Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kerala Tourism: The fluff diaries

If there’s no news, manufacture some. That seems to capture Kerala Tourism’s newfound approach to creating a buzz.
What other rationale could account for the press release that presumably fuelled newspaper reports that talk about how British celebrities who visited Kerala have used Twitter to create excitement about going to Kerala. For more go here, here and here.
While Kerala may, perhaps, trend on Twitter occasionally, I’m not so sure if two British ‘celebrities’ Tweeting about Kerala qualifies as a celebration of God’s Own Country’s charms. Especially as both Sadie Frost’s and Preeya Kalidas’ tweets are from almost a year ago — March and April 2011 to be exact.
So it is rather strange that these ‘celebrity’ Tweets and visits, and a bunch of others, are being tom-tommed now, several months after they happened. Intriguing too that Claudia and Gerhard Mueller are on the list of celebrity visitors to Kerala courtesy their footballer son Thomas; filial fame is transferable I guess.
Now the UK has, for years, accounted for the largest chunk of foreign tourists visiting Kerala. So it would have been pretty meaningful and, perhaps, interesting if Kerala Tourism had told a story connecting these celebrity visits and tweets with the real leg-up they gave Kerala’s tourism sector. If they had been able to say something like: ‘OK, these celebrities from Britain visited Kerala in March last year and spoke about the great time they had here. Based on those endorsements these other folks have actually visited Kerala.’
For example, Sadie Frost sent this tweet to three of her Twitter followers/friends suggesting that they holiday in Kerala. Let’s assume that at least one of them actually took her advice and visited Kerala. What a powerful story it would have been if Kerala Tourism had tracked the response that this particular tweet evoked and had been able to say: ‘Sadie Frost’s endorsement worked because “so and so” visited Kerala on her advice.’ A real life story like that would have added so much more to the Kerala Tourism brand.
Instead you have communication that seems more vapour than water. And that’s a pity for a brand that has always done things differently.

No comments: