Mastercard Travel Landscapes: Holiday Pirates chief sets out recipe for social media engagement

Mastercard Travel Landscapes: Holiday Pirates chief sets out recipe for social media engagement

Travolution and Mastercard held an inaugural Travel Landscapes event this week with senior travel delegates hearing from inspiring speakers on the dreaming, booking and experiences phases of travel. Lee Hayhurst reports

The recipe for achieving engagement a virality online is to be independent, relevant and to hit the right tone with consumers.

Christoph von Bülow, chief operating officer of Holidays Pirates, told a Mastercard Travel Landscapes event that user recommendations were key to its business.

“Young people are looking for experiences and we want to provide them with those experiences,” he said. “We are a platform for travel opportunities.

“Millennials have so much information, have so many options they need some help to give them ideas instead of finding their own way around the internet. It’s hard work.”

Von Bülow said 52% of Facebook users are thinking about travel as they surf the web and 87% of millennials use social media platforms to get inspired for their next experience.

Holiday Pirates has 10 million Facebook fans with the biggest-growing segment the over-50s and one million Whatsapp subscribers. It sees 30 million sessions a month.

Holiday Pirates says it has grown without spending anything on Google to promote its brand and purely through Facebook recommendations and just 7% of its traffic paid.

“You need to fish where the fish are,” von Bülow, “you need to look everywhere at all the important opportunities. You need to look at the way you interact with the users.

“We have the opportunity for every one of our users to interact with us. It’s about how to respond to those people.

“If you do not respond at all there is no interaction, there is no virality, there is no recommendation.

“The thing we want our users to do is recommend. The recipe for virality is you need to be independent, you need the right tone.

“You need to be clear and honest and you need the data behind that to recommend the right thing that’s relevant for the users.

“Explain what’s the value behind the price. You need to do something to motivate then to take the next step.”

Von Bülow added firms looking to inspire customers on social media need to be authentic, funny and relevant to current affairs and what the audience is interested in.

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