How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 12/29/2014

How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 by Jan Rezab, Media Post December 29

social-media21Social media has transformed the way customers speak with brands. Among its many benefits, social media has created a place for customers and clients to reach brands easily and quickly at any time of the day. With this great power in communication comes great responsibility for travel companies. That mass of people — which can turn into millions during a crisis — expects a response to each individual issue and question. But social isn’t, and shouldn’t be viewed as, a burden. It should be looked at as an almost-limitless end of possibilities.

Good companies continually show their customers they value them, and social media is a great place to do this. As customer care increasingly moves to public venues, it is blurring the lines between marketing, communications, and customer service. Digital marketers can use social to greatly improve the customer experience and build loyalty with fans like never before. Here are a few simple ways travel marketers need to be thinking about social customer care in 2015…

Actively Encourage Feedback

Social media gives you the ability to listen into a wide array of people — from your die-hard fans to your rarely vocal customers. In a way, it’s sort of like a giant focus group that you can access anytime.

Make it easy for your customers to talk to you. Most social customer care happens on Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, travel brands are making many mistakes when it comes to optimizing their profiles on these platforms to encourage conversation.

On Facebook, it’s imperative that travel brands open their walls in order for people to post on their timelines. This year, our data suggested that 30% of airlines globally still have closed walls on Facebook. A closed wall automatically makes it difficult for customers to voice their feedback and means a lot of missed opportunities for your brand.

On Twitter, we encourage travel brands to provide customer support from their main Twitter profile, instead of making a separate customer support profile. This allows consumers to easily direct their questions to the right place. Still, this can be difficult for many companies to do for a number of reasons, so if a company must create two handles, it’s important to list out the customer care profile on the main profile page. Turkish Airlines is a good example of a brand that does this by linking to their support handle, @TK_HelpDesk, on their main handle, @TurkishAirlines.

Be Prompt

For travelers, time is of the essence. Think of customers traveling by plane; a good chunk of their questions are going to be about their flight that’s coming up shortly. That means they’ll need quick help and a quick response from their airline should they post or tweet a question.

Unfortunately, not all companies are punctual in providing service on social. In fact, we found that the average brand takes 33 hours to respond to customer inquiries, if they respond at all. That’s a huge amount of time for customers who don’t have the luxury of waiting around for an answer.

Travel brands need to make sure they’re equipped to provide quick service. One easy way to prepare for this is to do an analysis of the type of questions your company is receiving on social media. Many times, companies will find that the bulk of questions are about the same recurring topics. Companies can then set up procedures on how to deal with these main topics, which makes responding to them easier.

For example, when we took a look at a sample of questions directed at U.S. airline brands, we found that one of the most-used keywords was “delayed.” This tells us that many inquiries were about flight delays, which means an airline company would probably benefit from having a quick procedure to deal with questions about delays.

Show Up and Respond

It’s important that your customers know you’re dependable. This means taking the first step to show up and respond. Leaving questions unacknowledged is a big problem for both customers and brands.

Some brands hold themselves accountable to a certain standard in customer care. For example, Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) provides an estimated wait time for responses on their Twitter profile. This gives customers a sense of when they can expect a response, and it holds KLM to their promise to provide that response as soon as they can.

In Q3 2014, we found that 10% of brands received 65% of all questions asked of brands on Facebook and Twitter. Customers start asking brands more questions and interacting with them more when they know that those brands will respond. The more companies respond, they more interaction and dialogue they’ll spark with their fans.

As the holiday rush slows down, the first weeks of 2015 provide a great opportunity for travel brands to look at what worked and what didn’t over the hectic holiday season and start the new year off on the right foot. Coming into the new year, it’s time for travel marketers to really get serious about providing optimal customer care on social media. The more activity marketers encourage with their customers, the more dependable the brand becomes for them. And in the competitive landscape of the travel industry, those that show their customers they care and build brand loyalty will win out.

via How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 12/29/2014.

Abu Dhabi hotel ratings to go social in 2014 | HotelierMiddleEast.com

Abu Dhabi skyline

Abu Dhabi skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feb 24, 2014

Abu Dhabi may soon become the first tourism authority to integrate social media ratings into its official hotel classification system, as the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) works to stress the importance of social media to the UAE capital’s hotels.

TCA Abu Dhabi, which has been working on a new set of hotel classification guidelines since the authority’s rebranding from the old Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) in February 2013, is considering monitoring hotel social media ratings and using them to hold operators accountable for bad reviews and negative feedback.

It has also revealed plans to introduce a new category for the emirate’s hotels, specifically for hotels and resorts which are deemed to be outside the normal five-star criteria.

When approached by Hotelier Middle East, a TCA Abu Dhabi spokesperson said: “TCA Abu Dhabi is currently revising its accommodation classification system and an upgraded version will be launched early in the New Year and social media use may form part of the criteria for some categories.

“As an authority we are fully behind the use of social media in promoting a destination and we are also in the process of compiling a guide to social media promotion for use by our stakeholders,” they added.

This potential move by TCA Abu Dhabi follows in the footsteps of the Organisation of German Hotels and Restaurants (DEHOGA) and Hotelleriesuisse, the Swiss hotel industry parent organisation, who have both used social media analysis to influence hotel star classification.

However, TCA Abu Dhabi would become the first tourism authority to adopt the same system and integrate social media reviews into an official classification system.

Social Strikes Back

The rising importance o

f social media and guests reviews in the Middle East hospitality industry has been mirrored by the increasing prominence of user generated reviews on social media sites Facebook and Google.

