Is “Socialgraphics” Travel’s Next Big Social Media Thing?
We frequently reported in New Media Travel that hotels notoriously use photos of empty swimming pools, restaurants and rooms in their marketing material for fear of offending potential customers. Their thinking is that couples without children, for example, will be discouraged by pictures with children in them, while families may be be turned off by photos featuring adults.
Enter Socialgraphics which claims the days of travel marketers having only the basic customer information they ask for, are ending.
Boston-based customer intelligence provider TrueLens and Socialgraphic’s creator, defines the product as “customer data that is sourced from public social media expressions, including influence scores, interests, affinities for brands and products, brand advocacy, and more.”Accessing that level of detail on customers requires advanced technology like TrueLens’ that can make sense of big data.
With Socialgraphics, hotel marketers can use brand affinity and interest data from customers’ Twitter posts and foursquare checkins to personalize email campaigns and loyalty program websites.
Using customer preferences to their advantage, hotel marketers can distill which customers have young children, which have older children, and which do not have children at all. So, when a mom with young children logs into her loyalty account, or opens a marketing email, she sees photos of families eating at the hotel restaurant, and reads reviews written by other moms like her with young children.
When a customer who does not have children logs into the site, he sees a video on the nearby nightlife and photos of a quiet peaceful poolside lounge.
Over the past two years, we’ve written about the biggest challenges in the travel industry brought on by technology. We asked if hotels will stop posting boring content, or how can travel pros use critical customer reviews to their advantage.
How can travel brands sell directly to consumers?
2013 may very well be the year travel industry professionals address those major challenges with the help of big data. Consumers post 1 billion expressions online per day. Those expressions include personal information posted on social media, blogs and review sites. Today brands are starting to use that information to create more relevant and meaningful marketing programs, and advanced technology is making it happen.
Roy Rodenstein, co-founder and CEO of TrueLens says that the big opportunity for the travel and hospitality industry lies in being faster and more effective in converting customers with their intents to travel. “We know true 1-to-1 marketing campaigns are not the norm. But we’re seeing Socialgraphics help marketers develop more relevant and personal content for segments of 1,000 to 10,000 customers at a time.”
How will travel marketers actually use Socialgraphics?
• The “deep data” insights on customers can be used across many different travel industry functions, like customer service, personalized recommendations and operations. But the most immediate applications, and the ones we’ll likely begin to see in 2013 are in travel marketing, allowing hotels to let go of their risk-averse content.
• Small and medium-sized companies like biking tours, restaurants, and dinner cruises rely heavily on customer reviews and word of mouth. Socialgraphics will point them to their advocates and influential customers, the segments of people who are most likely to leave positive reviews. We’ll start to see more incentive-based outreach programs for influential customers and rewards for advocates. Empowered by Socialgraphics, these companies will try to shape their online image with greater success than ever before.
• Airlines will bypass online travel agents and sell directly to customers.
When a customer buys an airline ticket through a third party website like online travel agent services like Orbitz or Expedia, the airline splits the ticket revenue with the online travel agent. We’ve already seen airlines moving away from these services in an attempt to recoup the lost revenue associated with using them.
Socialgraphics will help airlines detect when a customer has expressed a desire for a vacation on Pinterest or posted about an upcoming business trip on Facebook. Picking up on customer intents–before they make a purchase decision–will be a valuable trigger for airline marketers to sell directly to those customers.
In essence, Socialgraphic data will help travel marketers scale their personalized content to new customer segments.
And 2013 will be the year we see them start to do it.
Socialgraphics looks to convert the 1 billion online daily expressions to target travel customers, increase sales