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How did the Madagascar Tweet-up go?

August 21, 2009

Acacia

“I love the penguins in Madagascar haha genius and hilarious.”

Most of the time people mention Madagascar, they mean the movie, not the country, and the above is the generic response you’ll see via a Twitter search.

So yes, online, it’s a tricky destination to promote, and Acacia Africa perhaps had a tough audience with its just-finished “Travel Tweet-up” to promote tours to Madagascar.

Did it work?
Although I’m not sure it was a tweet-up in the technical sense, this effort has worked on several levels:

  1. New audience. Acacia has now promoted itself successfully to a new online audience. I guess they aimed to educate both travel agents and consumers at the same time. It’s about networking in a new environment, and Twitter is just another channel of many out there, not the be all and end all of marketing.
  2. Experimentation. Hats off for trying something new, and perhaps other operators will follow suit with other countries. Everyone in travel is still finding their feet with social media, and this may in fact be a first within the travel industry…
  3. Destination knowledge. Madagascar is a niche destination, so the online resources, and tips about when to go etc, should be welcomed. As someone who’s been to the country, I’m amazed it is not a big seller within travel. Perhaps it’s the lack of knowledge out there that prevent agents from selling it? Yes, there is occasional civil unrest, but countries like Kenya are in the same boat.

Travel blogger Alex Bainbridge has just written about the lack of promotion/preparation with this stunt, but I think this boils down to resources. This was very much a “suck it and see” campaign, and the PR firm, tionLondon, has taken a brave step.

He also says “all of the questions looked ‘canned’ – i.e. submitted ahead of time and just spewed out over a couple of hours into a twitter stream”.

This was in fact the email element of the occasion, which although not highlighted in their press release, it was mentioned in other press releases, as mentioned in my previous blog post. He does, however, raise valid points about using Q and As, and using a hashtag.

And there wasn’t a single mention of penguins, either.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2009 2:27 pm

    yes we’re truly sorry about the penguins Matt :) – but we’re hoping that adventurers with itchy feet or tweets will be heading for Madagascar. It’s a great country for the seasoned safari-goer or anyone who wants to see a different side to Africa. Thanks for joining us…

  2. August 24, 2009 8:45 am

    First of all, thanks a lot to all who contributed to this buzz around Madagascar (and the tweet-up)
    To be frank, I didn’t really know how a tweet-up works, neither did the other Malagasy fellows that were aware of this event- although we (as people from the “promoted” country would have loved to engage more into this). I guess, more two-way communication would have raised before the tweet-up day if we were not under the impression that twitter/e-mail was mainly used for “buzz” and “postal box for questions”. More engagement/two-way communications days before the event would have made the experience richer IMHO.
    But anyway, as a Malagasy person,thanks again for this buzz

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