ABTA’s new Advanced Social Media seminar is being held on Thursday 20 September at our offices in London Bridge. Below, event partner Four Engage discuss why travel brands should increase their knowledge of social media and how understanding new ways of using their social platforms can help build their brand and reach new and existing customers. If you would like to hear more, you can register for the event on abta.com.
Why travel brands should get a more in-depth understanding of social media to help reach their customers
Social media and travel go together like sunshine and ice cream. They were made for each other. Travellers seek recommendations and read reviews on their chosen social platform before booking and share holiday snaps of their destinations and excursions while they’re right there in the moment. Peer-peer influence is critical to a customer’s booking decision and social media is one of the main driving forces behind it.
92% of customers said they trusted social media and word of mouth more than any other kind of advertising when it came to booking a holiday (Webbed Feet). And with one in three travellers referencing social media as a main source of travel inspiration, it makes sense for travel businesses, agents, operators and tourist boards to seize the opportunity social media provides to engage those who are already actively talking about their destinations, resorts or airlines – or their competitors.
Be online when your prospects are
The importance of knowing when to be active across social is invaluable. Industry trends have highlighted peak times, with booking surges in the winter months when the UK weather inspires us all to escape. But this doesn’t mean you should switch off social activity outside of these times – your consumers don’t! Time-sensitive insights can identify when people are most likely to begin their holiday searches; your opportunity to target with an inspirational piece of content.
What people are searching for can also be identified through social listening – this can inform tailored messages to respond to these trends. Identify frequently asked questions – ‘best hotels to stay in Vegas’ or cultural ‘do I need to cover up on the beaches in Dubai?’ These are what your consumers want, authentic, local and experience based responses.
Immerse your audience
Stock photos of white sandy beaches captioned #MondayMotivation just don’t cut it like they used to. With algorithm changes across social platforms – particularly Facebook – dynamic content is leading the way.
People want that immersive experience before they even get their suitcase out of the loft. They want to know what new foods they can try, what excursions they can book and how the sand is going to feel between their toes. From video and cinemagraphs to Stories and 360 films you can entice your prospects through a digital journey, before they sign up to the real thing.
Offering a different, inspirational message across social media should be the priority for travel brands – serving the right content to the right audiences at the right times. Utilise the extensive social noise surrounding travel and let it inform your strategy not hinder it.
Listen up! Getting to know your customer types
Social media offers a window into customer preferences; their interests, their motivations and their potential barriers. Understanding what, why and when people are talking about a specific destination or resort will inform the content that is served to them. And this will differ based on what you know inspires them to take action.