What we learned at our second Travel Social Summit

Back in the glorious days of summer we held a standing room only Travel Social Summit where we learned how chatbots, changing marketing tactics and personalisation are transforming the way we holiday. So with winter fully upon us, we decided to warm our cockles with a second travel special. We assembled a dream team of travel experts to take centre stage and share their knowledge and experience – Hotels.com, Trainline and Deckchair.com.

So, aside from the burning desire to escape the dull grey skies of London for a flight to the other side of the world, what practical tips and marketing inspiration did we take away?

  1. Give the contemporary social traveller a reason to share their experiences

More than three in four millennials (78%) would choose to spend money on an experience or event rather than buying something desirable.

Our Senior Research and Insight Director, Paul Greenwood, explained that once these experiences are shared on social networks, they become valuable social currency with  priceless marketing value.

Riad Jasmine in Marrakech, Morocco, for example, estimates 80 per cent of its guests find the hotel through images on Pinterest and Instagram, thanks to its super shareable swimming pool.

  1. Engage on social using real time marketing

With competition for cut-through between travel brands tougher than ever, being ready to react to current events can give brands a real advantage, according to Sonia Rosua-Clyne, Social Media Manager at Hotels.com.

She cited Norwegian Airline’s ‘Brad is single’ ad as a great example of reactive marketing, and advised travel brands to be ready to react to topical events by monitoring the news, trending hashtags and brainstorming quick reactive responses.
3. Relate, don’t dictate

Nicole New, social media manager at Trainline.com focused on the importance of connecting with consumers by using topics important to them.

One of Trainline’s most engaged-with posts on Facebook was about University reading week. While not specifically to do with train tickets, Trainline’s team found that it was a highly relatable topic for the platform’s core demographic and generated a huge response from students – who went on to book tickets on the site.

  1. Destination ‘moments’ matter

Chevy Kelly, Managing Director at Deckchair.com also talked about the importance of staying topical. He explained that even a bad dose of fog can be used to promote a tourism destination.  The View from the Shard’s real-time photography is stunning, but without a news hook it wasn’t getting the traction it deserved on social. Ironically, when the building’s cameras captured London buried under a cloud of fog, it proved to be a great opportunity for exposure. The Shard’s social and marketing team shared the images with the press and on social media, leading to coverage in the Evening Standard, Mirror and Time Out London. This helped to grow the Shard’s social media engagements from 10,000 to 166,000 – and boosted visitor numbers as a result.

If you’d like to watch the Travel Social Summit in full, check out our Facebook Live recording – and keep an eye on our Event page to stay in the know about what we have planned for 2017.