Travel agents were forced to make many adjustments and physical travel agents are even considered a dying sector due to the arrival of internet 2.0. However, the number of travellers is growing, making traveling one of the most discussed topics on social networks. Users like to share their own experiences by posting photos/videos, using hashtags and leaving online reviews. Nowadays, everyone has their own opinion and is able to spread it online. These opinions can have a positive or negative effect on the reputation of a business. Changing negative feedback into something positive can be acomplished by social listening. (Brandwatch, 2014).
Social listening is more than just replying to comments and questions about a brand. It is about analysing conversations and actively listening to the wants and needs of the target audience. Travel agents that implement social listening into their marketing strategy have a competitive advantage and are able to create opportunities for their company (Jackson, 2018).
One of the most essential parts of social listening is that people talk about your brand. Analysing the conversations and researching online channels that are frequently used can help to understand the target group. Brands can discover the interest of their customers/prospects, they can see how people feel about their brand and they can identity problems. It is important that brands let their audience talk freely and consider positive and negative response. This will enable them to develop more engagement by creating content that suits the wants and needs of their audience (Litsa, 2018).
Actively listening to conversations can create new opportunities because you see what works and what does not work. Travel agents can use this to find patterns in the feedback their customers are giving. If they see a lot of negative feedback about a certain hotel, they can decide to talk to the supplier and improve this hotel or eliminate if from their offer. Another example is when one of their branches receives a lot of positive feedback because they send flowers to the customers after their holiday, the management can choose to implement this to the entire chain (Jackson, 2018).
A competitive advantage can be established by listening to the conversations of your competitors. If there is a lot of negative feedback your company can try to attract their customers by offering them what they need. Additionally, it is also a good idea to look at the top players on social media in your field to find out their strategy and implement the aspects that could work for your own company (Litsa, 2018).
Social listening can be difficult to start with but overall it offers a lot of benefits. It is easy to be caught up in all the negative feedback but it is important to filter and also acknowledge the positive response. By analysing the conversations travel agents are able to create campaigns based on the feedback and more importantly they can improve their products and services (Jackson, 2018).
Brandwatch. (2014, April 04). Social Listening for the Travel & Hospitality Industry. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/brandwatchsocial/brandwatch-travel-report2014
Jackson, D. (2018, April 12). What Is Social Listening & Why Is It Important? Retrieved from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-listening/
Litsa, T. (2018, January 03). Nine reasons for your brand to use social listening tools. Retrieved from https://www.clickz.com/nine-reasons-for-your-brand-to-use-social-listening-tools/112315/