When you think of Chile, what comes to your mind? No, no politics please! Think again. Yes, earthquakes, and the rescue of 33 miners in 2010.
Here is something you probably do not know: Despite Chile being an attractive travel destination, when Eduardo Aresti joined Chile’s Destination Marketing Organisation Sernatur as new manager for digital strategy last year, Chile still had no official travel online presence. This has changed.
Being Austro-Chilean (my grandfather was an adventurer – or migrant – from Austria who settled in Chile), I am happy to present this interview with Eduardo about Chile.travel and Sernatur‘s social media strategy.
Eduardo, how did Sernatur go about their new online strategy?
Our strategy is based in the POST methodology suggested by Josh Bernoff. It is a systematic approach to social strategy in which people, that is to say our audience and their behavior are the most important aspect, followed by our objectives, strategy and finally our technological approach to the previous mentioned factors.
How many people are involved in managing Chile’s Social Media strategy?
Our team is lead by a head of Social Media Strategy, which is supported by the entire organization. Everyone in the organization knows that Social Media channels are a key aspect for providing the best customer service we can achieve. Currently there are three full time employees that support this activity.
Do you answer requests around the clock?
We try to answer every question as soon as possible, however sometimes it is not possible as some questions are not necessarily easy to answer and we need the support of other members of the organization. We are working and preparing our organization so that in the future we will be able to attend our customers online, as soon as they have a question.
Do you regard these channels as additional channels for promotion or do you actively approach and service travellers?
Absolutely. We regard Social Media as two and even three-way channels. We are constantly broadcasting, answering and even listening to those who are not speaking directly to us. In this last case if we see that our interaction can add value, we interact.
Chile.travel reacts to requests, and I am sure you monitor conversations. How do you go about the language issue though?
We monitor every conversation regarding our destination but we actually communicate in English and Spanish only. Currently chile.travel only offers two language versions. The site will be in German, Portuguese, French, plus the actual English and Spanish, by the end of July 2011.
Do you have the same crowd on Twitter as on Facebook? Do you treat them differently?
Our followers can be described as being in the travel industry. They are mostly travel professionals. On the other side, our fans are clients: potential, actual or past visitors to our country. The previous differences, of course can be noticed in the way we interact with both groups.
Your site also features testimonials by real Chile travellers. How much work was it to get these testimonials?
It was hard in terms of logistics, as we had to send a team to travel all around Chile. However in terms of getting travellers to speak about their experience of Chile, it was very easy. They were very motivated when asked to be part of this testimonials strategy of our Country. It was vey natural and no script was made for them.
When it comes to mobile marketing, apps and location based services, where is Chile.travel right now?
Chile.travel is mobile friendly, but we don´t have a specific version for mobile platforms. We are researching which is the best strategy: To build a mobile app for our country itself or support one or many that are already out there. Suggestions are very welcome, so please put your comments in this post