Studies show that today's average American distinctly loves two things — social media and travel. Smart travel brands are hopping on the social media bandwagon with Facebook fan pages, active Twitter accounts, and even Pinterest pages. More than just the latest fad, social media is quickly becoming the world's preferred way to connect and share with one another. Travel brands who aren't taking advantage of social media's vast reach are missing out. Here's why:
Vacationers are Influenced by Social Media
Research reveals that one-fifth of travelers turn to social media for assistance when planning a vacation. Approximately 23 percent of travelers research accommodations on Facebook and 22 percent search for vacation activities. In addition, 55 percent of people “Liked” a fan page on Facebook related to their vacation. When it comes to deciding where to go on vacation, 55 percent of survey participants said their friend's travel photos influenced their decision. When it comes to sharing, 76 percent of people post their vacation photos on Facebook.
Vacations are More Popular than Ever
According to Expedia and Northstar Research, more people than ever are in need of a vacation. 80 percent of Americans polled said traveling for pleasure makes them happier than a variety of other events in life, including marriage and birthdays. 94 percent of Americans polled said they would give up at least one basic luxury (like alcohol, chocolate, or video games) for one week to receive one vacation day. With so many people eager to travel, vacation brands can gain the advantage by reaching out through social media channels.
Connecting with Customers Through Social Media
Today's travel brands enjoy more opportunities than ever to connect with their customers – all thanks to social media. Facebook fan pages are a great way for travel brands to reach out and remind customers how much they want to take a vacation. By posting appealing photos and advertising promotions and events, travel brands can entice new and repeat customers to use their services.
Tweeting for Brand Recognition and Customer Service
Twitter is another platform that smart travel brands use to increase customer engagement. Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows travel brands to interact with the public before being “Liked” or “Followed.” Through hashtags, you can find conversations to participate in that are related to your brand. In addition, hashtags allow customers to find your business. Although Twitter success requires timing, consistency, and the ability to keep posts short, it can be a powerful tool for promoting your travel brand.
Creating Your Brand's Social Media Presence
At the least, every travel brand should be represented on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Each of these outlets has its own appeal. Facebook and Twitter are both fantastic mediums to communicate with current and potential customers, and when it comes to drawing traffic, simply look to Pinterest. By pinning appealing photos to your board and following other pinners, you can attract real traffic with minimal effort. Regardless of which social media outlet you choose for your brand, be consistent with engagement efforts and the results will come. Check out the infographic below for more information on the importance of social media.