GoHop.ie arrived on the Irish travel scene back in 1998, and aside from Founder and CEO Stephen McKenna there were two others on the team. The GoHop.ie team has since expanded to nineteen employees spanning several different nationalities.
Over the past years, GoHop.ie has won a number of awards including Best Retail Website at the Spiders in 2003 and 2006, Best e-Commerce Website at ICT Expo in 2005, “Friendliest Business Award 2010” Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and winner of the Travel Media award for Best Travel Website in 2011.
GoHop.ie first started using Facebook back in early 2010. “We decided not to jump in without first knowing how to use it. We wanted to get it right!” said Stephen. “Rather than just post availability and prices on our Facebook page we post stories about the destinations and add some really nice images. So far that’s worked for us and it really engages the Fans,” he added.
In the early days, growing fan numbers was slow but as Stephen put it, “We just kept at it.” However, when GoHop.ie reached 3,000 ‘Likes’ on their Facebook page, their Fan numbers grew exponentially. “We have around four competitions throughout the year, sometimes its tickets from an airline, others are tickets to concerts, sport events, or it could even be a holiday hamper.
We get a great response to those and it boosts our exposure because Fans ‘share’ those posts with their friends.” When asked about any one campaign that stood out as driving the most engagement, he laughed. “It’s the strangest thing but a competition for a GoHop.ie mouse mat had over 900 entries. It cost us about €2 to run that.” To date GoHop.ie have used Facebook Ads on an ad-hoc basis if they believe a competition needs an extra push.
What is noticeable when you look at the GoHop.ie Facebook page is how the company avails of cross-marketing opportunities and also play by the very stringent rules in place from Facebook. They’re using third party apps for competitions and announcing winners using YouTube clips posted on their page. “Facebook were very strict with us about earlier competitions we ran on a like basis but with app introduction that was kicked to touch and it’s all legitimate now,” explained Stephen.
Just recently, GoHop.ie had a big jump in Fan numbers from 10,000 to over 16,000 Fans in less than two months. “It’s probably helped by the free consumer events we’ve been hosting recently where Travel Specialists and Journalists come in and talk about their own travel experiences. In conjunction with TravelMedia we‘re also producing a travel show on DublinCityFm. It all seems to help to get the GoHop.ie brand out there and we’re very happy about that,” said Stephen.
Up until a short while ago, Stephen managed the GoHop.ie Facebook page himself. However, with their growth in fan numbers and the knock-on spike in engagement he’s now sharing the site management with two others.
“We know how important it is to respond quickly to Fans so I manage the product-related content while the others monitor and respond to enquiries about destination, prices, and availability. I also monitor our growth patterns, fan demographics, and engagement so we’re staying on top of what’s happening with our page.”
A last word from Stephen
As we rounded up our interview, I asked Stephen if he had a tip for other brands thinking about using Facebook to market their business and he replied, “Post content that users can identify with and something they are likely to share. Make it graphical if you can with stunning visuals to grab the user’s attention.”
Sound advice indeed from a travel company that is successfully integrating social media into their overall marketing strategy to grow their brand presence online.
Carole Smith is a Social Media consultant based in Dublin, Ireland.
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