Social media: how it can affect the online travel business

Social media: how it can affect the online travel business

in June 15, 2022

Social media has become an essential part of everyday life for many people. The popularity of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has exploded in recent years, to the extent that some research suggests over half of all adults in the UK are now active users of at least one social network, although platforms use vary based on demographic and age,

Social media usage among adults aged 18-29 is even higher, with usage steadily increasing among older demographics as well. This rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, which means that businesses must adapt their strategies to account for this changing landscape. The online travel business is no exception, which is why it’s important for you to know exactly how social media can affect your business if you haven’t already implemented one of these strategies into your day-to-day operations.

What is social media?

Social media refers to online platforms that facilitate social interaction and networking between users and encourages communication, collaboration, entertainment, and socializing. This interaction can take the form of sharing or creating content (text, images, videos, etc.), joining online communities, or connecting with other people online. The first social networks emerged in the mid-2000s and have since become a ubiquitous part of everyday life for many people worldwide.

The term social media can be applied to a wide range of platforms including social networking sites and forums, and with comments on blogs and vlogs you could include those too. However, the term social media is generally understood to refer to websites that emphasize user-generated content, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.

Is Social Media still effective in 2022?

Absolutely, and it’s an important trust signal so crucial for branding and gives EAT value. While it’s lost it’s sparkle with algorithm changes limiting natural reach and pushing businesses to require ad spend to reach their own audience. Looking at an example, TUI have 6.1 million followers on Facebook. On 4th May their post (right) got 545 likes, 320 comments and 32 shares (assumingly from people going to Aruba as very little reason to share the post otherwise). So in total, that is that is 897 engagements from a 6.1M audience. While we don’t know the reach, a 0.014% engagement rate is pretty low. It did pick improve on their 27th May post left), but this was from mostly frustrated customers experiencing issues with the service which is not recommended.

As first mentioned, there is important factor to keeping your social media updated in consumer confidence. Any company not updating their channels may spark fears they are close to closing. It’s also critical for potential new customers who will likely check out customer reviews before they order, which would include Facebook.

And finally, social proof can also help your SERPS positions through EAT and traffic from the channels. And importantly as most sites link to their social media channel, the websites have a very high domain authority and trust flow. These means you can dominate the organic positions for your brand, and they can even appear in your Google My Business knowledge panel.

 

How can social media benefit the online travel business?

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to brand your OTB company, as well as help you gain a following of regular customers who will purchase from you time and time again for that essential repeat business and lifetime value. Social media provides you with the opportunity to attract more customers and convert more sales from your current customer base through the use of remarketing. These campaigns can include ads on social media platforms, email marketing, and SMS campaigns, as well as other online marketing strategies that you can easily track, manage, and optimize to drive as much business as possible, both new and repeat.

Depending on brand traffic, I would always suggest you test with remarketing on each channel and ensure all pixels and tracking are set up correctly before starting. Targeted remarking can be highly profitable, i.e if you have a site that sells golf holidays and someone has been looking at the pages for Spain but not purchased, then it’s likely they have also visited other sites. As such, an ad promoting Golfing deals in the Costa del sol has a high chance of converting into a sale, plus ensuring you get the business and not a competitor.

Twitter

Twitter has become an essential part of many marketing strategies across all industries, but it can be particularly beneficial for online travel businesses.

Paid Advertising: Twitter’s robust advertising platform makes it easy for all companies to promote their services and products to potential customers based on their interests, location, and more. With all social ads, the audience creation is based on data the company have, so may not always be up to date or accurate.

Building Audience: Twitter is home to a wide variety of travel-related hashtags, accounts, and communities, which means your OTB can easily build an audience of interested travellers by joining the conversation.

Community-Driven Conversations: Twitter is the perfect medium for travellers who want to connect with other people in the same industry, as well as with their fellow passengers.

Facebook

Facebook is another very popular social media platform that many OTBs use to promote their services, connect with potential customers, and engage with existing customers. It’s lost popularity with the younger generation and peaks with 30-50 year olds. This is good for Travel companies as target customers should have disposable income. Facebook has the highest spacing for text of all the channels to engage your audience, but also stories opens up video content.

Advertising : Facebook advertising is a great way for OTBs to target potential customers based on their interests, location, and other information.

Building Audience : Because there are so many travel groups on Facebook, your OTB can easily join the conversation and connect with potential customers by answering questions, posting pictures, and interacting with other travellers in your community.

Community-Driven Conversations : Facebook is a great place to host polls and other community-driven conversations that help you connect with your customers while also gaining valuable insight into what they want from your business.

Instagram

Instagram can be a very effective way to promote your OTB, especially if you’re using high quality imagery to get attention for the photography. It used to be known for the younger audience, but is now older demographic with high income who like to show off their good living. Instagram stories require good video’s, but can be recycled from TikTok.

Advertising : Instagram’s advertising platform allows you to target potential customers using their interests, location, age, and other information to help you reach the right audience. It’s owned by Facebook so has the advantage of their data.

Building Audience : Instagram is home to a wide variety of travel-related hashtags, accounts, and communities, which means your OTB can easily build an audience of interested travellers by joining the conversation.

Community-Driven Conversations : Instagram is a great place to gain engagement and comments, which feed the algorithm for increased visibility. But it’s very visual so needs good photography.

TikTok

TikTok rose to the main social media channel for the under 30’s during lockdown. Once known as Musical.ly, the video platform was about sharing dance routines. That morphed into comedy, crime-fighting, cooking, movie clips and many more trends. It is essential to have the right video content for this to be a success as the channel has created an audience that demands instant gratification. But with few companies on it, there are clear opportunities to make inroads on your competitors.

Advertising : TikTok has good advertising and it quickly became apparent that you had to get someone’s attention immediately before they scrolled past. This pushed company ads towards content that doesn’t look like a standard advert because it gave a longer view time, which of course is a false economy. I’d urged you to split test and look at other KPI’s before deciding which route to go down. With the attention span dropping even further, the non-ad technique will decline.

Building Audience : There are many travel-related hashtags on TikTok, which means your OTB can easily build an audience of interested travellers with good video content.

Community-Driven Conversations : TikTok enables you to connect with potential customers with comments, trends and trending music.

SnapChat

SnapChat is one of the newer social media platforms that gained popularity with younger age groups, so many OTBs may not have considered using it in their marketing efforts. In truth, it declined since the emergence of TikTok but still has a place for trial but should be last on the list to test.

Advertising : SnapChat’s advertising platform allows you to target potential customers using their interests, location, and other information. This is particularly useful if you’re interested in reaching a younger demographic.

Building Audience : There are many travel-related hashtags, accounts, and communities on SnapChat, which means your OTB can easily build an audience of interested travellers by joining the conversation.

Community-Driven Conversations : SnapChat is another great place to host polls and other community-driven conversations that help you connect with potential customers while also gaining valuable insight into what they want from your business.

YouTube

While not technically a social media channel in my book, a YouTube channel is required for brand validation. If you have the time, it can be used to gain new followers, and even remarket to your audience through Google Ads.

Conclusion for Social OTB Strategy

Social media has a place regardless of the decline of the natural reach. To make your business a success you need to ensure you are using everything available to you. Consistency across channels is also key to maintaining the brand and staying in your consumer consciousness.