The 3 Most Important Things Travel & Hospitality Brands Need to do on Social Media


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What are the 3 most important use cases for Travel & Hospitality brands in social media? What are the big players in the industry doing, and why does your brand need to do them, too? Plus, Key Performance Indicators for social success for each use case!

This SlideShare was originally presented as a webinar by uberVU on August 29, 2013.

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  • Here’s a little bit of information about your host. I’m Elisabeth, our company’s social media marketing & community manager. If you’ve tuned into one of our webinars before, you may remember me. If you’re new today, then it’s great to have you! In addition to our monthly webinars, I’m the person you’ll see running our Twitter, Facebook, and other social accounts. Feel free to follow me, or our uberVU official pages, so we can stay connected after today’s presentation!
  • Now, for a little bit of housekeeping before we really jump in. If you’re tweeting during the webinar, we’d love it if you interacted with us and your fellow attendees using the hashtagSocial T H (for social travel & hospitality).For updates from uberVU after the webinar, follow us on Twitter at uberVU or check out more in-depth updates on our blog at you have any questions during the webinar, submit them through the question box in GoToWebinar. We’ll try to save the last few minutes of today’s webinar to answer them if we can!
  • For those of you who aren’t familiar with uberVU, our team has created a real-time social media marketing platform designed for social media managers, community managers, and other marketers who use social media on a day-to-day basis. Essentially, uberVU helps social marketers observe key social conversations, connect with customers and share their success with others in their organizations – more than just monitoring & posting, uberVU tells them what they need to know, NOW.
  • After the webinar, you should head over to and click “See it Live” – we have a travel & hospitality specific industry demo account set up where you can see stats and analytics about many of the big brands in the industry, including many of the brands we’ll cover today.
  • Today’s webinar, as you know, will focus on 3 important social media use cases in the Travel & Hospitality industry. We’ll be sharing examples from major hotel & airline brands, but if you’re from another type of company, many of the tips will be applicable to you, too.
  • And now, for our 3 key use cases. These are the 3 most important use cases we think travel & Hospitality brands can do through social media. Obviously, there are other use cases as well, ad as businesses become more social, the variety of uses will expand over time. However, if your brand isn’t using social for AT LEAST these 3 purposes, it should be! Brand building and real-time marketing are 2 use cases your marketing, PR, or communications department will probably be involved in – a major advantage of being social, as many of you probably know, is the chance to attract and engage an audience that’s made up of customers and potential customers, as well as industry influencers and news sources. Customer Service is a use case that’s probably going to be run by, you guessed it, your customer service team. However, since social customer service is so much more public-facing than traditional customer service methods, it’s great if you can achieve a close integration between your social CS team and your marketing or communications team – you might be sharing a Twitter handle, after all!
  • So, when we talk about Travel & Hospitality brands using social media for BRAND BUILDING, what do we mean?
  • Overall, brand building is just what it sounds like: building up your brand’s presence and attracting attention among your target audience. It achieves a lot of goals at the top of the sales funnel – the awareness phase. Brand building allows you to increase awareness or your existing brand (or create awareness for a new brand) you’re not JUST putting your name out there: you’re also building awareness for your brand IDENTITY –showing more than just what you do, but WHO YOU AREIf you’re a marketer, you probably already know what personality traits your brand aims to reveal. Social helps you find and connect with more people who share those traits and may be future customers!In a similar vein, social allows you to show not just what your brand’s personality is, but reveal some of the governing principles for how it operates. Many ways to achieve [company leader statements etc.] you’re more than what you do.Building brand affinity is much easier when you’ve already achieved a high level of awareness and conveyed your personality and company values. Affinity is really where you get people to identify with you, like your brand, and want to do business with it.
  • Now, I’ll share a couple of examples of industry companies building their brands through social.In this example, you can see United Airlines is using Twitter & a YouTube video (no shame in repurposing content & sharing on more than one network!) to show their company value, providing exceptional customer service.
