The key of being a successful tour operator lies in the fact of knowing to sell the right product or service to the right customer. It all begins with the development of a successful marketing campaign that reaches the people who you want to buy your product. In order to do this it is essential to understand who that customer is and what their buying behaviour is (Oxford College of Marketing, 2017). This is the time to use social media.
Customer profiling is a “description of a customer of set of customers that includes demographics, geographics and psychographic characteristics, as well as buying patterns and purchase history” (Business Dictionary, 2017). Traditional customer profiling is based on internal data sources. This data consists of contact databases, product databases, transaction databases, sales information systems and marketing databases, which combined provides a generalised stereotype of the target audience (Peelen & Beltman, 2013, p. 126). This can be used as a basis, however this is not enough; it is of utmost importance to determine what people are interested in. Knowing what your customers hobbies are, how they spend their time, gives a more clear picture of an individual’s true personality (Soar, 2011).
Social media gives an insight into the customer. It provides information about their behaviour, their sentiment towards your brand, as well as the salience of particular topics (Canhoto, 2016). People use their social media to express their feelings, thoughts and give an in-depth glimpse at their personal life (Oxford College of Marketing, 2017). It is very interesting to find out what the customers communicate through social media networks in relation to the company, as well as their role in the brand community and their level of influence on these social networks (Peelen & Beltman, 2013, p. 126).
So, it is clear that social media should be used to make complete the customer profile. There are different ways in which social media can help the tour operator to get the most data out of this network. First of all, it helps to understand how your customers use your product or service. The tour operator wants to attract a certain type of customer, therefore it is very important that the message is adapted in such a way that it is in line with what the customer wants. Furthermore, social media is a great tool to ask the customer for feedback. Tour operators can find out what they are doing good, but also what frustrates them and needs improvement. This information is very valuable and when adapted, the customer relationship will increase. They feel their voice was heard and the product or service will become what they desire. Finally, social media is the most up to date and real time data that is out there. Tour operators need to constantly update and evolve their customer profiles, and social media is the best tool to use (Oxford College of Marketing, 2017).
Social media is the key to developing good customer profiles and should be used by all tour operators to really understand their customers. Social media provides good quality and up to date data, which is shared by the customers themselves. When listening to the customers, their interests and personalities can be determined and used in marketing strategies of the company. It is the key to success!
Business Dictionary. (2017). Customer Profile. Retrieved from businessdictionary: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/customer-profile.html
Canhoto, A. (2016, October 27). Benefits and challenges of using social media to profile consumers. Retrieved from anacanhoto.com: https://anacanhoto.com/2016/10/27/value-of-social-media-in-identifying-and-profiling-customers/
Oxford College of Marketing. (2017). Using Social Media Data To Enhance Your Customer Profiling. Retrieved from blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com: http://blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com/2014/08/28/using-social-media-data-to-enhance-your-customer-profiling/
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
Soar, D. (2011, October 18). How Social Media is Changing Customer Profiling. Retrieved from brandwatch.com: https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/how-social-media-is-changing-customer-profiling/