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Published February 26th 2014

How Social Media is Changing the Travel Industry

Holiday travel, as we all know, can be overwhelming and it’s no surprise that online conversations across social media about the topic often skyrocket.

Social media has become a part of every industry across the world and travel is no exception.

Social media has become a seamless part of a traveler’s experience – from researching their trip (best airlines, hotels, etc.), to engagement throughout the duration of their travel and even post-trip reviews and feedback.

Travelers are becoming increasingly influential thanks to social – meaning poor customer service will be heard.

The travel industry doesn’t have a choice anymore. Those companies must listen to their customers and they have to provide a positive experience throughout a travelers whole experience, or else will fall far behind.

Over the holiday season we tracked conversations across the top ten airlines, as well as particular issues that we thought would be discussed by the many travelers during their trip. The issues we tracked were baggage, customer service, delays and cancellations, and TSA and security lines.

There’s no question that everyone at some point in their life has experienced difficulty with these issues, and when you’re rushing home to celebrate the holidays it’s definitely an added stress.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 15.23.19

The top 10 airlines we tracked were: AirTran, Alaskan Airlines, American Airlines, United, Delta, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, and Virgin Airlines. Delta was the most discussed out of all of them, but that – interestingly enough – was not due to holiday travel, but was due to a booking error that was providing tickets to customers for as little as $20 (there was a computer glitch).

Delta responded by honoring the reduced ticket fares, and the story had already quickly spread wide and far, thanks to the instant nature of Twitter.

Below also shows the gender breakdown. No major surprises here; it’s evenly split between males and females.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 15.24.08

Of course it doesn’t stop at airlines – think hotels, transportation, attractions, restaurants, etc.

While most of the conversations remain neutral and are centered around Twitter, it’s necessary for the whole travel industry to be paying attention to their brand as well as the reputation of their competitors as well.

Social media monitoring and listening provides the travel industry with the important insights they should be listening to.

Social media has caused an immediacy requiring immediate and authentic responses. If brands don’t focus on these kinds of words, they have no chance in success when it comes to social media.

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