Destinations facing challenge with resilience and creativity

Samoa Tourism’s Use of Social Listening

Resilience and creativity have always been hallmarks of the travel industry. At Miles, we’ve been inspired by the innovative ways that destinations and organizations are exemplifying those qualities, adapting to meet the extraordinary challenges presented by COVID-19. We will be spotlighting those efforts here each week to help share that inspiration throughout the industry. Read on to find out how Samoa Tourism leveraged social listening to inform campaign messaging and types of communications used while their borders were closed.

Challenge: Early Preventive Measures

Samoa suffered a terrible measles outbreak at the end of last year, declaring a state of emergency in November, which set the background for early closure of borders in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Samoa Tourism needed to communicate this decision to locals and visitors and design a strategy to keep Samoa at the top of visitors’ minds when they were ready to visit again.

Strategy: Reinforce “Beautiful Samoa”

Following the measles outbreak, Samoa Tourism had invested in a social media listening tool to better understand visitor sentiment and thoughts about Samoa (whether they still regarded Samoa as a safe place to visit) and to get a clear understanding of competitors’ activity. Social listening helped them again as they strategized a communications plan following the impacts of COVID-19. Initially, Samoa Tourism communications were purely informational, explaining why borders were closing. Then, while other Pacific nations went silent, Samoa Tourism launched their “Beautiful Will Always Be Here” campaign on Facebook and Instagram which related to their tagline, Beautiful Samoa. Beautiful Samoa Facebook Post In addition to potential visitors, Samoa tourism needed to connect with the more than 400,000 people with Samoan ancestry living in Australia and New Zealand who were being forced to postpone their trips to see family and friends. Content included video and images of Samoa’s unique natural environment, ancestral gastronomy, music and traditions and the Samoan language.

A fun bingo game encouraged followers to find out what places they have yet to visit, and a photo competition generated UGC while showcasing partners. Adventure Bingo by Samoa Tourism Authority

Results: Paradise Nostalgia

Through social listening, Samoa Tourism has seen a significant spike in engagement and positive sentiment following the release and execution of their “Beautiful Will Always Be Here” campaign. High engagement and positive comments combined with low social media activity from competing DMOs resulted in a jump in the destination’s Zavy* score, to #1 for Facebook and #2 for Instagram. The DMO has also reached 1.2 million people with over 2.3 million impressions, grown Instagram engagement by 25% and seen a 335% increase in Facebook shares. *A Zavy score is a proprietary measure that is indexed to create competitive benchmarks. Scores measure the performance of a brand by assigning a value to key social media metrics. To learn more, we emailed the New Zealand Representative of Samoan Tourism Authority, Sonny Rivers, to ask about the strategy behind their new campaign and how social listening has impacted their communication efforts on social media.

What was the strategy behind investing in a social listening technology?

We wanted to bring Samoa up to standards with the rest of the social media world and to increase our social media following and presence. Social media is one of the top avenues we are pursuing to promote our destination. It’s also useful for us to measure consumers’ perception of the destination and adapt to expectations.

How has social listening enhanced Samoa Tourism’s overall communication and engagement on social media so far?

It has hugely increased our engagement on Facebook and Instagram and greatly improved the overall communication. We can also easily report from one platform instead of having to check each channel.

Has social listening provided any surprising or unexpected insights since the organization began using it?

Yes, we were surprised by some high-performing content from not just our target audience but also the competition. Social listening has also helped us adapt and stand out from our competitor’s content strategy.

What was the strategy behind using the campaign messaging “Beautiful Will Always Be Here”?

To sympathize with the current crisis, our audience and markets. People were feeling anxious, so it was important for us to reconnect and engage with our followers, and at the same time, keep Samoa top of mind in a way that wasn’t intrusive and wasn’t selling anything, all while staying connected with our audiences. We see our VFR (visiting friends and relatives) the same as our visitors – we treat everyone like family. This was a time when people took care of each other, so we wanted to portray that no matter what happens in New Zealand or Australia, you can take comfort that we’ll always be here waiting to welcome you home.

Have you seeing any content trends in the types of social posts users are interacting and engaging with most often?

Idyllic locations, stunning beaches and landscapes, clear waters and cultural posts are performing very well, as well as content that relates to things that are unique to Samoa: fales (thatched huts) and the Samoan Way – Fa’a Samoa. We’ve been showcasing what we genuinely have and can offer to visitors, we’ve also found that organic UGC performs best.

Are there any future exciting things coming up for Samoa that you’d like to share?

We just can’t wait to get visitors back in Samoa. We are also working on a Virtual Roadshow for the trade, which would be the first time we do something like this.

Experience the Beauty

Follow Samoa Tourism for a daily dose of the incredible beauty that awaits there.
Share This