How social media improves CX in travel and hospitality

Startek Editorial
Startek Editorial

Feb 06, 2023 | 5 min read

The global travel and tourism market is poised to reach over $8.9 trillion by 2026, with an estimated growth rate of 3.1% from 2021 to 2026. This dynamic and competitive industry requires customer retention to succeed in the face of fierce competition. Therefore, customer experience (CX) and the ability to drive customer loyalty are crucial in the travel and hospitality sector to provide financial stability and build a positive brand reputation. With numerous options and service providers available, customers expect a seamless, consistent and reliable experience throughout their entire journey.

With as many as 50% of consumers prepared to switch to a competitor after a single bad experience, how can brands engage, retain and build customer loyalty?

For travel and hospitality brands, social media is an important element in customer experience management. Social media provides an opportunity to build customer loyalty and generate leads, gather feedback and marketing efforts. Social commerce is gaining significance with the rise of social media as a crucial sales channel.

This demonstrates how influential social media is and how it has become an integral part of CX in the travel and hospitality industry CX. Leveraged effectively social is a powerful platform that can be used to inform, engage and delight customers.

Six ways social media enhances CX in travel and hospitality

Through social channels, brands have access to valuable customer insights and a platform to build lasting customer relationships. 

1. Understand customer behavior
Important customer insights, including buying habits and product preferences, are revealed through structured social listening and social surveys. This real-time and unfiltered feedback enables brands to identify areas for improvement for example, travel customers often share their personal experiences of hotels, restaurants or airlines on social media sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google Reviews. This data can be leveraged to pinpoint areas for development and monitor changes in customer sentiment over time, enabling brands to move quickly to address issues or concerns. Additionally, data from social media interactions and reviews can be used to measure brands’ reach, engagement and audience demographics.

2. Increase brand accessibility
Social media is the human face of your brand creating a space to bring your mission, purpose, values and culture to life. Connecting with customers on a more personal level through social media customer care builds trust and loyalty. 

3. Improve brand awareness
Social media builds your brand reputation and create the opportunity to engage with new potential customers. As a starting point, brands can use their social media channels to reach a wider audience by promoting their products and services. But even more effective is harnessing the power of your customers to build your brand by encouraging them to share their experiences, a positive customer review or a five-star rating builds credibility in the market.

4. Offer real-time customer engagement
Today, consumers want instant service. The real-time nature of social platforms makes them an ideal channel for consumer engagement. This is especially important in the travel and hospitality industry where, consumers have frequent questions about reservations and services. Applying automation across social channels enables brands to respond instantly to routine queries, direct customers to self-service solutions and route high-value inquiries directly to live agents. Responding and acting on these queries quickly demonstrates a brand’s commitment to their customers, building engagement and loyalty.

5. Engage with targeted promotions
Everyone likes to be rewarded from time to time. Targeted promotions and offers keep your customers coming back to your brand. By curating special offers across social channels, travel and hospitality brands can influence buyer behavior across seasonal peaks and troughs. Personalized offers also make customers feel understood by your brand and, by making them feel as though they belong to an exclusive, like-minded community, strengthen customer loyalty.

6. Personalization
Social media channels offer the easy ability to personalize messages. Brands can tailor experiences that are more relevant and enticing to individual customers by leveraging insights into their purchase habits and preferences to customize experiences that are relevant to an individual. For example, in the travel and hospitality sector, an individual’s past hotel, food, destination and budget preferences, as well as abandoned carts Information can be used to offer recommendations and holiday packages that suit their requirements, driving upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Developing a well-defined social media strategy

With social media playing an ever-increasing role in consumers’ travel and hospitality choices, brands can no longer take chances with their social media channels. A well-defined engagement strategy ensures your social media channels attract and engage your customers. To create a robust social media strategy, brands must carefully consider and define the role their social channels are intended to play for the brand and the expectations their customers have. Aligning behind a well-planned social media strategy enables companies to improve CX and increase brand accessibility.

  • Set your objectives - Establish your social media goals, such as generating leads, boosting brand awareness, or increasing customer engagement. Your approach and prioritization of your efforts will be guided by this blueprint.

  • Identify your target audience - Study your target audience's demographics, interests and activities. Use the insights you uncover to focus activity where it adds most value for your audience. This could mean streamlining channels or building out content in new topic areas.

  • Select the relevant platform - There are numerous social media platforms to choose from, but your brand doesn’t need to use them all. Meet your audience in their channels of choice and be mindful of how consumers opt to use different channels for instance, Instagram appeals to an audience seeking out inspiration for example through aspirational imagery of beautiful travel destinations making it an ideal platform for glossy promotional content and therefore can be used for ads and promotions. Whereas Twitter might be a go-to for a real-time customer care.

  • Create a content calendar – Creating a content calendar establishes a consistent engagement schedule and ensures a brand has an ongoing communication with its customers. Understand your target group’s aspirations and create engaging, immersive content that resonates with your audience.

  • Be social - Interact with your customers and audience to garner their support. Create polls, virtual events and giveaways to increase audience participation and interaction across your social channels. Rewarding repeat customers and most active social media followers from time to time will improve your brand image and create positive brand perception, increasing brand loyalty. 

  • Measure and iterate – Social media is a dynamic space. What’s trending today might not be of much interest to your audience tomorrow. Therefore, keep a close check on the content. Utilize analytics such as interaction rates, reach and conversion to regularly assess the success of your campaigns and make necessary adjustments in your social media strategy.

  • Collaborate with Influencers - Influencers are regarded as a credible source and trusted voices for their followers. Partnerships with influences greatly benefit travel and hospitality brands by widening their reach and boosting engagement. Social media is an efficient and cost-effective channel for travel and hospitality brands to expand and meaningfully engage with their audience. Increasingly, customers expect brands to engage in 1-2-1 conversations with their customers through their social channels whether by direct message or comments on social posts. Leading brands must be ready to engage their customers in their preferred channels. 
An award-winning global social media CX provider, Startek® specializes in creating and implementing human-centric social media support. Our social media approach leverages insights and analytics to deliver personalized CX that drives meaningful engagement. Contact us today to learn how we can support your brand.

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