Adventure travel is a relatively new niche in the tourism industry and it’s not all that strictly defined. “Adventure” means different things to different people whether it’s rappelling down a sheer cliff face or simply traveling to a previously-unexplored country. A few brands are taking advantage of the endless opportunities provided by social media within the adventure travel industry and are continuously finding new ways to inspire and engage customers. Here’s a look at seven travel companies who have the social media thing down…
Sweden’s widely known for its seafood and its hard-to-assemble furniture, but did you know that Swedenoffers boundless opportunities for adventure travel? This has never been more apparent than when the country’s official visitors bureau handed over the “keys” to the @Sweden Twitter account to ordinary Swedes – from an unemployed welder to several outdoor-adventure enthusiasts. The “Curators of Sweden” get to man Sweden’s Twitter account for one week at a time, posting pictures, re-Tweeting – anything that entices tourists. Oh, and that Twitter account? It’s got almost 70,000 followers.
David’s Been Here
David Hoffmann began his YouTube Channel, David’s Been Here, back in 2007 and has been traveling exclusively ever since. Twice a week, David posts informational first-hand videos on his channel to give the masses a taste of off-the-beaten-path travel, and it’s working. Aside from travel, David now makes a business out of selling guidebooks, digital media, and customized tour itineraries to viewers who love his style. The YouTube channel has almost 5,000,000 page views and 16,000 followers and David’s active on Twitter and Facebook, too.
iExplore Adventure Travel
Based in Chicago, iExplore is a relatively large adventure and luxury travel company. They were one of the earliest adopters in the industry of Pinterest, perfect for travel photos, and they’ve got a really robust account with tons of pics to peruse. What are they doing right? They’re using professional photos for their boards which make their pictures stand out among the cluttered Pinterest landscape. A few of their boards including “Beautiful Places” and “Places to Visit Before You Die” have literally tens of thousands of followers.
GoPro is paving the way for adventure traveler-sourced content. The insanely popular mountable HD camera (a perfect fit for extreme adventurists) means hours of gorgeously-recorded footage suitable for promotion by the brand. And who doesn’t want to see their travel video on display? GoPro has these user generated videos everywhere: YouTube, Facebook, and on their own website, and they’ve got a sizeable Instagram community too. With over 7 million likes on Facebook, they’re doing something right.
Wait a minute…is Amtrak really an adventure travel brand? It’s all in how you look at it! For some people there’s no greater adventure than riding the rails from state to state and writers in particular love the romantic nostalgia of train travel. That’s why Amtrak has recently announced a writer’s residency program in which they’ll be providing free trips for up to 24 writers who can use their train adventure for inspiration, to relax, or just to ponder the mysteries of the universe. Of course, Amtrak’s banking on these trips being a big hit on social media (the idea came about when an obscure NYC writer Tweeted the thought) and so far they are. Twitter’s the hub for # AmtrakResidency and there are already thousands upon thousands of mentions from perspective residents.
Get Going is competing in the highly-competitive online travel space but they’ve got a new idea. Their “Pick Two, Get One” program is just risky enough to attract thousands of potential travelers who want to try their hand at a “random” trip. Users whittle down a larger list of trips they want to take to the two most enticing…then GetGoing.com does the rest. Travelers don’t know where they’re actually going until the trip’s booked so there’s an element of surprise. Get Going is pushing the #PickTwoGetOne hashtag hard on Twitter and they’ve already got over 35,000 likes on Facebook which is highly impressive for a new brand.
Contiki’s a brand that’s always appealed to a younger, more adventurous demographic and their last big social media campaign was a winner. Called “Get on the Bus,” the promotion asked potential travelers to create their own virtual “bus” and choose from one of 8 pre-selected Contiki destinations, providing a bus name and even a backstory. Then they were asked to invite up to eight Facebook friends to “ride” on the bus with them, increasing Contiki’s reach and expanding brand recognition among the coveted 18-24 demographic. The most-liked buses were awarded free trips and the contest was such a success the site was temporarily overloaded.
Adventure travel makes for a more relaxed, less polished social media presence among brands which seems to be something customers really respond to. Traveling is no longer driven by guidebooks and travel agents but rather by apps and crowdsourced reviews!