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.

Twitter’s New Targeted Advertising

twitter-bird-white-on-blueMicroblogging giant, Twitter has rolled out a new form of targeted advertising, that would allow companies to deliver \”promoted tweets\” to customers who show interest in the brand through web browsing. For instance, if a hotel brand wants to display a promotional ad on Twitter, they would prefer to show it to travel enthusiasts who have already visited their website. To give the special offers to people who are on Twitter, the brand needs to share their browser-related information, or browser cookie ID, with Twitter, via an ads partner. This information will be used to match with the Twitter accounts, so that the users, with whom the travel deal would aptly match with, will be sent a Promoted Tweet. Advertisers will only receive reports as to how many users saw or clicked on their ads, and not users\’ identities.

via Twitter’s New Targeted Advertising.

The Travel Marketing Digest – Volume III issue 4

The latest Travel Marketing Digest is now available to read.

Groupon Blinks, Airline Ancillary Revenues Double, Via Milano – innovation in airport connections, Wearable Technologies and Travel, Starwood on the Future of Hotels, Skift on Middle Eastern Airlines & Twitter, IATA Airlines Stats

via Groupon Blinks, Airline Ancillary Revenues Double, Via Milano – innovation in airport connections, Wearable Technologies and Travel, Starwood on the Future of Hotels, Skift on Middle Eastern Airlines & Twitter, IATA Airlines Stats.

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.

Top Travel Industry CEOs on Social Media – Skift

Top Travel Industry CEOs on Social Media – Skift.

Rafat Ali, Skift

For the world’s largest consumer-facing sector, you would think that the travel industry executives would be very social and outward looking. This is, after all, an industry built on hospitality. Think again.

Turns out among the legions of big travel companies across all its subsectors, the CEO and leaders of these companies very rarely go off track from traditional corporate channels of communication. A select few of them are on social media, and even fewer have a meaningful presence — communicating with and responding to customers and peers in travel —  in the various social channels.

Part of it has to do with the top leadership among top companies in travel: it still is an old white-boys club, for most part, at least in U.S. and Europe, and very few of them are tech savvy themselves. The more practical reason is that most of the large travel companies are public companies, with lots of financial regulations inhibiting the free form of communication that social media allows

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