Social media has changed the way businesses communicate with their target audience and promote their products and services. It has made an impact on every industry you can think of and travel and tourism is no exception. Whether you want to do your research on potential places you might want to visit or want to read reviews from tourists who have been there, all the information is not at your fingertips.
Here are some of the ways in which social media has completely transformed the travel industry.
1. Research Made Simple
As mentioned before, one of the biggest impact social media has made on travel is on travel research. Now, you can read reviews from frequent travelers and know as much as you want about a particular travel destination you are planning to travel to or an activity you want to perform such as desert safari in Dubai. The content posted by friends on social media related to their travel experience can prove to be vital and help you make the right decision. Finding other travelers’ photos, check ins, reviews and ratings is not a problem anymore. You can also connect with travelers on social media and get real feedback from them as they share their personal experiences with you.
2. Improved Customer Service
There has been a major shift in tourism industry when it comes to deliver customer service and ensure customer satisfaction. With both travel companies and travelers riding on social media bandwagon, companies are looking to deliver customer support through social media. Just post your feedback, question or query and the social media department of the travel company will respond to your concerns. They will constantly take your feedback and ask travelers how they can improve their travel experience.
JetBlue addresses flight issues and keep their passengers informed about everything from flight delays to cancelled flights using social media. Travel companies should use social media as a mode to humanize their brand and connect with their target audience instead of bombarding users with offers.
3. Evolution of Loyalty Programs
Loyalty program have always been an integral part of tourism business model. After the advent of social media, there have been a major shift in how loyalty programs are created. The information you share with your friends and family members on social media about a travel company can make a big impact. Word of mouth marketing still works.
Hotels will reward loyal guests by promoting them into higher tier for exchange of promoting their brands on social media. The same goes true for Dubai yacht rental companies. You can also avail discounts and make the most of benefits brand’s loyalty program. This can encourage others to participate as well and soon your social media campaign can go viral. Travel companies can build a positive brand image by harnessing the power of social media, which would help them increase brand loyalty.
4. New Face For Travel Agencies
Travel agencies use to function differently before social media burst on to the scene. After its inception, travel agencies have used it as a tool to deliver information and make it easy for travelers to perform self service bookings. Another change that social media brought was that travel agencies have to shift their focus from brick and mortar store to a more tech savvy one.
Despite all the technological advancements, travel agencies are still an integral part of tourism industry as they account for 55% of all airline bookings. That is not all, they have a 77% share in cruise bookings and responsible for 73% of package bookings. All these statistics clearly shows that travel agencies are not dead and are here to stay but they have to shift their focus on deliver exceptional online experiences, respond quickly to market trends and adapt to new technology to stay relevant in today’s digital age.
5. Social Sharing
With mobile devices and mobile internet at our disposal all the time, we tend to capture moments and share them on social media. Social media is filled with such photos and videos and you can get a better idea about a destination by looking at its pictures and videos. Many resorts and hotels are running social contests and campaigns to take credit for social activity.
One great example is of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants who used guests wedding photos to promote their wedding venues online. Their campaign encourage guest to take photos and share with the Kimpton hashtags. This way, they have created user generated content for brand which was free.
How has social media transformed travel industry?
Nicky is a content & social media marketing strategist at Oasispalm – a Desert Safari in Dubai. She loves to travel the world and share my travel experiences with the world.