  • Here, Delta used Google+ to reach a targeted community. Google+ users tend to be more male, with higher incomes, and often more tech-savvy compared to users of other platforms. They’ve used an on-brand image complete with tagline here, and have gotten some good engagement from fans – 72 +1s when we took this screenshot! They’re building their brand personality as one that’s curious, always improving, and adventurous, and hoping they attract an audience that can identify with those traits.
  • Here, Marriott is using Pinterest as a brand-building tool: specifically speaking to an audience they think may be planning weddings and honeymoons with this board. They’re building up a brand position as a chain that offers romance and leisure, not just business travel. Bonus points to Marriott for knowing that beach/blue sky photos have a tendency to go viral with Re-Pins, garnering more impressions with the mostly-female social network.
  • I want to do an in-depth analysis of what Four Seasons—specifically Four Seasons Bridal-- is doing as a brand-building initiative. They’re expanding on the usual luxury Four Seasons brand to position themselves as a great place to host a wedding. With this goal in mind, Four Seasons has created social offshoots of their main pages in order to speak directly to brides in planning mode for their weddings. - dedicated Four Seasons Bridal Pinterest account - a dedicated Twitter handle- related Twitter chat Four Seasons Bridal hosted. [explain what they’re aiming to do here—resource for brides planning liux weddings]By using these outlets to speak directly to brides, Four Seasons isn’t alienating other types of fans like they might if they combined the bridal positioning with their regular Four Seasons pages. While any campaign like this runs the risk of cannibalizing SOME of your brand’s regular fan base, in this case we think Four Seasons made the right choice – their network on these accounts may only identify as a bride for a year or two at most, but with the planning help they’ve gotten from these Four Seasons resources, they might convert into a lifelong fan or customer.
  • So why do these brand-building efforts matter to your brand? We talked about what brand-building does for your brand a little earlier, but how does it actually impact your marketing goals?[talk through slide content]
  • As with any good social media effort, you’ll need to measure what you’re doing to determine if your social brand-building efforts are successful. You’ve likely heard the battle over how to measure social media ROI, but here are actual social media stats you can monitor through a social media marketing platform or through some of the social networks insights themselves.[cover info in slide]
  • The second use case we’ll cover today is Customer Service. As I mentioned, this might be outside the marketing department, but for travel & Hospitality brands it’s extremely crucial to cover yourself on social as that’s more and more often the place people go to share positive and negative experiences with brands (and of course with their followers, too).
  • So what does social customer service look like? Obviously, a primary purpose of it is to quickly and easily resolve a customer’s complaint (or thank them for a commendation on a good experience). Social has the added bonus of typically being quicker to answer and resolve easy problems, meaning a customer can go through Twitter instead of sitting on hold on the phone in order to have the issue resolved. It’s easy to track people through social, too, so you can tell who they are and look them up in your reservation system quickly.Social also allows you to keep a customer service issue from becoming a debacle, if you address it quickly. You have a public channel to address a potentially damaging remark – no need to call up a reporter to resolve a potential PR crisis when a celebrity tweets an angry experience, because you can take the matter into your own hands.
  • So what does social customer service look like? I’m sure many of these responses will look familiar to you if you’re in the industry. Here, American Airlines expertly transitions a request for help from public Tweet to DM in order to help this customer out. They’ve shown publicly that they’re taking action, but using a private channel to help the customer and get more information about the situation.
  • Here, JetBlue responds to this customer’s simple expression of frustration and expresses sympathy. They know they can’t be perfect 100% of the time, but they can be understanding and offer extra assistance even when they can’t change the current circumstances. I like how JetBlue doesn’t just leave it at the first response, they see the angry tweeter all the way through to her call about a refund!
  • Hilton Hotels have a great approach to customer service. Like Four Seasons did with it’s bride-specific outreach, Hilton has separated its customer service identity into a separate twitter handle. We’ve noticed some other hotels and airlines doing this as well. Hilton Help responds to inquiries directed at them, but also to responses directed at Hilton Hotels in general. They make sure people are being heard and respond quite quickly to tweets.You can see from these examples that Hilton responds to inquiries like the one on the left side of this slide. They save time with social by just answering the customer directly rather than referring them to another link or platform to get the inquiry resolved. The second query, on the right side, addresses an impatient tweet and offers to close the gap by contacting the hotel in question on the customer’s behalf. They’re using social media time-savings in order to go above and beyond for the customer. Great job to Hilton by delivering a stellar customer service experience for the guest and not shirking the responsibility just because it’s directed to one individual hotel.CAUTION: if you use a 2nd account like this, make sure it’s actually active and responding to posts addressed to the primary brand.
