Mobile technology and the whole social web made a huge development. From web 1.0 with interactive brochures until now, when the world is analysing about how web 4.0 will look like. The social web has started as a read-only medium and nowadays it is “the centre of all kinds of activities that people want to engage in” (Peelen & Beltman, 2013, p. 301). These kind of activities differ from doing purchases, to learning and communicating with other people. The web has become an important platform where people’s life takes place and where people are connected with their devices to get access to all the media and content they are searching for. The web has become a navigator for the consumer.
As a result of this development, the social web can play a different role in the various stages of a relationship between the company and the customers. The social web can be used in the beginning with information about the organization, their products, services and brands. It can also play a role within the development phase of a relationship with a customer. The customer could use some help orientating and selecting the right products and services. After the sales are made the social web can offer the ability to let customers provide feedback and companies provide extra service (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).
A good and practical example of the social web that plays a role in these different stages can be the online community. According to Peelen & Beltman (2013) internet had always “the intention to bring people together” (p. 298). The community started out with forum applications where anyone could leave a message. These boards became major hangouts for people who wanted to share information about their personal lives, their interests, but also about companies and their products (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).
An example within the tour operating industry is My Djoser. Djoser is a tour operator that offers a platform separated from their selling-website. On this platform, customers can create their own personal account which results in a personal page on My Djoser. This page shows a lot of various information about their previous and upcoming travels, for instance a list of the other group travellers and the possibility to post their holiday pictures. People can share their pictures of their previous destinations with other customers. In this way people can use the platform to be inspired and to be prepared for their next holidays (Djoser, 2016).
This community responds to the previous mentioned stages in the relationship with their customers. The customers will feel more engaged with the company, because they can orientate and be inspired by other people’s photos of destinations, but also because of the fact there is a possibility to write reviews. All in all, this kind of platform can be very interesting for other tour operators to get more engaged with their own customers.
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). The nature of the CRM strategy. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management. Pearson Education Limited.