Research Insights Travel Brands on Social Networks: What's Not To "Like"?

Travel Brands on Social Networks: What's Not To "Like"?

January 2012
David Juman

Travel Brands on Social Networks: What's Not To "Like"?

A recent report from Phocuswright reveals that while U.S. consumers who plan their travel online frequently engage with or endorse their favorite brands on social networks, relatively few "like" or "follow" travel companies online. According to Phocuswright's Traveler Technology Survey 2011, travelers who are active on online social networks are as likely to "follow" or "like" a company as they are to post general comments or photos on a social network. However, less than three in 10 have "liked" or "followed" a travel company, suggesting that despite their strong branding and often ambitious social media plans, many travel companies have fallen flat with their fans online.

Based on a comprehensive survey of more than 1,900 online travelers in the U.S., Phocuswright's Traveler Technology Survey 2011 examines the relationship between emerging technologies and leisure travelers, with a focus on social networks, smartphones and other mobile devices. According to the report, it is critical for travel companies to connect and engage with consumers who conduct travel-related activities on social networks, since these travelers not only spend more on travel than others, but also influence their friends' travel choices.

"Our research found that an overwhelming majority of online travelers in the U.S. 'like' or 'follow' companies on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter," says Carroll Rheem, director, research at Phocuswright. "However, only a fraction of them 'like' travel brands on these networks. It would be one thing if the product was unpleasant or mundane, but vacations are inherently enjoyable and aspirational – travel brands should be aiming higher. Until they are able to stimulate their 'likability,' travel companies are missing out on a valuable opportunity to engage with their audience."

Phocuswright's Traveler Technology Survey 2011 includes:
  • Metrics on social network participation among online travelers, analyzed by network (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc.), traveler age and frequency of use
  • Overview of general and travel-related social network activities, and the influence of social media channels on travel-purchasing decisions
  • Analysis of online travelers' ownership and adoption of smartphones and other Web-enabled devices, including PCs, tablets and more
  • Detailed examination of travelers' mobile Internet usage, highlighting travel-related mobile activities such as pre-trip research, mobile bookings and a range of in-travel mobile activities (navigation/mapping, flight check-in and social network trip updates)
  • Segmentation of leisure travel expenditure by key characteristics including technology adoption, smartphone ownership and social network activity
Phocuswright's Traveler Technology Survey 2011 (US$1,295), an Innovation Edition publication, highlights the dynamic relationship between consumer travel and technology, providing travel companies with key insights into evolving trends and opportunities.