One recent change was the Facebook’s decision to move its user review and rating system for public places, businesses, and organizations so that it is visible just below each page title.

When approached by Hotelier for comment, a spokesperson from Facebook said: “Currently people can sort by star ratings when they are using the ‘nearby’ feature on a mobile. For example, if they are looking for restaurants close to their location they have the option to arrange by star rating.

“Currently page administrators can manage their pages and deal with spam comments by removing them and banning the posters. In the case of genuine negative reviews, we would advise companies to seek to address their customers’ complaints,” they added.

via Abu Dhabi hotel ratings to go social in 2014 | HotelierMiddleEast.com.

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The Impact Of Social Media In The Travel Marketing Industry – Part Two – Forbes

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CMO NETWORK | 2/19/2014 @ 11:48AM

About two weeks ago I scribed a piece entitled The Impact Of Social Media In The Travel Marketing Industry. The piece touched on some statistics re: the prevailing use of social media among travelers and on one campaign in particular from Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

Naturally me being me, and always wanting to learn more, I set out to see what else was cooking in the world of travel marketing and its use of social media.

Virgin America launches first in-flight social network

That was the headline of an article on boston.com not long ago.

‘Wow, the first in-flight social network’ I thought to myself. This sounds cool and I need to investigate, which I did.

What I found was this new social media network, which will begin rolling out on all domestic Virgin America flights by the end of February, and will allow passengers to connect via their LinkedIn connections with passengers on their specific flight, guests on other Virgin America flights in the air, or fellow travelers at their destination.

In a shining example of a brand actually listening to its customers, Luanne Calvert, Virgin America’s Chief Marketing Officer, said the genesis of this idea came from passengers themselves.

“When we surveyed our business travelers, we were surprised to learn that the ability to connect with other Virgin America travelers in-flight or en route to a destination was a frequent request,” said Calvert. “ The best business connections often happen unexpectedly, and we’ve heard many stories of partnerships and start-up ideas being born on our flights.”

via The Impact Of Social Media In The Travel Marketing Industry – Part Two – Forbes.

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How U.S. Travelers Use Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] | Travel Research – Industry Events – PhoCusWright Conference

Medium

Advances in technology and increasingly sophisticated social platforms have made it easier than ever for today’s travelers to engage online. From posting travel reviews to interacting with travel brands online and sharing trip experiences through their favorite online networks, travelers are making the most of social media. Now an integral part of the online travel ecosystem, consumers are not just participating, but are actively shaping the travel search, shop, buy and share experience.

Learn more with PhoCusWright’s upcoming Special Project, Social Media in Travel: Mayhem, Myths, Mobile & Money.

via How U.S. Travelers Use Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] | Travel Research – Industry Events – PhoCusWright Conference.

Facebook Advertising For the Travel Vertical – Business 2 Community

Facebook Advertising For the Travel Vertical – Business 2 Community

As social media continues to grow exponentially in adoption, consumers will increasingly seek recommendations from their social networks on travel purchase decisions. The influence of customer recommendations on social media channels cannot be underestimated by marketers. According to PhoCusWright’s Social Media in Travel 2012, more than 75% of travelers use social networks to find some type of shopping-related deal, while 30% specifically seek out travel-related deals. It is clear that succeed in this evolving social ecosystem, businesses travel industry will need to cultivate positive customer experiences that can be translated into efficient marketing opportunities through Social Media.

Below are five quick tips marketers in the Travel vertical for how to use Facebook and other social media to turn your customers into your greatest marketing asset:
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/facebook/facebook-advertising-for-the-travel-vertical-0564774#oqEpmVHlxZzIgfB4.99

via Facebook Advertising For the Travel Vertical – Business 2 Community.

Digital Marketing – Can Travel Advisors Achieve Sales Through Social Media? | Travel Agent Central

Digital Marketing – Can Travel Advisors Achieve Sales Through Social Media? | Travel Agent Central.

Jet Set World Travel Owner Julia Douglas is a staunch believer in social media, particularly Facebook, Twitter and, increasingly, Instagram, the photo-sharing site. The Chicago agency actively maintains its own Facebook page and Twitter account, while its seven individual travel advisors have their own individual pages and accounts.

She and other agency owners have been pondering how – and whether – to make the jump from using social media primarily as an informational tool to something more aggressive, promotional and clearly intended to generate revenue. While they’re not opposed to producing more income, they worry that a more aggressive strategy could alter the style and culture of their agencies as they seek that delicate balance between soft sell versus hard sell.

Facebook travel marketing

Facebook travel marketing.

Posted by , Sr. Product Manager at Marin Software.

online travelOver the past year, signs of global economic recovery have brought optimism to marketers across key consumer-based industries. In particular, the travel industry has seen signs of growth from a number of trends including reduced unemployment rates, increased disposable income, and improved consumer optimism.

News | MMGY Global | Integrated Travel Marketing | Facebook\’s Continued Moves in Travel

MMGY Global | Integrated Travel Marketing | Facebook\’s Continued Moves in Travel.

A very interesting review of Facebook in the travel sector in PDF form presented by MMGY Global.

The travel marketing funnel is broken, says Brian Solis | Tnooz

The travel marketing funnel is broken, says Brian Solis | Tnooz.

“For instance, connected consumers are less influenced by the big broadcast and print campaigns traditionally used to capture people at the top of the funnel, and are more influenced by social media recommendations, such as maybe a fun YouTube video someone shares with them.”
Read more at http://www.tnooz.com/2013/07/16/news/the-travel-marketing-funnel-is-broke/#etfvMPjuLk0fS5mr.99