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Facebook money-grab will boost rise in ‘owned’ online media in travel industry

Travel industry marketers need to be aware of the alarming changes underway at Facebook as it limits organic distribution in favour of paid-for posts.

Due to changes at Facebook, less than 4% of your company’s fans are now likely to see your company’s news and updates on Facebook. The change in strategy means that Facebook is diminishing your organic reach in favour of paid advertising. It is therefore time for tourism promotion bodies to start building their own online assets – and not acting as tenants without rights on Facebook.
That’s the recommendation in my blog, “Are Tourism Websites Suffering at The Expense of Time Spent on Social Media?”
What many in the travel industry did not understand was that we were effectively acting as a tenant on rented space not a freeholder. The landlord could come along at anytime and increase the rent or start charging you for amenities. And if you can’t afford the increase, you might have to move out, use less space or have fewer amenities.
At first, entry costs were low (or non existent) for social media and impact was high.

Facebook, for one, provided an easy and quick way to build a tourism brand and a following online. With tourism being a cash-poor sector, Facebook was a panacea. But with posts now reaching as few as 4% of a company’s Facebook fans it’s time for tourism entities to diversify away from Facebook and build an online presence that tourism bodies own and fully control.

Destinations and tourism entities should now do four things: 1) create informative, inspirational websites with images, videos and the right tone of voice 2) create content that helps customers at every stage of the path to purchase 3) make it easy for customers to book on your website, and 4) create their own database that they can own and control.
We still need to promote blogs and videos through social media. But just don’t build your entire marketing strategy on a platform that can suddenly be beyond your financial reach, says White. There are plenty of free or cheap alternatives to Facebook, such as Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
It is time to move out of your rented space, get your own place and focus on building your own online real estate portfolio. Once you have done that, add to it on a regular basis, renovate occasionally to freshen up and regularly promote your hard work.


Bronwyn White is co-founder of is a market research and marketing firm specializing in the travel, tourism and aviation industries. Its specialty is providing insights that are actionable.
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