Being social is a way of life. People love to share ideas, thoughts and opinions with each other, and in the social media world- especially opinions. However, this isn’t the only reason a brand in the travel industry should be very present in the social media world.
As I’ve stated in previous posts, people are more likely to book travel based on other friends and peer recommendations than any other reason. If their friends don’t have a social media outlet to voice their opinions, potential customers may not choose your airline or hotel.
Customers also want the comfort of a social media account to get in touch with the company quickly and easily in the moment when something goes wrong. Take for instance this example: @AmericanAir: having trouble checking in. Tried “click to talk” 5 times + simply disconnected. please help! —@JCreatureTravel. The result for the Twitter user was that an American Airlines agent got in touch and resolved the passenger’s complicated ticketing issue (Samiljan, 2012).
Travel social media sites and blogs know that someone is going to give their brand negative feedback at some point. Brands can actually use this information to improve themselves, and create a game plan to try to keep the bad experience or service from happening again. If they can’t keep it from happening again, try to improve upon their customer service and image.
There’s also always a push to be visible to your target audience, and social media keep sales and promotions visible to the customer every time they check their newsfeed, account, etc. Using social media is a way to amplify your brand’s word of mouth. Social travel applications and sites keep evolving, so the travel industry needs to be online and aware of these new sites that pop up. A popular site is Gogobot, a website and iPhone app that will send your queries about a specific place to your Twitter and Facebook networks and even the site’s own members (Smiljan, 2012). Friends that have checked in on Facebook or Twitter also show up on the pages of places and hotel they have been too.
Social media also helps brand’s develop and execute innovative marketing campaigns. The most innovative traveling social media marketing I’ve seen is from Cape Town Tourism. Capetown Tourism held a contest for user’s Facebook page to have a holiday in South Africa. The winners who entered had daily photos and videos posted on their wall. They even recieved gifts from the places their Facebook page went to. These users’ friends all viewed the information on their news feed while liking and commenting on it, and thought their friends were actually in Cape Town. Some luckily winners were actually flown to South Africa to experience the vacation in person. This is GENIUS, since online friends are often influenced to book travel depending on where their peers have visited. The marketing campaign was a hit, and helped Cape Town Tourism win the Best Overall Use of Social Media Award (Convention and Visitors Bureau) at the 2013 Travel + Leisure Social Media Awards. Through the campaign, tourist numbers in Cape Town rose by 4% (Athenkosi, 2014). What an interactive, fun campaign!
Athenkosi. (2014, January 10). 6 innovative social media campaigns from the travel industry. – Springnest Blog. Retrieved February 23, 2014, from http://springnest.com/blog/social-media-travel-marketing/
Samiljan, T. (n.d.). How Social Media Is Changing the Travel Industry. Travel + Leisure. Retrieved February 23, 2014, from http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/how-social-media-is-changing-the-travel-industry/2