  • So what are the potential benefits of offering good social media customer service?[cover info in slide]
  • How can you tell if you’re doing a good job with customer service, socially?You probably have standard customer service metrics that can be applied to the realm of social responses, like response time and # of queries addressed per person, but we also recommend monitoring overall sentiment about your brand and your mentions-to-replies ratio to make sure you’re not leaving too many (if any) legitimate requests unresolved.Again, you can use manual data analysis or a social media platform to help calculate these stats.
  • real-time marketing: one of the biggest marketing buzzwords of 2013! It’s been around much longer than that, but real-time marketing definitely has had a resurgence this year.
  • So, what is it?We like to divide real-time marketing up into 2 categories: content-based and conversation-based.Content based RTM involves creating content (can be video, imagery, or clever text) and interjecting it into trending conversations. The key here is for your brand to engage an audience that’s already talking abut something (think, the Super Bowl or Oscars) and participate in a relevant, timely way. This is a great opportunity for chains as well as local outlets or franchisees to participate – you can participate in a national event or a local one, as long as you’re engaging in a conversation that’s relevant to your target audience.Conversation based RTM is real-time ENGAGEMENT – you’re participating more directly in current conversations, reacting to them. Sometimes, these conversation based marketing opportunities can arise from Customer Service events, so that’s one reason it’s important to keep those two teams tied closely together in your organization.
  • One quick reminder before we jump into the hotel & airline examples for real-time marketing. This tweet from Oreo during this year’s Super Bowl here in the US brought RTM to the attention of many marketers. It was a great, timely and relevant post, and something many brands have tried to imitate since then. But you need to keep in mind: you’re not Oreo! Make sure your real-time content is something that happens during an event or discussion that’s relevant to YOUR audience – which might not be the Super Bowl. Instead, think about occasions where travelers will be talking about something – around the holidays or during school vacations may be good places to start thinking. Make sure you’re not participating in a trend just because it’s a trend!
  • Here, we liked Delta’s clever real-time content marketing around the Royal Baby (from earlier this summer). It’s on-brand with the Delta planes in the mobile, and alludes their motto of always exploring with the “show you the world” text. In addition, Delta is doing this in a really classy way – they’re not using the Royal Baby as a chance to try and sell flights, but simply participating in a happy event that got global attention.
  • Virgin Holidays and Virgin America had some more great content-based RTM moments here. Each used imagery to express excitement about the lifting of gay marriage bans (the champagne toast on the left was in the UK, the pair of planes on the right a riff on a common equals-sign image used to support the effort in the US). Again, these brands are participating in the conversation in ways that show their support, but don’t try and capitalize on it with sales efforts. You could even call these a brand-building real-time marketing effort, as they express company values and personality – it’s easy for people who also support the issue to identify with and feel good about these 2 Virgin airline posts.
  • Virgin (this time Virgin America) really knocked conversation-based real time marketing out of the park with an effort in Boston and a few other cities. They capitalized on a real-life cold snap (and used the flurry of tweets about it to kick things off) to connect with social media users who weren’t even talking directly TO them. The FITFOO (flying in the face of the ordinary) branding effort by Virgin America is an ongoing effort, but in this case, they brought this cold travel blogger gloves and a warm ride to work. Virgin did their homework with this one: Melanie isn’t just an average Twitter user, she’s a travel blogger and industry influencer. Virgin capitalized on the chance to help Melanie out and bet on the fact that Melanie was likely to share her experience via social. Great word-of-mouth marketing for the brand- and I bet they got a customer for life with this kind effort, too!
  • So, what can you achieve with these 2 types of Real Time Marketing? [cover slide content][good opps for local and corporate outlets in RTM]
  • And how can you measure your real-time success? Look for your target audience taking actions on the content you’ve created for these occasions. [cover slide content]
  • We’ll do our best to get to as many questions as we can.
