feeds, such as JCPenney and Starbucks, but its potential for travel news outlets is hard to ignore. The use of this app can bring in-the-moment travel videos to life. Since the videos don’t last, they can also serve as exclusive teasers for their Twitter followers. This way authors can get readers excited about travel articles to come. They can post a full YouTube video with the article that fully highlights the awesome travel clips.

Do you have Meerkat? How would you use it for travel news purposes?

Tape Your Trip

As with any type of writing, it’s easier to understand what a writer is trying to describe when there is a supporting visual. Travel media is even more fueled by this because of how experience-focused the content has to be. Generally speaking, visuals complete the story.

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Videos can enhance the content that travel news sources post.

But as cool as images can be, wouldn’t it be awesome if authors took it a step further and added video content to their travel news stories? After all, most digital news outlets are beginning to share more and more videos with their written content posted online. For instance, the Travel Channel shares segments from their show, Breaking Borders, on their YouTube account for viewers to watch, such as their clip about Egypt.

Just like the Travel Channel does their clips, when filming journeys, it doesn’t have to be one long video of one activity on the trip. The story can be easily told by collecting various clips. This way the video can serve as a summary of the trip, almost like a travel scrapbook in videos.

What do you guys think, would you be interested in seeing video clips from travel news outlets? Have you ever filmed your own travels?

Bringing Quizzes to Travel Media

It’s impossible to ignore the latest trend of viral quizzes. They’re all over the Internet, especially on social media networks. Buzzfeed pioneered this trend and is now known for their popular, fun, random, and short quizzes. However, it’s also worth noting that these quizzes are a great way to drive traffic to a website.

Travel Quiz

How cool would it be for travel media outlets to create and share quizzes? It would be an excellent way for journalists to gain insights and content ideas directly from their readers. Quizzes could be something as simple as matching a person’s personality with a travel destination. Once consumers have it in their mind that they should go to a place, they may be more likely to read other content on the travel media outlet’s site about that destination with which they were matched.

Furthermore, people love sharing their quiz results on social media, so it’d also be a fantastic opportunity for the travel media outlets to get more exposure. Metro.us did a psychology study that discovered that these viral quizzes welcome an “open dialogue.” Engagement with readers is always a plus, but these quizzes are a fun way to get involved with consumers.

What do you think? Would you take travel quizzes?

Sharing Scenes Spotlight: Lonely Planet

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To go along with my recent post about using Pinterest for travel news, I thought it’d be great to celebrate one of the travel media brands that is using this site. Lonely Planet’s Pinterest profile is active and engaging with their over 700,000 followers.

Lonely Planet Pinterest

They have a boards for various countries, featuring gorgeous images that connect to all of their blog’s content. They also create boards highlighting ideal places to travel to for each month. They even include some other fun boards of pins that are commonly shared on Pinterest, such as inspirational travel quotes and gifts for travelers.  This is a fantastic way for the Lonely Planet brand to connect with their audience in an interactive forum. Other travel media outlets, take notes!

What Did They Say about Us?

Thus far, I’ve only discussed how important travel reviews are to consumers, but I haven’t mentioned how essential they are to companies within the travel industry. Reviews give these businesses insight into how people view their brand, service, and accommodations.

Reviews

Travel reviews are useful to more people than just consumers.

According to Tnooz, 60% of businesses within the travel industry read reviews as soon as they are posted and only 6% of businesses say that travel reviews do not have a positive impact on the industry. This immediacy and overwhelming readership among businesspeople shows just how crucial people’s opinions are to these companies.

When travel news outlets publish review pieces, another segment of their audience is the companies that they mention. Of course, this should in no way change the content of the article, but it’s interesting to realize that there’s a whole other group of people other than the consumers themselves that value travel reviews.

Using Pinterest for Travel News

I think we can all agree how important images are to travel media. They’re an essential piece of the story because they bring travel experiences to life. I’ve mentioned travel news outlets that use Instagram to showcase their images, but Pinterest is also a great forum to feature images on.

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With over 70 million users, Pinterest is a booming social media network. There are thousands of “travel” themed boards created by users on Pinterest, so the audience for travel media outlets is there. Also, Pinterest users usually spend time on the site in order to find inspiration, so it would be a great place to connect readers with travel news and reviews.

A few travel media brands have already caught on, such as Travel + Leisure, Travel Channel, Condé Nast Traveler, and The Lonely Planet. However, in order to be successful it’s important to be an active user and to interact with other pinners often. When travel news outlets share their content regularly on Pinterest, people will be more likely to rely on them.

Do you agree, is Pinterest the place for travel media outlets to share their content?

Sharing Scenes Spotlight: Travel Channel

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The world is a huge place. Even the most prolific travelers cannot claim that they have seen everything there is to see on planet earth. That’s why the Travel Channel is doing the best they can to make it possible for all of us to see the entire world in all its splendor. Everyday this news outlet features a “Daily Escape” tweet on their Twitter account that includes a picture of some faraway land or close to home havens:

Travel Channel Tweet 1 Travel Channel Tweet 2 Travel Channel Tweet 3

What better way to brighten your readers’ day by sharing a new destination every morning? Another great thing about these posts is that we know they’ll never have to come to an end. Keep on sharing the goods with us Travel Channel.