Category Archives: Blog

Travel Trends Take an Unexpected Turn

Posted on Monday, July 9, 2018 by Kelsey

Tourists want to do more than consume; they want to make an impact.

Volunteer travel has been on the rise over the past few years. Many tourists want nothing but relaxation when they’re on vacation, but a significant portion of them want to leave a positive mark on the communities they visit. They do this by volunteering.

One way to attract “voluntourists” is to coordinate with local organizations/nonprofits to add volunteer opportunities tailored for visitors. Volunteer information should be readily available and easily accessible to people who aren’t from the area. Giving tourists an opportunity to volunteer creates lasting, positive memories, and increases the likelihood they’ll return or tell their friends to visit.

Travelers are braving the cold for winter wonderlands.

Travel to cold weather destinations has increased in recent years. Thrill-seekers are looking for snow sports they can’t do at home like skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Those traveling from warm climates dream of snuggling up next to a fireplace in a cozy cabin while watching the snow fall outside.

Destinations with cold winter climates have the upper hand in making winter dreams come true, and it’s a lucrative business. Brands can leverage this advantage by using positive messaging when talking about winter and all it has to offer and by sharing information about the unique activities visitors can enjoy when coming to a snow-covered destination.

Small towns with historic charm are taking over.

As popular cities get more crowded, lines get longer, and Facebook feeds get flooded with the same picture reincarnated from 30 different angles, people are looking for a refreshing view. Travelers are venturing to smaller, less populated destinations to get their own unique experience.

A major draw of small towns is historical significance. Tourists are looking to make connections to the places they visit, and a strong story adds meaning to the trip. Brands can benefit from showcasing historical locations associated with their business.

Visuals are King in the Age of Saturated Social

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2018 by Kelsey

Social media is constantly evolving, and brands must be willing to adapt their content strategy to take full advantage of changing trends and platform capabilities. In 2018, high-quality visuals are the frontrunner in the content race. Keep reading to find out what other types of content win on social media.

Visuals
Photos and video come out on top when it comes to engagement. That means they are liked, commented on and shared far more often than posts without visuals. People are drawn to posts with eye-catching, high-quality photos accompanied by text, especially captions including questions that prompt a response from the audience.

Behind-the-scenes content
People need a reason to spend their time viewing branded content. Brands can make followers feel like VIP guests by sharing “insider” information. By sharing content that can’t be found via Google search, brands give users a reason to return to their page to learn something new, see something unique and get to know the brand’s personality better.

Curated content
Brands can benefit from sharing content posted by other accounts. This includes articles, blog posts, photos, videos and anything related to the brand that followers might find useful or entertaining. Posting curated content simplifies the posting process and makes brand’s feeds more versatile and interesting to followers.

User-generated content
Sharing content posted by followers strengthens the connection between a brand and its audience. Like curated content, user-generated content is already created and only needs to be collected for sharing. Brands should share high-quality visuals and interesting shots from other users to keep their feed fresh.

Brand-to-consumer communication
Social media gives brands the power to connect with customers every day. By responding to posts about products and services, brands can strengthen relationships and create loyal customers. Utilizing platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to create positive interactions with customers gives brands an edge over the competition.

5 Reasons Tourism in Wisconsin Rocks

Posted on Monday, April 30, 2018 by Kelsey

Vacations are today. Tourism is forever.

When people travel to Wisconsin, they adopt a more positive view of the state and all it has to offer. According to the Wisconsin Department of  Tourism, “Travelers who have visited Wisconsin in the past two years rate the state much higher than those who have not visited the state.” The positive sentiment and word-of-mouth marketing has potential to entice others to not just to travel, but live, work and start businesses in Wisconsin. When that happens, the impact of tourism reaches far beyond a one-time visit.

Tourism gives (spending) power to the people.

