A continuation of Zemoga’s week-long guide to helping industry giants go digital.
**By Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)**
When I was a kid, I imagined air travel to be a glamorous thing. I had images of beautiful women with tailored dresses handing people cocktails, of wearing giant sunglasses and of carrying a hatbox stepping onto the tarmac in Los Angeles. There was a time that when one traveled, the phoned an agent and had everything arranged. You had a thick ticket in hand and, as you paid such a premium, you were treated with the utmost of service and respect. Then it got cheaper. And became more realistic, and sometimes cheaper, for the masses. And then the internet got involved.
While now people can fly cross-country for nearly the same cost as driving, the amenities are slowly going away – from long check-in lines and security details to keeping people sitting in the plane, on the tarmac, for hours; to no snacks to charging for luggage to not allowing luggage at all, people are becoming frustrated with the industry. And, while they are able to turn to trains and cars for some travel, the fact is that America is a country where we like things to happen and we like them to happen now – so we’re not going to give up on air travel anytime soon.
People aren’t about to stop traveling. They’re not about to stop “getting away from it all” or visiting grandma or going on business trips. They need to get there and the need somewhere to stay when they do. And competition for their business is stiff. The travel industry needs to compete
Hotels.com is about to launch an augmented reality advertising campaign, where people can put themselves into one of several animated vacations. Like any good interactive campaign, it’s fun and engaging. Who doesn’t want to spend some time inserting themselves (or photos of themselves) into Las Vegas or New Orleans. Whether planning a trip or not, the site (partnering with Weather Channel and Metromix) offers people a way to engage in and with Hotels.com. It certainly gives them something that no other travel site is doing right now. Which, perhaps, will bring people back to them when it’s time to book their vacation.
A couple of months ago Mashable had a great article about how airlines and hotels could use social media to drive their revenue, and while I won’t rehash the whole thing here, I will share the tip that rung most true from my perspective, tip number five: Remember that social media is about building relationships.
And that’s what the travel industry needs to do. It needs to build relationships. From JetBlue Tweeting about delays and travel deals and, importantly, responding to customer concern, to the app that Zemoga built for Continental’s Facebook page, the travel industry needs to form relationships through conversation. It’s the only way that they are going to survive. In this age of instant communication, it’s too easy for bad PR to spread quickly. If the industry uses the power of social networks to have a conversation, grow and nurture relationships not only will they be able to grow brand loyalty and positive word of mouth, they will be able to grow their revenue stream.