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Published July 8th 2013

How Twitter Can Help Travel Companies Build Customer Loyalty

Twitter’s popularity has exploded over the past five years, with the social media network now estimated at around 250 million active users with about 500 million tweets posted each day.

With social media usage at an all-time high, more and more travel companies are tapping into the networks to build loyalty and increase their customer base.

United Airlines and JetBlue Airways, for example, have offered flight deals via their Twitter accounts. In early June 2013, JetBlue tweeted a promotion for $59 one-way fares via its @JetBlueCheeps Twitter account, which has more than 360,000 followers. United introduced its Twitter deals, known as “twares”, in 2009.

Using social media in this way gives companies a cost-effective method of driving sales. No longer is an expensive radio spot or television ad needed – a simple tweet can engage consumers on platforms they control and prefer.

Acknowledging Customer Complaints

More consumers are venting their frustrations on Twitter, which presents challenges and opportunities for companies in the arena of customer relations. While negative comments can travel like wildfire on social media, so too, can positive reviews. Accordingly, companies that resolve customer complaints in a matter of hours – or even minutes – instead of days, weeks or months are likely to boost their reputation.

Twitter should be viewed as much more than just a broadcast channel. It’s an invaluable listening tool for companies to monitor online conversations about their brand, their competitors and the travel industry as a whole.

Send Update Tweets
Of course, in order to earn glowing reviews, companies must ensure their customers have the best experience possible.

For travel companies, that involves updating customers via Twitter and other social networks. Instead of passengers having to constantly check on their flight’s status, for example, airlines can tweet about schedule delays, weather alerts and traffic backups.

Similarly, hotels and rental car companies can effectively stay in touch with their customers on Twitter, ensuring that the travel experience remains as smooth as possible.

Get Personal

One of the most important pieces of the customer loyalty puzzle is adding personal touches to business interactions. This can be achieved by creating thoughtful campaigns that focus on unique selling propositions: who is your target market and how can you make their experience better? For travel suppliers, this could be as simple as catering to travellers with pets or children.

If used correctly, social media networks such as Twitter can be a powerful tool in helping travel companies to build their customer base and, more importantly, foster loyalty.

This guest post was provided by Diane Pierre-Louis. Diane writes for University Alliance and covers topics related to higher education and the workplace, including hospitality management and social media training.

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