Travel Tech

Valentines Day is coming up again this year and it is no surprise that not only retailers see the day as a huge opportunity for sales and pushing out things that users can purchase for Valentines Day, but also the tourism industry is taking advantage of the “Day of Love”. Recently, Tnooz published an article which showed how a Chinese tourist board, Hangzhou is playing cupid and offering visitors a Valentine app on Facebook. This is certainly something new and demonstrates how destinations could engage with consumers further (Tnooz 2014).


The Facebook app is aiming to enable consumers to send messages to their loved ones around the world but of course at the same time, it will increase the awareness among consumers of Hangzhou as a tourism destination which will of course also market the destination beyond the reach Hangzhou could normally achieve through campaigns. This is really down to tapping into the power of consumers to send the messages and in one form associating themselves with the destination which in turn will make it more appealing for the recipients of the messages.


Hangzhou is the largest city in Zhejiang which is a province in eastern China and is launching this Valentines app campaign to get wide exposure of the “My Chinese Love Story” app on Facebook. On Valentines Day itself, Hangzhou tourist board will then publish the best love message sent on a big scale by featuring it on a full page of the New York Times. At the moment, every Facebook user could create a valentines message card and send it to loved ones worldwide. Besides being able to send a love message to somebody a user already knows, the app is also enabling users to send it off to strangers and the app will identify somebody random using the app or pick a card that was sent to a stranger.


A nice touch of the Facebook app, is that users can actually personalise it by choosing the design most preferred from various templates already existing and can add their own personal messages. Once users submit the message card, Hangzhou tourist board will then actually print off the first 2,000 entries and send it off to recipients by using Hangzhou themed stamps and a Hangzhou postmark. This is a nice idea and will surely surprise many users worldwide on Valentines Day receiving a “My Chinese Love Story” card and for the lucky card with the best love message, it will even be published in the New York Times. However, due to the focus on Valentines Day, the campaign is restricted to a short timeframe and the impact over time is therefore fairly low, but it certainly shows Hangzhou’s creativity in using Facebook apps is still a great example of how Facebook apps are used in different ways by destinations.


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