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There’s a hot new platform in town and social media mavens are eager to join the club. Literally. The app, Clubhouse, is an invitation-only audio-chat app for iPhone only (at the moment), which launched in April 2020. To put it simply, it’s an exclusive app for interactive, real-time podcasts on any topic under the sun — travel included. And many travel advisors are getting in on the action and using the app to help network and grow their businesses.
“If you love podcasts, you’re going to love Clubhouse,” said Margie Jordan, vice president of TRUE Global Network. “The thing I like most about it are the raw conversations where you have a large number of people participating, commenting and sharing. You can really get some good information if you get in the right rooms.”
The thing I like most about it are the raw conversations where you have a large number of people participating, commenting and sharing. You can really get some good information if you get in the right rooms.
How Clubhouse Works Participants use Clubhouse by setting up a profile and following people and Clubs (theme-specific groups) based on their interests, just as you would on other social media apps. After you’ve started following people and Clubs, you can see when these people or groups are hosting or participating in chats. You can listen to the discussion, raise your hand to contribute or schedule and host your own chats — on anything you want.
These interactive discussions are happening in real time. You can pop in and out of different rooms, or stay in one that is particularly interesting to you. Some chats have been known to go on for more than 24 hours.
The Perks of Using ClubhouseClubhouse’s biggest advantage is that it is audio-only, which seems strange when we’re living in a world that’s so focused on visuals and video. But especially in the age of COVID-19, when networking in person isn’t safe and people are suffering from Zoom fatigue, the listen-only qualities of Clubhouse come in like a breath of fresh air. Tuning into an engaging discussion while you’re cooking, doing your bookkeeping or driving is not only easy, but it can help increase your business’s bottom line.
"It's such a different kind of concept from other social media," said Jade Monzo, owner of Rope Drop Travel." Instagram is more [about] showing what you're doing and making it aesthetically pleasing. Clubhouse is just like having a phone call. It's really about people giving out their knowledge."
The caveats of Clubhouse, however, are that first, you need an invitation from someone already in Clubhouse to get in. But with around 10 million people on Clubhouse already, it’s only a matter of time before you know someone in there, if you don’t already. The second is that none of the chats are recorded. Finally, there is no way to direct message someone in Clubhouse. However, almost everyone on the platform puts their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram information in their profiles, so you are able to reach out in other ways.
4 Tips for Growing Your Travel Business with ClubhouseSimilar to any other social media app, you do not have to be on Clubhouse to grow, nor does being on Clubhouse guarantee business growth. However, it can be a valuable tool to use in order to grow your travel business if you know how to harness its potential.
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1. Join Clubs and chats that are focused on travelMonzo, for example, is a Disney destination specialist. She uses Clubhouse to connect the 42 agents in her agency who are scattered across the country. When COVID-19 shut everything down, she began using Clubhouse to connect her agents in a place where they could share their Disney knowledge and experience in real time.
A quick search on Clubhouse for “travel” yields results such as Travel Agents Connect, a group with more than 2,000 members. You can join other groups including The Future of Travel, The Successful Travel Agent Club and so many more. You can search chats, Clubs, and people based on interests, too, such as destinations, marketing, networking and small businesses. Find chats that are led by experts in the industry or follow people who are experts in skills you need.
"It's really about following the right people," Jordan said. "If you're following the right people and if you're networking well, then you will get some really great content."
2. Create valueThe businesses that thrive on any social media platform are always the ones that create value. By positioning yourself as an authority on travel in Clubhouse, you will be able to attract others who will want to come and learn from your skillset.
The more you're putting out there — the more information, the more you’re bringing agents together to talk about travel — the more we're all winning.
"What speaks to me most about Clubhouse is how we can add value to the other people's lives," Monzo said. "It's about people giving away their knowledge. I moderated a group about Disney dining experiences, for example. I spoke on Cinderella's Royal Table and someone else spoke about Chef Mickey's. Agents talked about experiences their clients had, or their own personal experiences. Things are changing daily at Disney. It's crazy to keep up. Clubhouse is a great way to get the most up-to-date information about what's going on in the destinations we sell."
3. EngageBringing in a keynote speaker is a great way to draw other agents’ attention and get a discussion going. For example, bringing in a tourism board official, a sales director from a resort brand or a brand marketing specialist can be powerful ways to spark a discussion. Think of it like educational sessions from consortia conferences.
"I've connected with so many different people. The more involved in the platform you are, the more you'll get back from it. It's networking," Monzo said. "Instead of going to a motivational seminar or a strategy class, you're going into this."
You can also consider joining chats that aren’t necessarily travel-specific, but will help you with building your business. There are chats on SEO, marketing and even COVID-19-specific rooms.
"I've joined medical rooms," Jordan said. "There was a really great panel with five doctors giving their thoughts on COVID-19 and vaccines. It was good to listen to for getting multiple physicians' perspectives on where we are with COVID-19 and the vaccines as a whole."
4. Invite your clientsFind out which of your clients are already on Clubhouse. Host a chat and invite them to come for a candid talk on travel. Encourage them to bring their friends who perhaps are interested in learning about travel, whether it’s the future of travel, travel during the pandemic, specific destinations or hotels. There is also a well of potential clients for you to tap who are already on the platform.
"Long term, I want to use Clubhouse so that we're always having travel advisors speaking candidly on travel. Then we bring our clients in,” Monzo said. “The whole premise of the platform is about giving back. Or, giving, and it will come back to you. The more you're putting out there — the more information, the more you’re bringing agents together to talk about travel — the more we're all winning."