What exactly is a brand advocate? Webopedia.com defines one as a person or customer who talks favorably about a brand or product, and then passes word-of-mouth messaging about the brand to other people. This could also include sharing praise of a brand on their social media channels.

Because 92% of consumers trust brand advocates, it’s a good idea to start cultivating this kind of consumer to help you promote your destination. Before finalizing your travel destination marketing strategy, consider implementing these tips to nurture current customers into brand advocates for your destination.

Identify loyal return customers

You first want to find out which visitors of your destination are most likely to return. This can be done by administering surveys while visitors are both still on site and upon their return home. Tracking customers’ return visits will also generate a list of loyal return customers.

Locate potential social influencers

Social influencers are those people who have an established voice on their platform with plentiful followers, whether it’s a blog or various social media networks. A travel blogger or instagrammer who often travels the world and documents their journeys are great examples of social influencers who would also be great brand advocates for your destination. You want their social brand to complement yours and vice versa so it’s a win-win for both parties.

Focus on customer service

This sounds like a given, as all companies who have customers should focus on customer service. Creating happy customers by offering free upgrades as well as turndown and welcome gifts is a simple way to foster an environment for them to share their positive experience with their network of family, friends and colleagues.

Incent Referrals

Providing visitors with incentive to refer your destination to others is another tactic to create loyal brand advocates. A referral program such as “25% off your next stay or complimentary gift basket when you refer a friend” will provide another avenue for customers to sing your praises while allowing you to gain the attention of potential visitors.

Follow Up

After your visitors return from your destination, be sure to stay in touch. You can follow up with them by gifting promotional items and asking them to tag your destination’s social channels when they post about their recent vacation. Additionally, asking for testimonials from particularly enthusiastic customers will further enhance your credibility.

Brand advocates help create personal connections between your destination and potential visitors while being a low-cost, high return marketing strategy. Their seal of approval can boost your destination’s profile and ultimately increase positive brand association. Keep them engaged and you will likely attract additional brand advocates down the road.

Advance Travel and Tourism can help you build a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Want to learn more? Contact a marketing specialist today.