According to the state, tourism generated $1.5 billion in state and local revenues, saving taxpayers an average of $650 per household. With an extra $650, you could buy 36 tickets to a Brewers game, spend a weekend in the Dells, or buy 120 pounds of brats. In other words, Wisconsinites can thank tourists for a whole lot of fun.

Tourism supports your favorite restaurant.

Name your favorite Wisconsin pastimes. Odds are, eating and drinking make the list. You’ve got tourism to thank for that—the tourism economy supports 35% of all recreation jobs and 23% of all food & beverage jobs in Wisconsin. So next time you’re out at a restaurant with your friends after a day of fun, think of all the people who helped make your day awesome. Their jobs might not exist without tourism but, thanks to more than 100 million annual visitors, we’re able to continue enjoying cheese curds from the comfort of someone else’s kitchen.

Tourism employs people across industries.

Tourism supports many jobs in the recreation and food industries, but its operations extend into other businesses including manufacturing, printing, food and beverage suppliers, and business services. The Department of Tourism explains: “Tourism directly and indirectly supports 193,500 jobs in Wisconsin.” Without the industry’s contribution, the state’s unemployment rate would more than double to 10.1 percent.

Vacation is good for the soul, and it’s good for the economy too.

American workers are taking less time off of work than we used to, and it’s hurting businesses. According to the U.S. Travel Association and Project: Time Off, American workers reported taking just 16.2 days of vacation a year, almost a full week less than they did 20 years ago. This stockpile of unused paid leave contributes to worker burnout and even larger balance sheet liabilities that directly affect a company’s bottom line. Tourism means taking time off work to explore and, while you’re at it, spend money. That money keeps the economy rocking. So, take that extra week off. You deserve it.

Moving Fast: Travel Trends of 2018

Posted on Friday, April 20, 2018 by Kelsey

A wise man named Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Those of us in the travel and tourism industry know this truth all too well. But just like the fleeting moments we work hard to create for vacationers, travel trends come and go, and they move fast. What do people look for in a vacation in 2018? Is it still called a vacation? We did a little research to find out what today’s travelers want when they’re on the move. Here’s what we know:

Food is not just a necessity, it’s a cultural experience.

The days of five-star dining and fancy tablecloths are behind us. Today, foodie nomads demand adventure in their meals, and that means frequenting authentic spots for local cuisine. Vacationers want to go home and tell their friends what new, unique, can’t-get-it-anywhere-else dish they tried. This is especially true for Millennials who can’t bear to recreate someone else’s experience, especially when it comes to the photo op at the end of dinner.

According to Intrepid Travel, “A recent study by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the definition of adventure is changing. Risky adrenaline activities are favored 45% less than ‘experiencing a new culture’ in the definition of adventure travel.” Activities these food-loving risk-takers enjoy include food tours, cooking classes and wine tastings. Towns and businesses can attract these types of travelers by promoting their specialty dishes and sharing images of appealing spreads and Instagram-worthy dining spaces.

Solo travel is on the rise, and the industry is making accommodations.

Popular travel destinations such as hotels, cruise ships and restaurants have started developing single-friendly packages to accommodate those traveling alone, a practice that has become very popular in recent years. Intrepid Travel found that Google searches for ‘solo travel’ and ‘travel alone’ were at the highest they’ve ever been in January of [2018].”

One reason this trend is, well, trending is the fact that Millennials are waiting longer than older generations did to settle down and get married. It’s important for businesses that tend to offer promotional packages for families and couples to consider this new demographic and take advantage of those venturing out on their own.

The coolest destinations are the ones nobody’s heard of.

A phenomenon taking place in Europe and trickling into other parts of the world is “discovery travel.” Travelers are passing up the Romes and Parises of the world to venture into neighboring small towns and stumble upon their own must-see destinations.

