Social media are playing an increasingly important role as information sources for travelers and travel agencies. Social media including Twitter, Facebook, etc today is redefining the way travel companies promote to consumers and business prospects. Chunk of travel companies are deliberately utilizing media like Facebook, to reach out to customers in a more cost-effective manner. Gathering feedback on travel products and packages through social media is an influential tool to help a business thrive by adapting to what exactly the consumer wants. For instance, registering in a social network like Facebook or Twitter or any other travel discussion forum allows you to identify questions and concerns about your company and brands. The biggest plus is that you will know what is being discussed about your business and your brand through your social media involvement. You will have the chance to get to know your customers better and gain valuable consumer insights from them.
The strategy to pull out information from social media sites can be multifaceted. Here, I suggest a few strategies for pulling out customer experiences and other relevant information from social media.
Strategy 0: For travel companies, the opportunity for prospective/existing travelers to communicate with each other, discuss their experiences, plan their trips together, etc is immense. While the travel company plays a role in terms of providing the platform, they can always pick up useful information on preferred destinations, accommodation choices, destinations, etc, and customize packages for each of the individuals/groups. This would help build a stronger two way connect between the travel company and the travelers.
Strategy 1:While social media sites like Twitter is good for specific keyword searches such as hotel rates and airline fares, Facebook is based upon searches of the Groups pages, which can range from a hotel to a restaurant to even an airline. This could get you a lot of information at your fingerprint. Thorn Tree Travel Forum is a community of Lonely Planet, where the Lonely Planet travel community gets together to exchange travel information, hints and tips. Following such communities and social media sites will enable you gather plentiful of information, which you use to do away with the shortcomings of your products and come up meeting consumer expectations.
Strategy 2: Sites such as TripAdvisor, VirtualTourist.com allow travelers to connect with each other and offer advice, tell any news in the travel industry, and tell their travel experiences. There are other generic sites like MouthShut which carries buzz virtually on anything including travel product. Both travel agencies and travelers alike can use discussions on travel related topics for relevant info and use them for their benefit.
Strategy 3:Blogs are just other unique way to get travel information. Dedicated travel bloggers in blog sites likes travelblog.org, everything-everywhere.com, etc share their experiences, and opinions about travel in their blogs. Both travel agencies and end users can bank upon those online buzz to gather information. Also, social media sites today offer personalized results which both travel agencies and backpackers equally cash in on for information.
Strategy 4:Social media sites are affluent with consumer reviews and user generated content, which hoteliers, travel package providers can cash in on to get themselves abreast with views of users, customers, their likings and disliking.
Strategy 5:Crisis like flesh flood, Tsunami, and terrorism always affect the travel business. The travel industry has to face these disasters and their aptitude to covenant with these crisis scenarios rapidly is critical to their success. Travel agencies can scout through online buzz to be aware of natural calamities before they come up with a holiday in the affected region.