Doing it for the ‘Gram: Why Social is at the Heart of the Travel Customer Journey

By Nicole O on 14 June 2019

The travel industry landscape is rapidly changing. Gone are the days when a trip to Paris would be all about the Eiffel Tower, (as amazing as it is). Travellers are saying “been there, done that” and want to see more. They want to experience more. And they want to go off the beaten path.

But how exactly are they doing that? Well in part, through social media.

Dreaming. Discovering. Doing.

There are nearly half a billion #travel hashtags on Instagram alone. Social media has become a world encyclopaedia of the most photogenic places and wanderlust-worthy experiences on Earth.

As a result, the space has become a hive and resource for travellers seeking inspiration and information for their next trip: 8 out of 10 social media users reported on going on a domestic or international holiday at least once a year, and nearly 30% of travellers say they utilize social media as a planning resource for their travel.

Additionally, nearly two thirds of Millennial and Gen X travellers shared that the ‘Insta-grammability’ of a destination was the most important factor when choosing where to go, while 61% want to share ‘beautiful’ or ‘important’ holiday experiences online.

Social is literally changing the way people dream about, plan, book and share their travel experiences.

What Does That Mean for Travel Brands?

Quite simply, it’s not enough for travel brands to simply ‘be’ on social media – it’s a noisy world. And to cut through it all, brands must think about the ever-changing wants and needs of their travel audience.

Travellers are seeking authenticity, usefulness and storytelling from travel brands – and they want it instantly. They are turning to social media countless times during the dreaming or planning stage of their journey to answer an immediate need: Where should my next trip be?Which neighbourhood is my hotel in?What kind of cocktails does the bar serve?

In order to earn (and subsequently re-earn) users’ consideration at every stage, customer needs should be premeditated, with travel brands readily available across social with answers to any and all questions.

Answering these needs correctly could be the persuading point for potential customers and could work to effectively set a brand apart from the competition. It’s essential for brands to connect users with the inspiration and resources that so many travellers are looking for, while remaining true to the unique value that they offer to both travellers and the industry.

In order to pull this off, a brand must understand and empower its own identity – and never hold back when singing it aloud for all the world to hear (on social media, that is!)

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