Social Media case study – Ananta Spa and Resorts

Ananta Spa and Resorts is a vacation spot based at Pushkar. This write up is a case study on how they are using social media to engage with tourists visiting Pushkar to turn them into prospective customers.

A day prior to my impromptu SWBT trip to Pushkar I logged on to twitter and gave a shout out about the exact date of the annual Pushkar Camel Fair 2011.

I got responses from many Twitter users, some of them I was already following and some I started following after getting a response from them. That is how it usually works on Twitter. If you have a good amount of follower and are active on Twitter, your name gets recommended amongst the ‘Who to follow’ list. When people follow you, you get a notification that so and so has started following you. Now it is upto you to follow them back immediately or wait till they initiate a conversation with you so that you know that the user is a genuine person and not some bot (automatically created non-human Twitter users).

Starting a conversation on Twitter is the key.

Amongst the many responses there was one response from a user by the twitter handle (a twitter user name is called ‘handle’) @anantapushkar. The response was relevant to my need and so out of natural curiosity I looked up the user’s profile which informed me @Anantapushkar is a Spa and Resort Center based at Pushkar.

A brand communication had begun right there. So far as brand outreach and connecting new people was concerned the communication team of Ananta Spa and Resorts were already successful but the story didn’t end here.

I noticed that they were actively tweeting about the Pushkar Camel Fair by using common hashtags #PushkarFair2011 or #Pushkar giving out information about the mela schedule, dates, directions and general conversation around the fair. What appealed to me was that instead of loud ‘we are awesome’ styled shameless publicity they were giving out relevant information that people actually needed along with subtle messages about their brand and services.

I happily followed back @anantapushkar – they scored again. This time they got a new follower with over 2500 followers of her own.

The third time they scored was when I was on my way to Pushkar. Soon as the bus left Ajmer city and took the hilly roads towards Pushkar I saw big signboards of at least 4-5 different hotels, resorts and cafes. One such board was of Ananta Spa and Resort.  The name immediately rang a bell because I remembered it from Twitter. The other names that rang bells were Pink Floyd café and Little Tibet Garden all were names I had seen on Twitter as part of the conversation by Pushkar visitors tweeting from the ground.

7 days later as I write this case study I don’t remember any other brand names from Pushkar except the ones I saw on Twitter and had a personal communication with.

And it’s not just me, we all get to see a whole bunch of sign boards all through the journey towards any tourist place, how many of them do we remember? Ask yourself.

I remembered Ananta because they successfully engaged me in a conversation on a topic that was relevant to me, they made a personalized connection and created a comfort zone for me.

As a first time visitor to Pushkar all spa and resorts centers doing business in the town would be same to me but I would prefer to check into the one that had created that comfort zone for me over social media. That’s human psychology.

To conclude Ananta Spa and Resorts scored on social media communication because:

  • They were actively Tweeting about something that was important to people visiting Pushkar
  • They didn’t continuously throw around their marketing agenda but were subtle and confident about it
  • They listened more than speaking, they listened to me first and then started a conversation
  • They invited people to visit their Facebook page not to witness their awesomeness but because there was something useful for Pushkar visitors there, the program schedule and updates.
  • They established personal friendly connection by doing simple conversations like, how do you like the Fair, how is your stay, is this your first time to Pushkar.

The fallout – the not to glamorous bit about the story

In spite of being good at their social media communication, Ananta barely has 20 followers on Twitter which is terribly low. But there is nothing to be disheartened about. Low follower count could be for many reasons:

  • Perhaps they have only recently started using twitter
  • Pushkar is a lesser known travel spot
  • Pushkar Camel Fair is an annual event  and not an event about which people need information round the year
  • Finally, number of people going to Pushkar and also using Twitter to find information or connect to hotels and resorts are very low. After all this story wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t login to Twitter and gave a shout out to begin with.

Pushkar is annually visited by over 500,000 people from different parts of India and the world. From my simple research there were not even 100 people on Twitter talking about Pushkar during the Fair. This is a challenge but the situation would change soon. There would be time when hundreds and thousands of the Indians would be using Twitter from their mobile phones.

My message to the Ananta Pushkar’s Communication team:

The Ananta Pushkar Spa and Resorts team is doing something right on social media and they would reap the benefits in the long run, very long run. They should continue with their efforts to establish a healthy personal contact with influential people / photographers / travellers / travel writers (like they did with me) to potentially turn them into patrons.

Patience is the key. The return on investment is waiting somewhere down the road.

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