The UGC conundrum for travel companies
Many of our clients at Talent Hub are in the travel sector. We often work together in the recruitment of digital marketers, so they can engage with customers in their social media communities.
User-generated content (UGC) in the travel and hospitality industry is incredibly powerful. Photographs and personal recommendations and reviews from people’s experiences are trusted and inspiring, as well as potentially damning. Such momentum and influence drives commitment to brand loyalty and purchase decisions, especially in this sector where people’s holidays and experiences are so emotive and precious.
The travel and hospitality industry is keen to nurture social media’s influence on their potential and existing customers. There is an abundance of social media platforms: TripAdvisor, Feefo, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram empowering the online community to champion or chew-up brands. The question is: how to harness this power by managing and pre-empting potential negative exposure?
The quest is to nurture a positive presence on social media whilst respecting the full spectrum of opinion from all experiences, good and bad.
Social media platforms allow everyone to openly communicate and share their personal experiences. People expressing their dissatisfaction isn’t to be feared or ignored. An honest dialogue between customers and service providers (whether travel operators or hoteliers) brings integrity to the service provided. Such interaction builds brand loyalty in equal measure to positive recommendation alone.
Monitoring of social media platforms is essential to gain a greater understanding of customers’ experience, especially if comments are negative and damaging to the brand. Engaging with customers on social media platforms offers a positive experience for both parties extending and enriching customer loyalty. However, a more proactive approach to understanding customer expectation and provider offering could establish an even more positive outcome.
Customer expectation defines experience. Knowing what is likely to delight or disappoint your customer to prompt an online post is key. A close relationship opens channels of communication. A relationship ensuring both parties have a voice at every stage of the experience intercepts frustration and disappointment which leads to contagious online venting.
Social media communication is essential for the continued success of the travel and hospitality industry. Nurturing the best outcome for both the customer and travel provider requires a clear understanding of the offering and the expectation. Communication, relationship and expectation management hold the answer.
What are your views about UCG in the travel industry? We’d love to hear them whether positive or negative?