This strategy gives visitors a truly one-of-a-kind experience that is personal to the individual. In other words, people are opting for the road less traveled so they can say they were there first. That’s great news for backroad destinations that can leverage the appeal of the unknown to increase hotel bookings and restaurant reservations to make Romes out of their Puglias. (Independent)

The New Facebook Algorithm: Posting Smarter

Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by Kelsey

The landscape of Facebook has undergone major changes in recent months with the rollout of a new algorithm that prioritizes posts from family and friends above those from brands and other pages. This change is part of Facebook’s effort to increase daily usage and engagement among users.

Other new additions include the Facebook Stories feature, which allows users to post temporary photos and videos, as well as Facebook Live, which gives users the ability to stream live video to their followers.

Source: Pixabay

Although posts from pages do not receive the priority they once did, brands still have power to share meaningful content with their Facebook followers.

Research suggests brands are most successful when they post once or twice a day. Why?

It eliminates brand fatigue.

When brands post too often, followers can get tired of seeing their content. By limiting the number of posts, businesses can avoid inundating their followers’ news feeds.

It boosts visibility.

When brands only post once or twice a day, it’s more likely the posts will actually show up on followers’ feeds. When too many posts are made, Facebook’s algorithm chooses which ones to make visible. This means not everything you put out will be seen–and it could very well be the most important updates that go unseen by your audience. (Obviously, advertising on Facebook is key to brands’ visibility as well.)

It prioritizes the best content.

When narrowing down to one or two posts a day, brands must be picky about the content they share. While this might seem daunting at first, it will work out best for the brand in the long run because only the best content will make the cut.

Video and images garner the highest amount of engagement from Facebook users. Source: Buzzsumo

 

 

 

As new features such as live streaming and stories grow across social media platforms, research continues to show that video garners the highest engagement of all content. The appeal of video is its accessibility and authenticity, especially to younger audiences. While video can be challenging to produce, its benefits can be replicated in photos and other content that focus on brand personality and provide value to customers.

The new Facebook terrain may seem like a challenge, but it gives brands the opportunity to develop their content strategy to share the most high-quality, engaging and relevant content with their followers to build and strengthen relationships.

 

Link Friday: The Safe Topics to Discuss During the Holidays Edition

Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by Kate

At Pilch & Barnet, we love travel and we love marketing. But we also love being helpful. So this holiday season, we thought we’d provide you with a list of interesting holiday fun facts you can discuss at the dinner table, in lieu of politics, religion, climate change, or you know, anything else that could start a fistfight.

Did you know…

  • A traditional Christmas dinner in Japan is Kentucky Fried Chicken? It is, of course, the result of a clever marketing campaign designed to promote the restaurant when it opened there in 1970.
  • Another fun marketing ploy – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! He came to life in a promotional booklet given out to kids visiting Santa at Montgomery Ward in 1939! (Bonus fun fact – the author considered Rollo and Reginald as names before settling on Rudolph!)
  • One of the first commercially sold artificial Christmas trees was made from toilet brush bristles – it was less flammable and better to hold heavy decorations than its predecessors – trees made from twine or goose feathers dyed green. (Extra points if you mention that Romans are currently angry over the city’s official Christmas tree looking like a sickly toilet brush that happened to cost $57K.)
  • Jingle Bells is actually a Thanksgiving song. The songwriter wrote it for a Thanksgiving performance of a Sunday School class in 1850, but it was so popular, they brought it back for Christmas. (Bonus if you throw in that it’s really about one-horse open-sleigh street races held in Massachusetts and was written in a bar!)
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas cost just $76,000 to produce back in 1965 (the modern day equivalent of $590K). Compare that to the 2015 Peanuts Movie which cost $99 MILLION.
  • And if all else fails, bring in Alexa. The Amazon device can play Christmas music, recite “The Night Before Christmas” in its entirety, play Christmas sounds and give you even more fun holiday trivia to keep your gathering, above all else, civil.

Happy holidays!

Two easy ways to build your brand on Snapchat (without a brand account!)

