Brandwatch, the most powerful social media monitoring and analytics tool we’ve found, just released their travel and hospitality report for 2014 – Social Listening & the Tourism Industry: A Snapshot. The detailed report amounts to the first of its kind primer for travel executives to understand the impacts of social media on traveler decision making.
Brands in travel and hospitality, now more than ever, require the big “heads up” where consumer booking and loyalty are concerned. Brandwatch’s latest report keys on recent developments that better enable travel pros to gather, understand, and make use of guests praise, complaints, and connectivity where their choices in brands are concerned. Much like Brian Solis professes in What’s the Future of Business, the Brandwatch study focused on consumers relationships with brands before, during, and after the sale or booking. Focusing, for instance on how social media users discover a brand on Facebook, then how those consumers experience the goods or services, and ultimately feel and share the experience.
For the purposes of showing the relationship in between social media monitoring and response, Brandwatch used data from airlines, accommodation and travel agents. Beginning with the airlines, the graph below from the report shows the correlation in between the volume of online conversation and an airline’s relative prestige. As you can see Ryanair dominated topics to do with low cost air travel, while Delta rules the conversation for premium topics of interest. This kind of metric has several uses, but clearly Delta and Emirates can self assess their messages and see they are spot on where perception is concerned. On the other hand, the message Ryanair is sending correlates perfectly with their intended message.
Another section of the Brandwatch study focused on airlines assessing via social media to evaluate and adjust to customer concerns. In this example such things as in flight entertainment and other flier experience are measured via the “conversation” over airline topics. As you can see by the next graph, premium or low cost carriers can optimize for their cleintele in some part due to using social media measuring. What people are saying on Twitter can have a direct correlation to business success, essentially.
Airlines, or other travel businesses, can use the same measurement strategies to measure post-flight and even extended sentiments to help in brand loyalty optimization in the end. Or as Brian Solis would put it, measuring the conversation over experience can lead to improvement for the Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT) where the cycle repeats with the same flier rediscovering Ryanair, for instance.
Other charts in this study reveal such things as:
- Socially active airlines get better customer satisfaction scores
- Airlines are not running Twitter as well as they could be
- Data mining can help expand premium services, and so on.
- And using social media to meet customer expectations. etc.
Without giving the complete report away, accommodation and travel agencies are treated in a similar manner. The best example I can give is the chart below from Brandwatchl, which shows Hilton’s customers more often talk about customer service, even more than comfort, cleanliness, and price.
Finally, another key use for social media is in measuring competitors. As the data gleaned in this report shows, studying Hilton if you are IHG or another competitor, does not require access to their balance sheets. I’ve used Brandwatch to show cases in the past on Social Media Today and elsewhere. As a PR tool, or as a tool for business/client relationship evaluation, I’ve not found any better.
Listening tools like Brandwatch are designed to allow organizations and individuals to harness the power of the online conversation, to make use of the mountains of data gleaned, and to enhance their business functions and profitability. For years now hotels and other travel oriented businesses have asked us to show the ROI for talents like social media expertise or flat out communications. If nothing else, Brandwatch is showing, what we’ve said all along as evangelists of digital business, is now largely true.
Stay tuned for more testing using this brilliant tool. For those interested, here is the official link to download Social Listening & the Tourism Industry: A Snapshot.