  • The 3 Most Important Things Travel & Hospitality Brands Need to do on Social Media

    1. 1. The 3 Most Important Things Hotels & Airlines Need to do on Social Media What travel & hospitality brands are doing, how they do it, and why your brand needs to, too #socialTH August 29, 2013
    2. 2. Your Presenter: Elisabeth Michaud Social Media Marketing/ Community Manager uberVU #socialTH @emichau d
    3. 3. Interact! Use the hashtag #socialTH Follow along Follow us on Twitter for ongoing updates: @uberVU Questions? Submit questions anytime through GoToWebinar – time permitting, answers will be at the end 1 2 3 #socialTH
    4. 4. About uberVU #socialTH
    5. 5. #socialTH
    6. 6. Image credits: Hotel and Airplane Hotels Airlines
    7. 7. Brand Building Customer Service Real-Time Marketing 1 2 3 #socialTH
    8. 8. Brand Building 1 #socialTH
    9. 9. Brand Building 1 #socialTH • Increase awareness • Show brand personality • Showcase company values • Build brand affinity
    10. 10. #socialTH
    11. 11. #socialTH
    12. 12. #socialTH
    13. 13. #socialTH
    14. 14. Why it matters for your brand Increase awareness More positive impressions— ones your message has influenced. Show brand personality Create and guide the conversations about your brand; be a brand travelers love! Showcase company values A brand that has proven it knows how to do the right thing can be forgiven for its mistakes. Build brand affinity Loyalty and advocacy. #socialTH
    15. 15. Measure It! Growth over time in fans, followers, Likes, etc. Shares, RTs, +1, Pins: are people actively sharing the messages you put out? Geographic and demographic breakdowns of your followers: do they match up with your targets? Presence of related positioning words & phrases in your brand’s conversation map Sentiment for conversations about your brand #socialTH
    16. 16. Customer Service 2 #socialTH
    17. 17. Customer Service 2 #socialTH • Resolve customer issues • Use social to update and improve traditional customer service methods • Respond to public complaints that could damage the brand’s reputation
    18. 18. #socialTH
    19. 19. #socialTH
    20. 20. #socialTH
    21. 21. Why it matters for your brand Resolve customer issues Turn a hater into a lifelong customer – drive loyalty with an easy, quick response. Use social to update/improve traditional methods Resolve issues more quickly, armed with more data! Respond to public complaints that could damage brand reputation Solve a vocal customer’s problem and they could be singing your praises instead— positive word-of-mouth for your brand from a potentially volatile situation. #socialTH
    22. 22. Measure It! Number of mentions of your brand vs. number of replies you made Response time (ideally, this should be minutes or hours – NOT days!) Sentiment for conversations about your brand #socialTH
    23. 23. Real-Time Marketing 3 #socialTH
    24. 24. Real-Time Marketing 3 #socialTH • Content-based: engage a captive audience in a timely, relevant way • Conversation-based: listen & react to current conversations
    25. 25. #socialTH A friendly reminder about real-time marketing!
    26. 26. #socialTH
    27. 27. #socialTH
    28. 28. #socialTH
    29. 29. Why it matters for your brand Increase awareness Reach a large audience and gain new fans/followers by participating in the trend. Show brand personality & values Share who you are. Fans feel connected to your brand during a moment that’s relevant to their interests. Engage loyal fans Increased loyalty and potential for word-of-mouth virality. Convert the haters Gain a new customer or get a second look by marketing to a not-yet-fan. #socialTH Content-based RTM: Conversation- based RTM:
    30. 30. Measure It! Increased social following: are you gaining a new audience? Do people want to hear more from you? Shares, RTs, re-Pins: are you increasing your reach by creating shareable content? Likes, Comments, +1s, Pins: are people engaging with and talking about your real-time efforts? #socialTH
    31. 31. #socialTH
    32. 32. Thank you! Elisabeth Michaud @emichaud/ @ubervu Later this week, you’ll receive a link to the recorded webinar and slides. #socialTH Download 3 free cheat sheets with these use cases, plus a bonus use case:
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