“The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.” Benjamin Disraeli
I’m not writing a book (yet) but I could argue that Disraeli’s comment would apply to writings in general. Growing up my mother always had me write things over and over again as a study method and it usually benefited me during the test. Something about writing on a subject; focusing solely on what you are writing, engrains the subject into your brain much better than just reading about it. I might argue that our professor has a similar feeling about learning, thus the intention of our blog posts is partly to teach us through writing.
The field of communications has many facets including journalism, advertising, media, public relations, social media, and photography. While each of these practices has distinct roles and rules, they all come together to form the communications field. How do these items apply to, say, the travel industry? Travel is something that tugs at my heart almost weekly. I love to travel; to escape to a foreign destination and get lost in a new city. How do specific destinations, or the industry as a whole use communications to form a relationship with me as a consumer?
Courtesy of Wikipedia, “communications (from Latin “communis”, meaning to share) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior.”
I recently participated in a Tweet Chat with Expedia (@expchat). This was my first Tweet Chat and I have to say that it was a positive experience. This was a touch point for Expedia to reach out to relevant consumers by getting them all to converse about the same subject. How can you determine that these were relevant consumers for Expedia? Because the aforementioned Tweet Chat was all about travel, Expedia had previously identified a market of consumers they are aiming to engage in conversation: those interested in travel. Expedia is using different types of communications to try and reach their target market; both traditional media and in this case, social media.
Trip Advisor (@TripAdvisor) is another company that does a great job (in my opinion) of reaching out to their target market of travelers. For those of you who don’t know, Trip Advisor is a website that acts as a travel resource including everything from flights to sights to see coupled with traveler reviews. Trip Advisor forms a travel community by asking its readers to submit photos, opt-in to email alerts and to authorize the use of downloadable travel brochures. Social Commerce Today includes results from the latest Nielson rating showing that word of mouth marketing is the most compelling type of marketing out there. Trip Advisor is giving their users an opportunity to participate in word of mouth communication, thus driving traffic from other travelers seeking advice about a particular destination. Personally, I have used Trip Advisor prior to every trip I have taken to a new destination in the past 5 years; they have used Twitter, email and Facebook to send me snippets about top travel destinations, flight watch information and virtual travel brochures for cities I have researched.
The travel industry is a great example of an industry utilizing every form of communications. While Expedia and Trip Advisor may use different types of communications to reach out to their target consumers, between the two of them they may cover the whole gamut. Their public relations teams manage their Twitter and Facebook accounts while marketing teams are putting together way to reach consumers through traditional media and new media outlets. Both companies use photography to draw potential consumers’ eyes to a featured destination on their site or via email with “top 10 travel destinations for fall,” etcetera.
The field of communications permeates each of our lives whether we want to admit it or not. Even if you do not have a television or a computer and pride yourself on averting your eyes away from billboard and newspaper advertising you are still a participant in communications. Getting a recommendation from a friend about a good plumber or receiving a call from a family member telling you about their most recent trip to Maryland, both are forms of communications, however informal they may be.