Social Media Evolution in Travel Marketing
The limitless opportunities offered by social media has led to the emergence of new growth in the existing travel sector through the culmination of brand-advocating influencers, hashtag communities, and FOMO (fear of missing out). So what does this mean for your travel club or business?
Various social media platforms continue to garner the attention of users contributing to volumes of information about new travel destinations. As a result, the offline world is witnessing an upsurge in destination marketing. This is coming as a significant marketing opportunity for travel brands and travel clubs. Needless to say, social media and digital marketing are a match made in heaven for travel distributors and those offering vacation deals.
For starters, word-of-mouth (or word-of-profile?) marketing has been the most effective form of marketing in the travel sector. People love sharing their experiences on social media especially about travel. The networked process of innovation is influencing purchase decisions from start to finish. Major travel brands love to communicate with their customers and market to the target demographic via social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – the Big 3 social networks – allow brands to run ads using pictures and videos to capture the imagination of travelers, unlike any advertisement ever could. Peer recommendations, reviews on social media, hashtag trends and travel visuals get people thinking about the destination and lure them to live the same experience.
Therefore, social media is now playing a pivotal role in the travel sphere especially in the inspiration phase. The brands can, however, learn to harness and boost the content to help people convert. According to the latest Kleiner report, the number of internet users has surpassed half of the world population at 3.6B and still counting. About 87% of US millennials discovered a brand first time through Facebook while 59% did via Pinterest or Instagram. (Source) Savvy travel marketers have embraced social media more than just a marketing tool. Social media platforms such as Facebook pages and Instagram allow for direct communication for improved customer support. Brands are using influencer marketing to make destination marketing more appealing with high-quality pictures and videos.
Let us discuss how your brand can utilize social media to create destination marketing framework to leave potential travelers spoilt for choice and up the conversion rates –
- Brand identity development – Brands can market specific destination via personal experience or external sources to appeal to a specific demographic or type of traveler. Social media aids in changing the conceived perception of a destination, maximize its visibility in the eyes of the appropriate customer and put a modern spin on the destination’s image for effective brand positioning.
- Research and sharing – 89% of millennials make their travel plans based on peer recommendations and online reviews. (Source) Travelers go to online sites for destination research, attain genuine reviews, check-ins, ratings and more. Millennials have their social feed dominated by travel pictures and videos, building an influential network of peer-to-peer content to inspire potential consumers.
- Marketing performance measurement and tracking – The quantitative social media platform metrics such as likes, shares, retweets, and comments help travel marketers to gauge the overall sentiment and influence. Such analysis help brand to reshape their marketing strategy and effectively boost their conversion in terms of the rigor of social media activity measurement.
- Changing loyalty programs – The loyalty program members love to post about their travel experience in exchange for loyalty points and benefits. Using hashtag tracking, it is easier for hotels to search for guests and reward them accordingly. Integrating social media into the loyalty program tiers encourage brand promotions and referrals. It can be leveraged to increase brand loyalty and build positive brand awareness.
- Prompt customer service – The brands that respond to consumer complaints in a sincere manner and adept at addressing them with instant solutions help customers feel valued and create an exceptional brand experience.