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Kate

There’s no denying Snapchat is a powerhouse in social media, but for brands, the idea of having a constant presence on the platform can feel daunting, even overwhelming. But, good news! Your brand can reach people on Snapchat, without having to commit to an account. Here’s how.

Geofilters

No doubt Snapchat users love their lenses (you know, the graphics that give you puppy ears or make you look like you’re barfing rainbows?), but creating one takes a professional designer and they start at around $100,000!

Instead, try a geofilter. When users take a photo or video, they can swipe within the app to see a series of available filters. What users see depends on where they are, what day it is, etc. Some make note of the city or neighborhood the user is in, but others are reserved especially for events.

They’re relatively easy to design (Snapchat has its own design tool you can use, or you can create your own with their specifications), then you choose the time you want the filter to be available, and exactly which area you want it to be shown in, all for an extremely reasonable cost! A geofilter for an event like a football game, a fair, or concert that lasts a couple of hours in a relatively confined space can easily cost under $100.

Custom Snapcodes

If you do any print material, custom Snapcodes are an easy way to get Snapchat users to your website. Users take a photo of your code using the Snapchat app, then are immediately directed to the site of your choosing.

Creating one yourself takes just a few seconds. The Snapcode is e-mailed to you and can be incorporated into posters and signs. It’s especially helpful if you’ve got a longer or more complicated web address, or if people won’t be able to spend much time engaging with your material.

Need advice?

Need more help navigating Snapchat? Contact us here.

Facebook Feed Changes – Don’t Panic Yet

Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2017 by Kate

Facebook Feed Changes – Don’t Panic Yet

You might’ve heard that Facebook is beta testing a news feed that completely eliminates content from brand pages. Then you probably felt a little ill. So do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Bad news? Ok. It is true that Facebook is testing two separate news feeds – one for content from friends and family and one with content from brand pages. The good news is, unless you live or market heavily in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala or Cambodia, you’re not likely to be affected by these changes. Those are the only six countries currently involved in the testing and Facebook says they have no plans to roll it out globally.

If we head down the rabbit hole of despair a bit further, it’s discouraging to hear that since the test launched in Slovakia, that country’s 60 largest pages are seeing four times fewer interactions. That said, take heart, Facebook is just doing what it always does – trying to optimize and create the best experience for its users.

What about the “Explore Feed?”

So, is the “Explore Feed” unveiled in the U.S. just a pre-cursor for this insanity? Deep breaths. No. Explore is an ad-free news feed made up solely of brand pages content (including brands you don’t follow), but it is not going to be the only place you can see brand posts. It’s merely a warehouse for articles, videos and photos customized for each user based on what Facebook thinks you might find interesting. Just another way to bring you shareable stuff.

The only thing you can be sure of is change

One thing we know for sure – Facebook never stays static for long. Just a few years ago, your brand posts were reaching 17% of your fans organically. On average, that’s down to 2% now. But here at Pilch & Barnet, we’ve been utilizing Facebook ads to improve reach and engagement for years now, so our clients haven’t felt the painful sting of Facebook’s brand-punishing algorithm. In fact, despite Facebook’s best efforts to keep brands down, our clients’ Facebook pages are growing strong.

We can help

Wish your social media accounts were doing better? Let us help. Find out about all the services we offer here.

Link Friday: The 2017 Fall Travel Edition

Posted on Friday, October 20, 2017 by Kate

Fall is what we travel folks like to call a shoulder season. For those of you not in the know, shoulder season = good deals.

One of the Best Places to Work in Madison!

Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2017 by Kate

We’re thrilled to announce we were named one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Madison by Madison Magazine!

We’re especially grateful because this honor comes as a result of the good words spoken about Pilch & Barnet by our own employees! We value the people who choose to share their time and talents with us and do our best to treat them well. We know that the respect and appreciation we show them reflects in the great work they do for our clients.

If you’re interested in seeing what Pilch & Barnet can do for you, call us today!