Future Implications

A lot has changed with social media since it originated and it will only continue to change and progress. Companies have to roll with the changes or they will be stuck forever behind the competition. Social media will only continue to increase as a vital part of a company’s makeup.

7912618_f260With the presence of ever changing technology and social media, human behavior has come to expect certain things. In order to stay ahead and competitive, companies must learn to adapt. Smart phones and tablets are everywhere. Instant gratification and instant access to everything is now the norm. We are always connected or wired.

Technology enables us to access any piece of information in seconds and because of this human behavior expects instant gratification. Companies will have to up their response time to consumers. Consumers have flocked to social media for their voice for complaints. A recent study by Simply Measured showed that only 30% of brands have a dedicated customer service handle on Twitter. The average response time currently is 5.1 hours. Only 10% of companies are answering within one hour (1). If this doesn’t change, companies will see more unhappy customers, a loss of sales, and public shaming on social media. Consumers have high expectations. 53% of consumers expect a response and that percentage jumps to 72% when they have a complaint (2). Response time is key. Companies will have to invest in 24/7 monitoring.

Ten years ago we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. Can you imagine what we will have in another ten years? New platforms will pop up and they will need to be evaluated. Social media isn’t going anywhere. It’s only going to increase and companies need to prepare for it.

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The World Isn’t Flat…

A very large percentage of people are engaging in some sort of social media platform. Because of this, it has caused a revolution in marketing. You must go where the people are, correct? Right!

The travel industry is no exception. It was discovered by research provided by eMarketer 2013 that one-fifth of leisure travelers use some form of social media to inspire them for travel plans. The research showed four areas where social media helped travellers: hotels (23%), vacation activities (22%), attractions (21%), and restaurants (17%).  What was the number one social media platform used? Facebook (In Asia-Pacific, Social Media Inspires Travelers, 2013).

Using Twitter to Engage

Hotel chains are branching out on their traditional marketing. It’s no longer just a coupon in the interstate visitor’s center rack card. A famous hotel brand, the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, knew that something different needed to be done with marketing and social media. One of their ideas was a virtual wine tasting paired with an in-person wine tasting. Can’t attend the event in person? No problem, follow it on Twitter. Tweetup attendees were given a list of the wines that would be tasted so they could comment during the one-hour session with the top Four Seasons sommeliers. The Four Season Hotel & Resorts took an event that in the past was always an in-person event and made it possible for people around the world to attend online.

Twitter Screenshot

@VisitBritain

Tourism industries for countries have found use on Twitter. Different Twitter accounts offer tips for visiting their country, post photos, and answer questions for travelers. They’ve teamed up with different travel magazines and websites promoting deals to their country while also engaging the consumers with games and trivia. @VisitBritain is a great example of a Twitter account that does all of these things. They actively answer questions from consumers, post photos that show all of the great things of their country, and tweet deals on plane tickets, discounted travel tours, and more.

Facebook Works for Travel Agents

World Travel Facebook

World Travel Facebook

It’s not only big chains that are using social media in the travel industry. Travel agents are now building trust through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook.  Facebook pages have become quite popular for travel agents. The pages allows consumers to ask travel agents questions and to view their current deals.

 

By posting photos of different places, travel agents can encourage consumers to add items to their bucket lists. Another item that has been received well is offering safety tips in different countries. All of these items: deals, tips, and FAQs builds a relationship with the consumer. So instead of booking online themselves, they will go to the travel agents with whom they trust.

The travel industry has proven to be resilient with the ever-evolving social media. Social media provides quick access to people’s opinions. They must stay vigilant (not to sound too corny) to reviewing posts on social media platforms about what people are saying about them. Good news spreads fast but bad reviews spread even faster.

References:

In Asia-Pacific, Social Media Inspires Travelers. (2013, January 15). – eMarketer. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Asia-Pacific-Social-Media-Inspires-Travelers/1009605