Passport Online offers Build a Blog for travel agents

Passport Online,  which helps leisure travel agents build websites, just launched a social media tool that provides content and shortcuts for agents.

Agent SocialLink provides content from popular blogs and enables agents to click on a link to tweet the stories.

passportonline

And a Build a Blog feature enables agents to create their own blogs using pre-loaded cruise-ship photos from the cruise lines and then travel agents can add their own comments. The tool automatically populates embedded links in the blog to drive traffic to the agents’ websites, Passport online says.

Another feature of Build a Blog enables agents to copy and paste guest blogs from cruise lines and post them to the agents’ blogs.

“Simply follow the prompts to craft an SEO- (Search Engine Optimization) enhanced blog post, complete with links to corresponding offers on the agency website,” the company says. “Once the blog post is constructed, click on the button, copy and paste the custom post to your blog and publish.”

Here’s a YouTube video about Passport Online’s new social media tools.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlmrh42k31k

Agent SocialLink certainly would save some steps and provide cruise line content for travel agents ordinarily too busy to participate in social media or for those travel agents less experienced in the world of Twitter and Facebook.

But, does all of the preloaded content seem at odds with the spirit of social media?

And, does Agent SocialLink, which enables agents to surround the cruise line imagery with their own comments,  provide agents with enough opportunity to differentiate from other agents?

Stacy Small, president and founder of Elite Travel International and a very active tweeter, says: “I think anything that encourages agents to become more actively involved in social media marketing is a positive thing as it’s definitely the direction our clients are moving in. However, if too many agents all sign up for a cookie-cutter “build a blog” then it’s really no different than agencies buying the same exact ad and placing them in the same newspaper. It will be hard for agencies to differentiate themselves.

“To me, the brilliant thing about social media is that it offers an opportunity to personalize your own experiences/content and share them with the world-at-large (ie, potential and existing clients).

“I think it’s a nice tool for those agents new to social media as it’s a good “starter” kit, but I’d be wary of using something basic like this and expecting a lot of new business as a result.”

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.

 

Comments

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  1. Bryce

    I applaud the integration with an agent cruise booking engine, but I can’t see a blog post created by literally copying and pasting other people’s content, or by Mad-Libs-style robot writing, engaging customers or having any SEO value. If anything, this is just a duplication of the content that’s already in the booking engine. I think the best rule of thumb for any business (no matter how small) trying to jump on the social media bandwagon is to either do it right or not do it at all.

    After all, isn’t the whole case for the existence of travel agents that they provide a unique and informed service based on personal and professional knowledge? If they can’t represent themselves uniquely across social media (the platforms that are their biggest online opportunities), what is a user of this service doing to differentiate themselves online from an OTA?

    Travel Matter (www.travel-matter.com) provides blogs to travel agents for a low monthly fee that includes the creation and maintenance of a branded blog and unique content published every few days. All posts are written the old fashioned way, aside from their SEO angle.

     
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