This week, we’re taking a look at the influence of social media on destination marketing.

A number of perceived missteps by Rhode Island’s tourism board have lead to a vigorous online debate about the marketing best practices for such organizations. And while there’s still no secret formula for such efforts, it’s become clear that social media can quickly make or break the success of such campaigns, something other Destination Marketing Organization managers would be wise to keep in mind for future rollouts.

Key Takeaways from Rhode Island’s Recent Tourism Debacle
Rhode Island’s tourism board is in the midst of a marketing crisis, stemming from a recent video campaign and the unveiling of a poorly received logo. While plenty of analysts have stepped in to explain what went wrong, some are pointing to the campaign’s poor reception on social media as a key point of failure. While there’s no magic formula for creating successful “place branding” campaigns, the state’s missteps reinforce the importance of winning over online communities as well as potential tourists. Read more

Examining the Potential Impact of Chatbots for the Travel Industry
Skift has been writing a lot about messaging apps in recent months, but perhaps the sector’s most important news is yet to come. Next week promises to be an interesting moment for the messaging industry, as Facebook is expected to announce a new “app store” for its Messenger platform, allowing developers to release new chat-based services that will let users do everything from book flights to order food. Read more

Travel Advertisers Slow Bidding on Google AdWords Following Format Changes
Search marketing has long been the bread and butter of many travel executives’ online advertising budgets. But a recent change in how Google displays text ads in search results has been keeping some travel spenders on the sidelines. According to a recent study of bidding on travel industry keywords, Google’s decision to remove ads from the “right rail” of search results has lead to a reduction in keyword competition and a slight increase in cost-per-click (CPC) rates. Read more

Air France Offers Discounts to Lure Young Travelers Back to the Skies
Business has been tough the last few years for the “flag carriers” of Europe like Air France. As low cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet eat into their market share, and more travelers utilize transport alternatives like high-speed rail, it’s become difficult to stay profitable. Air France is making an effort to lure younger travelers back to the skies, launching a new discount card program available for travelers between the ages of 12-24 on domestic flights. Read more

Ranking the World’s Most Digital-Savvy Luxury Hotels
As the high-end hotel market gets more competitive, properties are testing all kinds of new initiatives to lure guests. However, one marketing channel that doesn’t always get as much attention with luxury properties is digital. A recent review of various luxury hotel chains’ digital efforts sheds some light on who’s winning the race for the industry’s increasingly digital-savvy customers. Read more

Booking.com Announces New Digital Agency of Record
This week, online travel advertising heavyweight Booking.com announced the appointment of AnalogFolk as its new digital agency of record. The independent shop will be responsible for Booking.com’s footprint for activity such as brand activation, social media, content marketing and data intelligence. AnalogFolk will work alongside other Booking.com partners, including Wieden + Kennedy and Mindshare. Read more

Photo Credit: Rhode Island is facing an online backlash over its new tourism campaign and logo. AP Photo