Organization – Brewster Travel Canada
Industry – Travel and Tourism
Contact – Mark Hendrikse, Director of Marketing for Brewster Travel Canada
Web Sources – Brewster Travel, Facebook, Instagram
Brewster Travel Canada has been providing amazing natural experiences to guests of the Canadian Rocky mountains since 1892. Starting with two young Brewster brothers providing guided excursions in the Rocky Mountain national parks and now a leading travel and tourism provider in Canada. Brewster owns and operates four of the largest attractions in the Rocky Mountains; the Banff Gondola, Banff Lake Cruise, Glacier Adventure and the all new Glacier Skywalk. They also own 3 hotels and two transportation companies.
With such an exhilarating attractions in such a remote region of the country Brewster needs to express the excitement of their attractions through various media sources and depends on social media communications stay connected with their customers. You might say their future depends on it.
When Social media originated it was new and exciting and though social media isn’t new anymore, it is used by over a billion users collectively and offers the excitement of content sharing to it’s users while its reach continues to grow rapidly.
As business adopts social media and incorporates it into their marketing initiatives more value is placed on it’s use and as such provides the most recognized opportunities for a company to connect with existing or potential customers. In turn consumers understand the influence it puts in their hands and the value business are placing on that power.
As travel experiences go, when a traveler is excited about a vacation experience they often want to share their experience with their family and friends through social media. Adversely when they are disappointed in a service whether it be an airline, a hotel etc. they are likely to use social media to express their dissatisfaction potentially discrediting a brands reputation.
Either way companies like Brewster Travel are embracing social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn engage, promote, listen and learn from their customers.
I contacted Mark Hendrikse, Director of Marketing for Brewster Travel Canada who shared details about their social media marketing, “we currently employ 2 full-time staff to handle 100-120 social media updates we post monthly in addition to the active sharing, guest content and requests that come in. The majority of our engagement comes via Facebook and Instagram.”
Mark goes on to say “I think social media from a marketing communications perspective works best when the product supports a larger experience and there is a symbiotic relation between the experience and the product. When you go to the top of a mountain, our customers want to capture and share it.”
They classify their customer engagement in different groups. They provide tactical, time sensitive communications like deals and promotions, closure notices due to weather issues. They also have engagement communications providing more information on how to get more out of the Rockies with their full product offering more specific to being in the Rockies plus knowledge and engagement about destinations to acquire content that showcases interest around their whole product experience.
Their biggest engagement plays is based on inspiration and the human element. Sharing the emotion of the experiences at their attractions. For example someone from Miami who comes to the Rockies for the first time and takes a selfie from the top of a mountain and posts it inspires people to want the same experience. Additionally Brewster is seeing increased growth in customer service requests coming through social media instead of their 800 number. “People are reaching out to find out if their dog can get on the Gondola, our hours of operation as well as handicap accessibility,” Mark explains. Considering the automation of business phone lines today, I suspect customers are likely to get a quicker answer through social media. As this increases they are more likely to hire additional social media focused staff in the future.
Mark still feels there is so much more they can and will do with social engagement for instance he suggest, “I would like more team members out capturing our own content and becoming more engaged with the people, focusing and sharing experiences at the attractions of our brand.”
With the platforms of social media growing so quickly and the options of use continually changing it’s hard not to wonder what will come next and how social media will evolve. What new ways will we use social media engage customers, capture our attention, hat continue to affect and add value to our everyday lives?
Lessons for others
Travel companies need to attract and reach a broader audience across the world and advertising all over the world wuld be a costly endeavor so the future of social media will play an integral role in regionally based travel companies like Brewster.
The quicker travel companies adopt and integrate social media with their core marketing strategy, the quicker they will transform their online efforts from an expense to an investment.
Submitted by: SCapling , University of Waterloo
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