Since the first travel company started posting its tours on social media, consumers started getting sneak peeks at different corners of the work and getting the travel bug. These days, we are seeing the peak of the “travel influencer” or “travel vlogger.” People like you and me who like to travel and decided to inspire others for a living.
Users also jumped onto the boat of travelling to places that’ll look good to share on social media. From researching potential travel destinations to discovering experiences from former travellers or chatting with locals for places recommendations, consumers are increasingly using social media to make informed purchases. Searching for the “most instagrammable places” replaced traditional destinations and places to see.
How can companies in the tourism industry benefit from social media? By using social media platforms wisely and creating trending hashtags on Instagram, you can make it easier for social media users to find your business.
A couple of decades ago, tourism and travel establishments used printing advertising, brochures, and magazines. Sadly, those media sometimes allow misleading advertising. I still shudder when remembering the “top hotel in Kensington” I chose on my first trip to London, unaware of the false advertising. Any unsuspecting traveller like me had no way of knowing.
Social video apps helped level the playground, and potential visitors can get reviews from previous guests. Yes, there are still scams, but they are far fewer.
Social media encourages research, and top brands use user-generated content to instill engagement from potential customers. For example, in the #inahyattworld campaign, employees would carry out random acts of hospitality and kindness for guests and post them on the brand’s social media. Guests soon joined the experience, resulting in over 99,000 images uploaded to Instagram.
97% of millennials post photos or videos of their travel experiences on social media platforms. The millennials are the traveller generation by excellence. 87% look at social media platforms for tips and travel inspiration. Over half of them use their phones to book tickets and stays, and ⅔ will be loyal to a company program that offers them rewards like cashbacks, upgrades, or discounts.
So how can a company in the travel industry market to millennials?
- Join the conversation: millennials are on social media, and you should too.
- Be mobile: Check that your application or site is in top shape for usability and user experience.
- Offer rewards: VIP experiences, discounts, and deals.
- Embrace user-generated content: encourage engagement with hashtags and social offerings on your brand’s business page.
Social media changed customer service
Consumers increasingly go to social media to communicate with brands. From questions about bookings to airing grievances, going to social media to get the brand’s attention is commonplace.
As a result, travel brands are more aware and active on social networks, responding quickly to comments and complaints. Companies use social media to improve customer relationships and increase customer retention. Organizations use social media monitoring and sentiment analysis to track their customers’ opinions.
Social media helps develop international travel markets
Social media networks offer organizations the opportunity to reach travellers from unexplored niches. For instance, attracting travellers from China requires localized websites full of information because Chinese Free Independent Travelers (FIT) usually do a lot of research online before booking a holiday.
TripAdvisor, for example, is one of the best-known travel sites popular on WeChat, connecting with over 760 million daily logged-in users.
Social media makes travel more spontaneous
Almost everybody wishes to travel when seeing a post on social media about a dream destination. The thing is, the social media travel culture is creating a need for spontaneous travelling. Weekend escapades and short trips are more common after the pandemic, and social media networks are responsible for that.
A recent AdWeek survey showed 69% of millennials regret not taking a spontaneous trip they thought about, and 87% use Facebook and Instagram to search for destinations. User-generated content is a vital part of this trend, and companies that encourage user participation with hashtags and social offerings will attract the attention of their audiences.
Social media is putting the power of travel in the hands of the traveller. Companies that want to thrive and reach consumers in this era must embrace and invest in their social media accounts. Social media networks are driving the evolution of travel marketing, where the traveller is the one that researches, promotes, and decides which destinations and organizations are a success and which are not.
Leveraging user-generated content, for example, and encouraging social sharing are ways to build brand awareness and increase customer engagement.