Social Media has impacted the Tourism Industry in terms of (1) helping to build brand awareness, (2) potential to increase revenue and (3) customer feedback & endorsements.
There are plenty of examples of companies getting it right, but also some social media nightmares! However, the power of communications is no longer with tourism brands, it’s with its customers.
The diverse areas of social media are being used very differently by tourism businesses. In this blog I will cover some of the current trends for social media by tourism-related businesses and suggestions of how you can improve your online presence.
The main reasons why tourism companies use social media:
1. Good content: to inspire and motivate customers to buy
2. Improve searchability online: to get their brand found
3. Advertising to target audiences: to get ahead of the social ‘noise’ online
4. To build relationships and loyalty: for testimonials and repeat sales
Consumers expect to be able to talk to their brands; the relationship between brands and their consumers has moved from formal to the familiar through 2-way dialogue. Social media and messaging technology enables consumers to complete this desire for online communication.
The social media landscape is fragmented. An audience mapping process is therefore necessary to identify opportunities and the appropriate platforms that they socialise on. For example, a 35 year old female may use Facebook but a next-gen traveller could be targeted effectively on Snapchat.
Understanding your audiences’ behaviours online is the key to working out which platforms your business should operate on, and with what content.
Content Marketing & Advertising
Content is king. There is so much choice for a customer, and social media has made the options even more confusing through the increase in noise around each product option. Make sure your brand pops out of the screen by targeting content carefully to each audience-type and what their interests are.
With so much competition online, advertising in Tourism is a very effective tool. Target very carefully to ensure your money is being spent where it counts. Think (1) Demographic (2) Location (3) Desire.
User Generated Content
If you look for a holiday on the Thomas Cook website for example and see a hotel that states it has great food and beautiful views you might be slightly interested. You then check trip advisor for previous reviews of the hotel and other customers (Brand Advocates) have stated that the views are beautiful and the food is great.
You are more likely to believe a previous customer over the brand itself and therefore a review forum, or messaging platform has more power than a corporate website working alone. This has meant there is an added pressure for tourism businesses to excel at customer service to ensure customer feedback is positive. That can only be a good thing!
The key to business success through social media is providing a great service and encouraging your customers to shout about it.
Ways To Be better At Customer Service – Try Messaging Platforms
Messaging platforms are a major growth area in online communications. The success of tools like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Slack have proved there is perceived value by the customer in communicating with their brands in this form.
SMS travel services have been around for a while, but if you want to show true benefit for your travel business, first decide why you may want to use messaging platforms. Some examples are below:
- Higher conversion rate for bookings
- Positive customer experiences
- Brand loyalty
- Market research
- Repeat custom
Messaging platforms are used most by the 18-29 year old age group, so think about your target audience and match the right communication channel according to their preferences.
Opportunities for messaging your customers:
- Encourage completion of a booking
- Booking confirmation
- Tips on enjoying your service better
- Reminders of flight times/addresses
- Post-service feedback requests
Be prepared for customers to initiate conversations:
- How to use a service
- Repeat of booking confirmation
- Negative commenting
Online communications are a diverse and exciting place to be at the moment for Tourism brands. If you need assistance with your Tourism communications strategy or social media tactics, get in touch with the SocialB team and we’d be happy to talk through some options with you.