Calling all travel buffs! Does Social Media Matter when it comes to booking travel?
This blog post focuses on the social media utilization of two popular American travel booking sites: Expedia.com and Orbitz.com. There are so many booking agencies out there, travel sites need to really differentiate themselves from the competition through social media. From what I’ve seen Expedia’s “Where you book matters” slogan is apparent when viewing their social media involvement and I think that they have somewhat one-upped Orbitz.
Throwback Thursday is a popular hashtag on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Expedia recently came up with a social media project to transform peoples old vacation photos to recent photos (Expedia, n.d.). You first have to follow Expedia, then hashtag their hashtag #throwmeback. Expedia’s goal is to bring back feelings of nostalgia and realize that your family should be creating these memories by traveling, particularly with Expedia. This is a way for them to gain new customers and followers at the same time by creating buzz by using these hashtags on social media sites.
Expedia’s main mission using social media seems to be connecting with potential customers and inspiring their travel. Expedia also uses the hashtag #ExpediaChat to just chat and connect with it’s customers and followers. Their blog- http://viewfinder.expedia.com/ is written by travel bloggers and inspires customers to book travel, while being user friendly and interesting. Expedia’s twitter account posts photos of travel and hashtags with a bigger scale of winning amounts, and many tweets are responses to users of Expedia having trouble.
A few years back Expedia had a social media campaign with another big giveaway of a trip of a lifetime for the contest submitter and 5 friends. As friends shared with other friends in order to win, Expedia increased their Facebook fan base by 750%, and attained 1 million fans in six weeks (Expedia Soars, n.d.).
From what I see, Orbitz does not have as strong social media strategy. Orbitz has a Twitter campaign going called #ask orbitz in order to win Orbucks aka money to use on their site. It has some potential to attract followers. Orbitz’s twitter account managers also seem to post a lot of pics to encourage travel (Orbitz, n.d.). Orbitz Twitter account is more focused on getting the deals out there for potential customers to see and small contests. The site also has as travel blog – Orbitz Travel Blog but to me it is not as appealing as a traveler with photos and articles written by employees like Expedias.
I think that Orbitz is using social media to get their deals out there for customers to respond to, but overall I think Expedia does a better job of using social media as a two way communication channel between their customers and company. Expedia uses large prize packages as incentives to follow their pages, has a excellent and captivating travel blog, as well as fun and interactive games and chat times for followers. This brings them closer to their goals of connecting with customers. Orbitz seems to use the social media outlets more for promoting deals that are currently on their site.
Orbitz. (n.d.). Offical Twitter Account. Retrieved September 9, 2014, from https://twitter.com/Orbitz