Online Travel Agents (OTA) have been making the most of the online platform. The ease of planning an entire trip sitting in the comfort of one’s home, has propelled many travelers to seriously consider opting for planning their itinerary online.
OTAs have been adding services. Be it pick-up & drop from the airport or sightseeing avenues or even getting local deals at discounted rates, these online travel marketers have left no stone unturned. However, with the rapid growth of travel companies offering similar deals, many travel facilitators have now started facing issues with excessive competition.
This is where Social Media has come to the rescue. In a world dominated by these social networks, opinions, view-points & experiences shared by common people, about these companies, travel at a much higher speed than any other form of mass communication. Even if Travel Company does not take any proactive action, its reputation is bound to be built in these virtual worlds. Now, whether that reputation is for good or bad, will certainly depend on what actions it has chosen to take.
In this regards SimplyFlying in partnership with Eyefortravel, has come up with an interesting infographic which attempts to shed light on the company-user interaction via the Social Media platform.
Where: As with all things pertaining to social interaction, people as well as travel companies feel Facebook (85%) & Twitter (79%) followed by Youtube (44%) offer the best platform for interaction & getting business. Additionally, over 60% of those surveyed were confident of the conversions to booking rate via Facebook.
Who: Since GPS assisted location-aware services are truly the next wave of future, companies like Foursquare, a social check-in app, is the desired platform where the travel companies want to spread their wings. Over 50% of the companies expressed their desire to make their presence felt in such services.
On What: Travel companies have correctly identified the ubiquitous mobile phone to be the true driver of next phase of business. But surprisingly, a very high majority (56%), of the Travel Brands, still do not have a mobile-optimized website, let alone a mobile app. Still, on a positive note, more than half of the brands feel they have unlocked useful data to measure ROI on their mobile strategies as against general social media strategies.
How: Interestingly, people, without the aid of websites or apps still use their mobile phones not only before (34%), but during (27%), immediately after purchase (20%) & post-travel (11%) too. This useful insight should be an eye-opener for these companies, who will now be clamoring to offer portals & apps that enhance the user experience & offer every imaginable convenience.
The Money Angle: Though Social Networks seem all fun & games it is hardly so, for companies who have to keep a close watch on their expenditure on building a brand on these hangouts & subsequently ensure people not only talk about them, but make a purchase too. Incidentally, till date ‘Brand Building’ has been the primary goal of the travel companies. Maintaining reputation, garnering more customers, offering Customer Service all come later. Unsurprisingly, making a direct sale is not at all, on the main agenda list.
One fact is for sure, Online Travel will continue to gain prominence & the sooner these companies tailor their social media campaigns, the better will their ROIs be. What do you think?
April 22, 2013, 5:55 am UTC
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