Social Media Flying High in the Travel Industry

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I believe that here in New England we have been blessed with a wonderful winter, with little snow and only a handful of days with temps below 20 degrees, however like many others, I still have warm, sandy beaches on my mind. It was these thoughts that led to my post today on the travel industry in social media.

Customer Service

The travel industry has always been based on great customer service, and when the industry uses social media, it keeps this mentality where the customer always comes first. One big aspect to joining the online social media community, as a business in the travel industry, is that you become susceptible to consumer reviews. The new trend with hotels and airlines is to be confident within these reviews. This means linking your website to related travel publications to show confidence and to show consumers that they are not afraid of customer reviews. Along with confidence, companies are using techniques to lead conversations on their site to avoid negative comments. Carnival Cruise line does a great job of this. http://www.facebook.com/Carnival KLM, an international airline set the customer service standard in 2011 when they promised to respond to customers within 60 minutes on both Facebook and Twitter. Delta Airlines then raised the bar when they vowed to respond to all customer inquiries within 10 minutes. By promptly responding these companies are providing fantastic customer service, which will attract new customers and keep the old. Lastly, airports are using Twitter and Facebook accounts to provide a concierge service to travelers while they are at the airport.

Promotion

Of course companies in the travel industry are using social media sites to promote their products and in return consumers can find great deals. Southwest Airlines https://www.southwest.com/flight/subscription/cns-email-subscribe.html?int=GNAVCNSDNGSWA offers a great widget that provides its customers with exclusive deals. The downloadable features allows customers to select certain cities as top destinations, and are then notified when deals come through for selected cities. Estonian Air has created a program where customers are reward for “liking” a link, sharing with friends, posting a review, booking online, sharing a flight itinerary, etc. The program, AirScore, rewards members for completing such actions. These rewards can then be used for flight discounts and Air Goodies. If you reach the top level your points can be used for free lounge access or a meet and greet with the airlines CEO. http://estonian-air.ee/en/loyalty-programme/

Innovation

Lastly, companies in the travel industry have been using social media for innovation. KLM announced at the end of 2011 that they would be releasing in early 2012 the ability to book airfare through Facebook and pick whom you would be sitting next to based on their social media account. They would allow social media users on the same flight to examine fellow travelers profiles and select who they would like to sit night to on the flight. If the other person confirmed the request, they would be placed next to one another during the flight. When the company called Finnair launched a new flight service, they attract fliers using the Angry Birds game. The customers on this flight played the fame for 15 hours and were the first to compete in the Angry Birds Asian Challenge. This not only attracted customers, but an incredible amount of media attention as well. Lastly, the airline SAS became the first airline to get its social media followers to vote and decide on one of the new routes for 2012.

Check out this link as it depicts how social media has taken off within airline companies.

http://www.hudsonhorizons.com/pub/images/howairlinesusesocialmediainfographic.jpg

Sources:

Nigam, S. (2011, December 29). Top 11 Marketing and Social Media Innovations by Airlines in 2011. Simplifying. Retrieved February 12, 2012 from http://simpliflying.com/2011/top-11-marketing-and-social-media-innovations-by-airlines-in-2011/

Nigam, S. (2011, December 29).Customer Service 2.0. Simplifying. Retrieved February 12, 2012 from http://simpliflying.com/2011/customer-service-2-0-top-10-airlines-and-airports-performing-customer-service-through-social-media/

Manzo, M. (2011, November 29). Why Airlines Are Cruising Social Media. Social Media Today. Retrieved February 12, 2012 from http://socialmediatoday.com/marymanzo/397935/why-airlines-are-cruising-social-media

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4 responses »

  1. It is interesting to read the many different ways the Travel Industry is utilizing Social Media. The Travel industry would have to take some notice as review sites pop up whether or not the company being reviewed likes it. Some in the travel industry are actually including reviews as part of their own site. For example, Starwood introduced this function in late 2011. (http://www.foxbusiness.com/travel/2011/10/24/starwood-allows-guests-to-write-hotel-reviews-directly-on-web-site/)

    Engaging Social Media at a customer service levels is important for any large company, especially one that draws such emotional responses as travel events. Responding in a timely fashion helps damage control as well as improves customer service. The Kevin Smith incident with Southwest demonstrated how fast Social Media could result in a PR crisis and also a good response by Southwest itself. (http://mashable.com/2010/02/14/southwest-kevin-smith/).

    The Travel industry is definitely showing how engaging Social Media beyond advertising and broadening overall marketing. Great example!

  2. The best reason I find for the travel industry for using social media is their customer service and the feedback option customers can use. When I travel, I always read reviews first and make my decision partly based on what others say about it. I think Southwest has a great social media campaign! The deals and promotions they offer are frequent and actually are really good deals. Customer service is a big aspect with any company, but for airlines it’s very important as there are always questions and concerns. Those companies that are the most prompt and provide sufficient answers and the ones customers will keep coming back to again and again. Great post!!

  3. This is a great post. Social Media is an important tool for the travel industry. I was interested to learn about the different ways some travel companies are using social media. I will be traveling in a couple of weeks on a Princess cruise. I thought it was really neat that Princess has a group for each one of their cruises. This has allowed me to virtually meet and greet with many of my fellow cruisemates. I am able to ask for advice or suggestions, learn about others on my cruise and engage with different people. It’s been such a great tool to use as I plan for my trip. I am not sure that Princess has done a good job promoting their cruise groups. I found a link to the group buried in an email that Princess sent me. I was surprised that this was not in a more dominant spot with a call to action in the email that Princess sent out. It would also be a good idea to promote the group on their website. Another reason why I don’t think the group is well promoted is because there is a small number of people who have actually joined the group compared to how many people are signed up for the cruise.

  4. I agree that the travel industry has embraced social and mobile media. As a personal and business traveler I am dependent on it.

    One comment might be the red font. It is hard to read.

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