Recent guests Ann and Joe came all the way from New York to Zambia just to spend 5 days with us here at KaingU. Ann wrote a great blog post which really sums up Zambia, the Kafue and KaingU. Good reading and it interestingly shows the increasing power of the internet. Ann booked the trip and transfers directly based only on trip advisor and internet “presence”. Increasingly we are hearing this from guests – that they are basing their trip decisions on reviews, social media, web presence, photographs etc.
I have to admit that for me it is also an important decision making process. If we are looking at say a potential partner agent then an outdated website with wrong information (camps that don’t exist anymore for example) just grates. Likewise a website where the latest “news” section hasn’t been updated for three years just shouts out that the owner of that site either can’t be bothered to update it (or doesn’t know how). Either excuse is just that – an excuse.
There are even “social media consultants” who offer to run social media sites for safari operators. Right. So I will write something, take a picture and send it to a guy on another continent or country who will then stick it on Facebook and charge us several hundred dollars a month. Makes absolutely no sense at all.
Remote administration of all this stuff just doesn’t work. We once ( a few years back now) had marketing content generated by someone sitting in a different continent. Just not a recipe for success. Especially when a picture of an Indian elephant was used in in emailer.
“borrowing images” is another one that just makes no sense at all. Some remote administrator “borrows” an image of a walking safari or whatever and posts it as if that is how it happens at that camp…. Or indeed posts a nice sighting. But that sighting is taking place among the dry grass of October but the post is in February. I think you get what I mean! Don’t forget that ‘search google for this image’ can be done. I have seen this fairly recently – a social media ‘consultant’ posting pictures of a boat cruise “at” a certain camp in the Kafue and the boat was from a completely different camp. I only realised it because I in fact took delivery of the same boat and used it regularly! Doing a quick image search showed that the image in question was actually a guest’s review on safaribookings.com.
Now for a longer, complicated stay in several camps in several different parks (or indeed countries) then an experienced agent should not be under-estimated. But for two young tech-savy scientists then going it alone was a breeze. It was also fascinating to see how connected Ann and Joe were and listen to their take on the whole web/social media thing.
We are certainly not big time techies. But Saysha (our web designer) made it very clear from the beginning that while she would do major changes and updates she expects us to take ownership of our website and try and do basic updates. It’s not that hard and it is actually quite good fun.
Anyway I am waffling on…
Read Ann’s post here: