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eBags Pushes Travel To Embrace Social Media

From From Kaleel

eBags Pushes Travel To Embrace Social Media

Charlene Li, co-author of the groundbreaking books, Groundswell, and Marketing in the Groundswell, (now CEO of Altimeter tells the story of Jim, a hard-traveling, hard-nosed computer security engineer whose key zipper on his laptop bag broke at a crucial meeting.

eBags replaced the bag, but they also listened to the review of the product Jim posted on their web site. They contacted him, and went on to improve the bag by getting the Hong Kong factory to make the changes Jim and others suggested.

eBags, Li points out, isn’t just listening or talking; it “energized” Joe who in turn became a walking, talking non-stop promoter about all things eBags.

There’s a lesson here for the travel industry which generally seems to shout its message at travelers, then sits back and listens to the echo- rather than engage them.

When was the last time an airline invited you to post a comment (negative or positive) on their web site, then promised to address your issue?
Tourism officials typically shun criticism, however helpful, about their destination or product. They fear that seeking opinions and responding gives the critical ones credibility, which many of them deserve.
Marketing execs also fear loss of control of the travel marketing message.

Travel Video PostCards’ one-minute Germany video on YouTube, for example, has thousands of views and hundreds of comments about the country.
But here is not one response from the German tourism officials or their PR company.
When asked, a representative said they had been told not to respond to “negative” comments. Or, in this case, it seems, even the positive ones.

A serious mistake in marketing to the groundswell.

Meanwhile, eBags posts 1,980,417 customer reviews, covering all the products it carries. It has a vibrant, rich blog by a company expert in all things luggage, and smart, simple videos that explain a product’s various features.

And they actually send an email to a customer 21 days after a purchase asking them to write a review!

A cool Ben Sherman messenger bag had 39 detailed reviews and ratings that told me 98% of reviewers would buy this bag again. Customers rated the product relative to appearance, durability, organization and price/value: Overall Rating? 9.2 out of 10

When has an destination, hotel or airline web site invite such detailed feed back relative to a room a flight or a resort?

eBags is posting a 30%annual growth after 8 years in the business, turning ordinary customers into luggage enthusiasts and generated revenue.

As Li says, soon the customers will be talking more about travel than luggage, and they’re not even a travel company.

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