Social Media Trends Continue to Redefine Global Travel in 2013
Social media has made a huge impact on essentially every major industry across the world, and the travel industry is no exception. Travel and tourism depends heavily on the use of word-of-mouth in spreading opinions and offering recommendations. In recent years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become extremely valuable platforms for engaging such interaction amongst travelers. Social travelers are trusting earned media ahead of paid media, which focuses on social recommendations from peers, family and friends. Consumers are trusting the opinions of the masses and this should be the first step of all online brands towards increasing customer acquisition in 2013.
A great example of this is a 2012 promotion run by Finnair in which they recruited “real people” via social channels to help evaluate the airline and offer suggestions on how to improve service. The effort reached more than 15 million people, one of the travel industry’s largest crowdsourcing campaigns. Marketing experts tell us time and time again not to underestimate the value of social media channels for our businesses. If your business is not out there engaging in social channels, you’re missing the most important conversations. Another travel company that is ahead of the curve in terms of social media strategy is Wimdu.co.uk. With over 70% of the internet population using social networking sites, Wimdu make sure to offer a fresh, interactive and engaging social media platform, encouraging users to post photos and share travel tips and ideas. Wimdu earned some fantastic brand recognition when running a fun and engaging campaign during the summer Olympics. Forgoing overused and sterile campaigns of others offering ‘Olympic Discounts”, one enterprising Wimdu host turned his taxi into a modern room for one, offering accommodation and travel on request around London. This was a cleverly executed campaign demanded both online and offline media coverage.
Another captivating social media campaign was that of Hertz car rental in which a quiz divided their Facebook fans into two personality types: Gas (exciting and adventurous) or Brake (reserved, more of a planner). Users could also label their friends as Gas or Brake, which added a viral element. This campaign increased their social media interaction overnight and got them a nomination alongside Air New Zealand in the 2012 in the Social Media in Tourism and Travel Awards.
Air New Zealand. Via Instagram.
Wimdu is only in existence 2 short years but have already earned themselves a well-deserved reputation as a major player in the online travel industry. Their strategy is simple, Wimdu connect travelers to accommodation hosts in over 150,000 properties worldwide. Wimdu are experiencing great success since their launch in 2011. Wimdu was founded by Arne Bleckwenn and Hinrich Dreiling, two close friends who met each other at university and who had successfully founded two companies together before establishing Wimdu. Both keen travelers, the pair had become increasingly dissatisfied with expensive, anonymous hotels. As an alternative, they found that guests were choosing private rentals – a concept which offered guests cheaper, more personal accommodation options and an overall more authentic holiday experience. It is this authentic experience that is paving the way for global travelers worldwide. The trends have shifted dramatically in recent years and the days of queuing in your local travel agency are all but long gone. In 2012, 40% of the travel and tourism industry viewed social media as a major opportunity for an ROI increase over the next five years. By 2015, 50% of European travelers will be searching and booking their travel using smartphones. Therefore, online services that are optimized for mobile is becoming increasingly evident as the recipe for success. Offer user-friendly mobile booking systems coupled with interactive and engaging social media content and let the mobile-consumer buying trends do the rest!