their children’s whereabouts abroad. It would allow an automatic E-mail to be generated to all correspondents the traveler
designates. From a direct marketer’s point of view, this is also a
great way to get additional names for EF’s database.
The highly successful EFCB program today owes 15 to 20
percent of its Web site traffic to Facebook. Because Facebook
offers a way for those traveling together to interact and get to
know one another before the trip, EF has also seen a decline
in trip cancellations. Among those joining the EF community
through Facebook, 80 percent of those people stay on the site
when they land and view more pages than just a regular user
coming to the Web site — that number is up 15 to 20 percent
since the beginning of the campaign. Finally, an EFCB Web
site visitor views an average of eight Web pages and stays for
about five minutes, 35 seconds.
Moving Forward Online
Qualman says that EF is all about the 360-degree approach
to online marketing. The group monitors its Wikipedia entry
to assure accurate information. It’s also starting to go down
the path of using tools like Digg — a Web site where people
can blog and share content found on the Web, including news
stories and videos, and then visitors rank the value of content.
For example, the more an article is “dug” on Digg, the
higher it is on the viewing list. Then the appearances on search
engines start to follow, meaning if EF is well recognized on
Digg, it will be higher ranked on the search engines.
The company is also starting to get involved with You Tube.
A recent campaign called “Life On Tour” challenged students
to submit videos stating why they want to go on an EF tour.
The contest received more than 500 entries and to make it
easiest on the students, entries could be posted on You Tube.
Even with a grim economic outlook for the rest of 2008,
EF is anticipating gains in market share. “We are the world’s
largest provider of educational travel. The way our model is set
up, it’s better to go on a trip with a group that has a relationship set up and has good contacts with hotels and airlines,” says
Looking forward, EF wants to partner with a provider for
text-to-mobile campaigns. “We can send info to a phone when
they’re in a foreign country. For instance, if they are in Italy,
we could text them a coupon for gelato,” says Qualman. Also,
Qualman foresees students being hooked up with GPS phone
systems that could track the tours at all times. The GPS could
download to Facebook, and friends could receive updates such
as “Jimmy is standing outside the Eiffel Tower.” And for Jimmy,
the student standing there, the phone could send additional
historical information about the monument itself.