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24th January 2010

Travelers Turn to Social Media

2010 is going to be a much better year for travel industry, says Travel Insights 100.  They’re an interesting group: a panel of 100 travel experts that includes activists, traditional media, independent travelers, and airline and hotel experts who have banded together to monitor travel insights and trends.

They’ve  made some predictions about travel in 2010:

  • Travel will begin to recover driven in part by a pent-up demand from those who have put off traveling due to economic concerns.
  • These eager travelers will still be looking for discounts and promotional pricing.
  • The big change? Where they’ll be looking.  Social media will be the game-changer for travel in 2010.

“Social media (Twitter in particular) will continue to reshape how destinations are promoted and companies will increase their participation in and creative use of social media.”

If that’s the case many  hotels have their work cut out for them.  We recently did an analysis of the top 50 hotel chains’ websites and social media activity  – only 21% are currently on Twitter and a scant 16% are engaging with their community.

That does not take into account the smaller hotel groups, bed and breakfasts or tour operators.

If you are in the travel business  now would be the time to update your Travel PR strategy.

And once you get your content out into the social web, update your site with a social media newsroom.

Image credit:  Idle type

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13th January 2010

World’s Best Hotel Brands Not Engaging their Audiences

Social media is tipped to be the marketing trend of 2010 – and not just in the hospitality industry.  Coke and Unilever are shiftng their budgets to social media this year.

Nick Rich, Intercontinental Hotels director of consumer insights for Europe, the Middle East and Africa says that with consumer technology continuing to evolve at a rate of knots and the average person carrying £850 of gadgets every day, keeping in touch is key for travelers.

“As a business, we understand the power of social media,” says Rich. “In 2010, there won’t be a hotelier anywhere in the world who doesn’t appreciate the influence and power of TripAdvisor. We monitor review sites like TripAdvisor to understand what we’re doing right and where we can improve. We know that an unhappy guest can become a loyal guest if we address their issues properly, even if it’s after their stay.  Twitter offers hotels an opportunity to reach more guests. A number of our hotels tweet special offers at their restaurants and spas for the first people to respond to tweets.”

Yet our study of the top 50 hotel brands reveals some interesting results:

  • 26% have news feeds available
  • 21% are on Twitter
  • 43% are on Facebook
  • 45% are on LinkedIn
  • 98% have videos about their hotels on YouTube
  • 36% have their own YouTube channel
  • Only 16% are actively engaging with their community – the rest are using social media as a broadcast medium (New media – same old marketing techniques)

We are way past the stage of wondering whether or not you need a social media presence.  If you are not on these major platforms it should be high on your list of priorities for 2010.

Get the social media “starter package” up and running:

  • A blog that has interesting and valuable information about your venue and destination.  Encourage comments and start a conversation
  • Monitoring software to keep track of all mentions of the brand
  • A news feed for your press releases and articles
  • A Facebook Page
  • A custom designed and branded Twitter feed
  • A branded YouTube channel where you host short, interesting video clips about the venue and the destination
  • A Social Media Newsroom to house your social content and post social media news releases

And make sure you are actually participating in the conversations, not just sending out more corporate messaging.

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