From 5th to 21st of August 2016, a major international multi-sport event in the tradition of the Olympic Games due to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As most people know the Olympic Games is one of the biggest global events, this year more than 11,000 athletes from 207 National Olympic Committees took part. The chance for a tour operator to increase brand awareness, set up Olympic Game related tours and get involved in the customer experience. Nonetheless, Neckermann Belgium has not related one post, in that period of time, to this major global event. They completely missed out on the opportunity to show their online involvement in what is actually happening in the world. On the opposite one of the major online tour operators, booking.com, grabbed the opportunity with both hands and throughout the month August they showed clear involvement in Rio 2016 (see comparison below).
Source: Neckermann Belgium, August 15, 2016 and Booking.com, August 21, 2016, both via Facebook
This is one of the main reasons why Event Driven Marketing is so important for tour operators. Event Driven Marketing (EDM) is a discipline within marketing, where commercial and communications activities are based upon relevant and identified changes in a customer’s individual needs’ (E.J. van Bel). EDM consists out of four type of events; singular, recurring, interactive and anticipative. The most relevant for tour operators are the long term events with either a low or high predictability; recurring and anticipative. Recurring can for example be the Olympic Games, European football competitions, these are events that happen on a frequent basis. Secondly, the anticipative events are low in terms of predictability and can for example be natural disasters or sudden political changes.
The involvement of your tour operator in global events will contribute to an increasing brand awareness. Getting your company involved in things such as the Olympic Games via social media platforms can work wonders in terms of helping potential customers become more familiar with everything your brand represents. In a positive way they will feel more connected to your tour operator as they can relate to you on a personal level. Handling a strong social media presence is an efficient way to build your company’s reputation and showcase your tour operator. By regularly updating your prospects on social happenings, they subconsciously start to view your company as an authority. (Angelova, V. 2013) By showing social capabilities it will grow awareness of your tour operator as a brand and of your products.
Showing online involvement in global events will not only increase brand awareness but also increase customer engagement. Simply because customers feel emotionally connected to the things your tour operator shares online. An emotional connection with your prospects will vouch for your positive tour operator reputation. Event Driven Marketing is a very powerful branding force, and social media offers exactly this kind of relationship-building opportunity that is virtually limitless. From a marketing perspective, it delivers a massive opportunity for tour operators to increase the amount of engaged customers.
Social networks know that users value an informative, engaging, and visually-stimulating experience. Status updates that show a tour operator is aware of global events and actively anticipating its social media strategy on that will make a significant impact on the level customers engage with a tour operator.
Angelova, V. September 2, 2013. 7 Reasons Why Social Media is an Absolute Must for Business Branding. Accessed October 7th, 2016, via [ <http://www.likeable.com/blog/2013/09/7-reasons-why-social-media-is-an-absolute-must-for-business-branding> ]
Booking.com (August 21, 2016). In Facebook Booking.com. Retrieved October 7, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/bookingcom/
Neckermann Belgium (August 15, 2016). In Facebook Neckermann Belgium. Retrieved October 7, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=neckermann%20belgium
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. Part IV Marketing. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management (Vol. 2, pp. 100-110). United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
Sahasrabuddhe, A. February 19, 2015. Why the future of tour operating could rest with the smartphone. Accessed October 7, 2016, via [ < https://www.tnooz.com/article/tour-operators-embrace-app-technology/> ]