The other day while traveling in Australia, I heard a fascinating social media success story. I would suggest that those who still doubt whether social media has a legitimate role in the marketing of tourism businesses and destinations should speak with Sean Blocksidge. Sean operates the one-man Margaret River Discovery Company in Western Australia, which provides 4WD tours and canoeing along the region's famous river. After spending tens of thousands on traditional advertising, the tours were barely generating enough interest to continue operations. The Australian newspaper reports that Blocksidge was within five days of permanently closing the doors on his business.
Blocksidge recounted his story, "Somewhere along the way, three or four couples came out and wrote pretty nice reviews on TripAdvisor. I didn't understand the power of this thing. And then the algorithms behind it suddenly spun me up into the number one thing to do in Margaret River, and in Australia. That was it. The next morning, everything turned around. The phone and email went nuts and I've never looked back. Chock-a-block every day."
He added, "I'm surprised more people haven't figured out the potential for their business. And I wish they would. The more people that do it, the bigger our push to a global audience." The success of this one business highlights the benefits that can accrue for an entire destination by cleverly using the power of social media.