Skyscanner is a travel metasearch engine for consumers, helping them research and book travel options, including flights, hotels, and car hire. It was founded in 2003 when the company set out to create a simple alternative to the confusing sites that make travel planning feel like an uphill battle. Today, more that 100 million people rely on Skyscanner's app and website every month to help them with their travel plans.
Skyscanner came to Brandwatch looking for better consumer insights to guide their go-to-market strategies, including messaging, product innovation, and customer engagement.
For Skyscanner’s Senior Social Media Manager, Ayoub El Mamoun, social listening insights meant the difference between a good communications strategy and a great one. From uncovering indirect brand mentions online to responding to social media trends or customer support issues, they needed a platform to help them uncover what their customers were talking about, how they felt, and where the Skyscanner team could help.
“Social listening is at the heart of what we do in the social and community team, and I would say, even in the wider communications and marketing,” explains Ayoub. Skyscanner invested in Brandwatch to build a more streamlined communications strategy with an eye on brand messaging.
We’ll look at how their team used the platform to:
- Explore commonly missed brand mentions and product feedback for a more authentic understanding of the customer
- Track customer sentiment across the pandemic for better campaigns
- Share valuable insights across departments using the Slack integration for alerts
- Free up time for researchers to do more analytical work with automated brand mention alerts
Unlocking valuable consumer insights
What are your customers saying about you when they think you’re not looking? The most authentic brand feedback often comes from social media posts without direct company tags. Missed brand mentions were an area of data that the Skyscanner team wanted to explore further.
These customer comments and posts could potentially contain more valuable insights, including:
- Product feedback
- Product ideas
- Customer support needs
- Customer stories
So, Ayoub and his team set out to track and manage the indirect mentions of SkyScanner on social media. In real-time. And engage with them.
"Over the last few years, we have been relying on the insights we get from social listening to understand what travelers really say about us — as a brand and about travel in general," explains Ayoub.
“We have access to direct mentions. But there are also things that people talk about, super helpful things that we don't see because people don’t tag us. It's l basically the other side of the moon. We can only see them if we use social listening.”
As the team built their dashboards, they expanded the use case of social listening into product teams. Tracking customer feedback helped the Skyscanner team offer product teams insights into potential problem areas and opportunities for improvement.
“When we launch a new product feature, we tune into social media to see what people really think. And it's very useful feedback for our product teams because they can fix or improve things quickly."
This access to unsolicited customer feedback enabled the Skyscanner team to dig deeper into what their audiences really wanted, enabling more accurate decision-making across the brand. When paired with insights on product fit and sentiment, teams are left with a much fuller picture of their customer’s needs.
Managing messaging with better insights
The past three years were a particularly sensitive time for people everywhere. With the pandemic affecting nearly every facet of regular life, companies needed to be more delicate than ever with their brand messaging.
This was especially true for the travel industry; a sector hit hard by restrictions and lockdowns. Ayoub and his team closely monitored consumer sentiment and trending topics, whether they were about Skyscanner, travel in general, or mentions of other travel brands.
“We have been using Brandwatch a lot, and it’s been crucial in understanding what people felt throughout the pandemic,”
“We had to support them, but we also had to keep in mind what kind of messaging we should put out there because we had to be very careful what we were saying and how we were responding and dealing with all these issues.”
Brandwatch’s sentiment tracker came in handy as the team set out to gauge feelings across different pandemic cycles. For example, at the pandemic's beginning, Ayoub’s team watched as sentiment around travel went from confusion to anger and disappointment when people realized they couldn't travel for a very long time. Later, as vaccines were released and restrictions eased, emotions became more positive, hopeful, optimistic, and so on.
“We keep an eye on what's being said. Analyze it. And then that shapes the content we create for social media, newsletters, blogs, and so on.”
Prioritizing information sharing for cross-functional success
Not only did the team tweak and evolve the social listening query in Brandwatch to capture as much as possible, but they also created workflows for different brand mentions so that the most efficient response processes were in place.
“The main question was how do we track and manage the indirect mentions of Skyscanner on social media in real-time?” noted Ayoub. “So as soon as they happen, we engage with them across all the managed markets and languages. Sometimes, it's too late if you don't act on it as soon as they happen."
The team had been manually tracking brand alerts across Brandwatch and relaying relevant information to teams. But Ayoub wanted to save time by getting all that information into Slack, which everyone at Skyscanner uses, instead of giving everyone interested in the Brandwatch platform access.
Thanks to a thread of instructions and tips by another customer in the Brandwatch Community, Skyscanner could automate alerts through Slack, using Power Automate so that brand mentions could be shared directly with the right people at the right time.
The process looks like this: Whenever there is an alert email, which is something that you can set up in Brandwatch, the automation here would detect whether the email or the alert was sent and then:
- Extract the tweet, the link to the Instagram or Facebook post, or whatever from that alert.
- Post it directly to the Slack channel created with all relevant people to see it in real-time.
- Grant everyone in that Slack channel visibility into what is being said about Skyscanner across social media.
- Empower the right stakeholder to take action within that Slack channel.
The added bonus of these automations? Everything is centralized, saving teams lots of time previously spent extracting relevant information. This frees up time for teams to think more critically about strategy and messaging.
“Automations saves us significant time because, again, Brandwatch does the work for us. When we see it on Slack, we have more visibility on the indirect mentions, which was not the case before.”
With the right data, the Skyscanner team could better understand what people say or how they see them as a brand. Sharing that information cross-functionally empowers all departments to use social insights to their advantage.
Better data leads to better business outcomes
The results for SkyScanner’s social media team were invaluable:
- A better understanding of brand perceptions
- Improved internal collaboration with other teams
- More opportunities for reactive content
- Visibility on indirect mentions and increased learning
- Improved customer support