Social Media, The Perfect Traveling Companion

By Becca Bellush

I recently took a trip to Iceland, and while I certainly sat in the consumer chair, I thought about some ways that brands, especially across the broader lifestyle vertical, could take some notes from the travel industry, the way they use social media and how that influences consumers. I broke it down in three ways:

Be present on popular platforms in your industry
It's important for brands to know who is talking about them, why and what they're saying. For the travel industry, a presence on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet, is imperative. Travelers post their thoughts on hostels, hotels, activities and restaurants for places all over the world. Brands, especially restaurants, hotels, etc., cannot be afraid to read reviews and hear consumers experiences. With this information, they can learn where they need to improve and highlight where they are celebrated. If a hotel has the best front desk service in the world, travelers will let everyone know.

Create conversations with your guests and customers
I feel like it's a small reward when some of my favorite brands tweet back at me. I don't think I'm the only consumer who feels that way. Whether it be a "Thanks for the tweet!" or "How can I help you with this?" I always feel like I am being listened to and can contribute to how my brand interacts with me and my fellow consumers. Delta has a Twitter handle focused primarily on customer service and resolving issues as soon as possible. How's that for hands on customer service?!

Surprise and delight your loyal customers
Almost everyone who's traveling is talking about the brands they encounter along the way. I know that I, my colleagues, friends and family tweet or talk about their airline experiences. I know it is such a delight to be tweeted at by JetBlue (as I just mentioned), but I've also heard of amazing consumer experiences with airlines, whether it be a set of wings for the kids or a few bucks off an upcoming flight. Small rewards to your fan base can go a long way, and keep everyone advocating for and talking about your brand.

Have you had any experiences with travel brand through social media? How did it impact your view of the brand?