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Social Media In Travel: Over-Hyped, Under-Hyped, Or Who Cares

Social Media Influence Weak In Travel

So began the Hotelmarketing.com article, more or less.

We’ve chided the travel industry for not moving fast enough into the world of social media.

But we’ve been told that we’re mischaracterizing travel, and been pointed in the direction of JetBlue’s successful Foursquare loyalty program.

And that’s true as far as it goes. JetBlue, Chicago and a handful of other travel brands like Royal Caribbean are effectively engaged in social media.

But then HotelMarketing.com, which monitors online travel and the hospitality industry, headlined another article, “Social Media Influence Remains Weak in Travel.”

A UK advertising firm, Conrad said that travelers (and thus the industry) “ are most influenced by travel web sites and traditional media like television and print.”

It seems that while social media sites like Facebook are extremely popular, they are not considered the best sources of travel planning.

Surprisingly, travelers are still more comfortable with newspapers, reviews, travel company web sites and review sites.

And that then is the probable reason the travel industry lags so far behind other business sectors.

The travelers aren’t buying social media, so therefore, the travel industry isn’t either.

While no one says that social media platforms should be discarded as a way to turn “lookers into bookers,” the report cautions that social media should not be regarded as “the dominant force in a campaign.”

This is not an age thing.

Travolution a travel intelligence company, says age has little to do with the media preferences.

Familiarity with technology and skill in using a computer (which are likely age related) determine who uses the internet and accesses social media.

That’s stating the obvious, of course.

But if the average traveler prefers to get his or her travel and booking information from traditional sources, then travel marketers have to meet the consumer at his buying comfort level, and for now, that doesn’t include much social media.

And that’s too bad because retail and other industries are running circles around travel in using social media to drive revenue.

So the question still remains: travel social media over or under-hyped? We think the answer will be somewhere in the middle.

About Kaleel

4 comments

  1. I think they will come in time. I work with a travel brand which attracts upmarket families with kids – many of their customers are mommy/mummy bloggers so it makes perfect sense to meet them where they are – out there on twitter sharing their content and talking to their friends. There must be examples of other similar travel niches – members of whom are already on social media – what about tech savvy adventure types?

    • Of course we would like to invite you to join our weekly #FTFChat Wednesday’s at 1 ET on travel trends and family travel. We have long written about retail companies using location based services, for example,Vons, to build brand loyalty and energize a community. JetBlue does this, and other big brands have adopted FaceBook contests, etc. But basically the advertising and public relations community, the individual brands are locked into a print model so that they still ask visiting journalists whom they write for, circulation of the paper, typical word count ….and agencies representing the UK for example, and others don’t get the disconnect.

      Please read the previous blog on How Not To Run Media Lunch. It created a firestorm of reaction on Triparini, the travel media blog site.

      Interested in your travel brand and company since our partner is the well know Family Travsl Forum. Thanks for writing in, and stay in touch

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