As we wrap up one of the busiest travel times of the year, it’s clear that social media has become an integral part of the travel experience. Today more than 50 percent of people under the age of 34 use Twitter for travel inspiration. From finding deals to sharing experiences and recommendations, every tweet seen and sent makes an impact.
Consumers aren’t the only ones being impacted either. According to Twitter, one in two users said tweets are influential in their consideration of a travel brand. As travelers become increasingly more social, travel and hospitality brands have had to get more creative with their marketing strategies.
We’ve already looked at some of the unique ways in which these brands are leveraging Facebook and Twitter to connect with travelers. Here are a few more Twitter tips you can apply to those strategies.
Be There Every Step of the Way
From start to finish, travelers are turning to Twitter during their journey. Here’s a breakdown of that usage, according to the platform:
- About 33 percent access Twitter before or after a trip.
- 39 percent use Twitter mid-journey.
- Almost 20 percent use Twitter to share feedback throughout their travel experience.
Since usage spans the entire travel process, Twitter can help brands develop and maintain strong relationships with consumers. For instance, individuals are 44 percent more likely to discover a new travel brand on Twitter than on the average social network, making it a great platform for brands just starting out and looking to generate awareness.
A perfect example is MSC Cruises (@MSC_Crociere) and its 2013 launch of the Nave dei Giovani, a new cruise holiday package targeting ages 18 to 34. The challenge here was that young people tend to have little interest in cruises, so the company sought to build a follower base of young travelers using Twitter’s Promoted Accounts.
The brand launched a dedicated hashtag and targeted Italians interested in a variety of travel, sports, and music-related topics. Early on, the hashtag was used only by the company, but as the campaign progressed, followers and guests became part of the conversation as they asked for more information and shared their memories and experiences.
— CarMina Sacco (@carMinasacco) May 20, 2014
Those efforts paid off as @MSC_Crociere gained 11,000 new followers, achieved engagement rates as high as 5.76 percent, and received more than 2,500 mentions.
It’s also a great choice for more established brands wanting to create deeper connections with travelers. As such, here’s your first Twitter tip: your content should appeal to individuals at every stage of the travel process. Solid execution of this can help turn those connections into valuable user endorsements and recommendations.
Respond Quickly and Politely
Travelers tweet about their experiences, both good and bad. As Twitter pointed out, this represents two opportunities for travel and hospitality brands to enhance their reputations.
Research shows that 27 percent of Twitter users share positive travel experiences, creating positive buzz for the brands they mention. Although it might not happen as frequently as we’d like, brands should continue encouraging customers to tweet about positive travel experiences.
Additionally, it’s important to acknowledge both that feedback and the person who shared it. It’s easy to spot positive feedback and immediately internalize it. Instead, reply and thank them for taking the time to reach out. You might also consider favoriting their tweet or retweeting it. Customers want to know that their voices are being heard, and something as simple as a favorite can serve as reassurance.
Hyatt (@HyattTweets), for example, created a social media concierge (@Aimable_Hyatt) to personify the brand online and demonstrate the value it places on listening to its guests. In addition to gifting Hyatt stays in France, the account also tweeted replies to many users at a rate of over 40 tweets per day. The social media team and video production team would also work together to create personalized video replies in real time. Their fastest reply was posted within 52 minutes.
— Aimable – Hyatt (@aimable_hyatt) October 25, 2013
As a result, @Aimable_Hyatt inspired more than 1,600 user interactions over seven days, and brand mentions increased more than 72 percent compared to the previous month.
On the other hand, travelers turn to Twitter to share negative experiences and constructive criticisms with fellow travelers and brands. As easy as it would be to ignore this and focus solely on the good, it’s not recommended. Twitter’s public and conversational nature creates the perfect opportunity for brands to respond quickly and in a caring way — and doing so pays off.
Of the 28 percent of users who said they had engaged a travel brand on Twitter and received a reply, 73 percent felt more positively about the brand afterward. When your brand is mentioned in a less-than-flattering light, don’t put off your response. Redeem your reputation by responding quickly and genuinely. When it comes to response time and rates, the travel and hospitality industry is currently in the middle of the pack. Make a conscious effort to improve these areas in 2015.
Experiment With Your Content
Earlier we said that Twitter content influences travel brand consideration. Whether you’re an up-and-coming business trying to drive awareness or an established company looking to reward fans, your content will help you reach those goals. When it comes to resonating with followers, here’s what Twitter users say they’re most interested in:
- 46 percent: Twitter-exclusive deals and discounts
- 41 percent: Last-minute deals
- 30 percent: Contests and promotions
- 30 percent: Funny, light-hearted content
- 27 percent: Travel ideas and stories
Not only should you experiment with the different types of tweets mentioned above, but take advantage of Twitter’s new ad formats, including Promoted Video and Website Cards. We also recommend exploring the more familiar Twitter Cards line-up. These will help your content stand out in people’s timelines while making it more engaging for those who come across it.
Remember, you don’t need to develop an exclusive app or whisk travelers away on a dream vacation to succeed on Twitter. The Twitter tips above serve to guide you, and at the end of the day, all that matters is that you’re accessible to customers on the social network. The platform offers a variety of ways to do just that. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your existing customer base. Ask them what they’d like to see more of and how they can feel like a bigger part of the brand.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.