Rogue River Rafting Vacations

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rivers to the web - whitewater rafting outfitters use online social networks to fill their boats

Here's a recent press release on how we've been using social media tools to connect with customers online:

Two whitewater rafting outfitters explain how they are using social media tools to help sell their rafting trips on the Kern River, Rogue River, and Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

WOFFORD HEIGHTS, CALIF - On Monday after a day of guiding an Upper Kern River rafting trip, Ryan Guy, a guide for Kern River Outfitters based in Wofford Heights, California, sits at a computer inside the company’s warehouse and logs into Twitter. The computer is located immediately below an enormous calendar dotted with whitewater rafting trips to come, the number of customers per trip, and spaces available. Guy, glancing up briefly, begins to type a “tweet” – the short messages that the popular social network is know for – as he reads aloud, “Our one-day Upper Kern rafting trip on June 12th has some space available.”

The notion that computers and the internet do not have a place in the outdoors may be a diminishing belief, at least in the sense of attracting new-age customers. As leaders in the outdoor industry look for ways of finding new customers they are turning to an unlikely source for outdoor-minded individuals – the internet.

Will Volpert introduced Kern River Outfitters to Facebook and Twitter last Fall. He says that online networks have increased the company’s visibility where it matters most: their target market of families in the Southern California region. Most online social networks make reaching your target market easier than in traditional media advertising. On Facebook, for instance, one can target ads to specific age groups, genders, marital statuses, and interests. For businesses in the outdoor industry, being able to pin-point exactly who sees their advertisements not only saves marketing dollars but increases conversion rates from prospective clients to real-life customers.

When every dollar counts, online viral marketing seems to be the trend for small and big business alike. In an effort to increase their number of followers on Twitter, Idaho & Oregon River Journeys, an outfitter specializing in rafting trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho and the Rogue River in Oregon, set-aside a specific rafting trip as a “Twittertrip” just for Twitter followers. According to Jim Ritter, Idaho & Oregon River Journeys’ manager, “We thought it would be something that people would talk about. It’s been mentioned in a few other social-media networks.” That “buzz” is a key element in viral marketing because “it’s always better to have someone within a social-circle introduce your business rather than opening the door yourself,” Ritter adds.

“I really believe that our social-media presence will someday be more important than our actual website,” says Guy, who now shuts down the computer and leans against a stack of inflated whitewater rafts at the Kern River Outfitters warehouse. “For people who enjoy being outside so much, we sure spend an awful amount of time on the computer.” He adds, “and what we believe is that our customers do too.”


Read the original press release here.

Labels: , , ,