One of the main challenges that travel companies face today is humanising their content and ultimately brand. An increasing number of travel-related businesses are turning to social media platforms in order to achieve this.
Social media lacking
Unfortunately, it was noted by a raft of travel technology companies last year that their social media content was considerably lacking compared to the social presence of business-to-consumer companies. It was this realisation that was behind the decision of a few of these businesses to attempt to take full advantage of social media opportunities. They resolved to reach and connect with both current and potential customers, and even employees, through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Travel businesses face marketing challenges relating to an increasingly complex suite of products, a largely non-consumer audience, and increasingly longer sales cycles. Amadeus, Concur, and Sabre, which largely have enterprise and small-to-medium-sized businesses as customers, thus made the decision to interact with clients on social media, not as businesses, but as people behind a brand.
This is beneficial to marketing as it enables employees to be empowered to provide an insight into company culture and industry expertise, as well as building on human interest to increase awareness and conversation. Ultimately, there is no one that understands a company better than its employees, and reaching out to the human face of a travel-related business in this way can be the best way to humanise it for the general public.
Sabre takes proactive approach
Building on this concept, the travel company Sabre has gone to great lengths to identify employees who are particularly active on social media, and whom would therefore be suited to content creator roles within the organisation. Sabre has particularly engaged with LinkedIn; the corporate-driven social media platform being ideal for the needs of the company. Corporate marketing within Sabre has focused on providing resources related to optimising social media profiles, social media skill enhancement, and blog training and best practices.
Another travel-related business, Concur, is very much placing an emphasis on creating two-way conversations through content, which will then resonate with a following community. For example, on LinkedIn, technology and developer insights work best, Facebook is well suited to more lighthearted content related to employee events and profiles, while Twitter perfectly fits company news and brief industry insights.
Concur is furthermore attempting to connect with business travellers through Instagram during their trips, and then leveraging video in order to respond to frequently asked questions posed by customers.
Another different approach to social media has been taken by the company Amadeus. This travel-related business simply modelled itself after consumer brands, by changing the tone of its social media communications. Instead of the dry content which it had posted previously, Amadeus utilised storytelling, videos, and other visuals to enhance connection with consumers.
Instead of placing the company at the forefront of its focus, the Amadeus social media strategy begun to centre on employees. The team at the company emphasises its interest in travel and technology on social media platforms, and additionally tag people and brands of relevance in order to include them in conversations. This enabled the company to engage directly with their audience, and quickly identify success stories in order to create absorbing new content ideas for social media platforms.
Amadeus has also developed a distinctive Youtube strategy which is centred around inviting prominent industry influencers to converse about trends. This idea has been contained within a singular web series, which Amadeus refers to as TravelPop. This particular social channel attracts more video views which are connected to off-site events than actual on-side productions. It has proved very popular with the Amadeus customer base, and is certainly an influential idea for other travel-related businesses to consider.
Aside from its YouTube endeavours, Amadeus has also begun to engage with Instagram. Not only is the company attempting to connect with consumers via the photograph sharing sites, it is also using it as a source of information in order to learn more about customers and their particular needs and desires.
Lessons for Destinations
Destinations can take on board a great deal from the efforts of these three companies. Perhaps the most important thing to note is that it is of critical importance in the modern era to adopt conversations and topics to social channels, rather than merely posting random information and news. Another takeaway from this trend would be that employees can be among the very best ambassadors of a brand by sharing concrete and authentic content.
While social media is naturally an excellent medium with which to share content, it is always important to remember that it is a platform for discussion as well. Engaging the audience, inviting people to comment, share and just generally interact, are just as important as telling people things yourself. And by directly engaging with consumers and answering their queries and questions, it is possible to create a genuine rapport with customers as well as a communal feel.