A look back at a summer of travel on social

Summer holidays are a distant dream for most of us, now that we are headed towards the end of the year. All we’re left with are the pictures and memories on social media. Whilst we look fondly back on this summer, the Travel industry can use this post-holiday peak of social data to draw out insights that inform next year’s social strategy.

What happened on social this summer?  We took a look at some of the key insights from this year’s summer holiday chatter.

If you’re going to pay for social, make it efficient

Companies in the ‘sharing economy’ tends to have a natural affinity with those on social. It’s clear from fan growth that people like to talk about the companies that feel like the people’s brands. Uber and Airbnb do well by tapping into this desire.

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Well that’s true of many market disruptors, but for most of the industry, they need to pay to play in social. A study by SocialBakers reveals that some categories fair better than others when it comes to paid promotional posts.

Accommodation does best, swiftly followed by Transportation and Airlines. However the least efficient in their paid promotions are cities, places and countries. Sure, they spend a little less, but the smaller spend is less effective at working hard and driving interaction.

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Now is the time for these brands to reflect. What works, what doesn’t? How do the top performers gain attention and engagement. What can they learn from the disruptors and those turning every penny into greater awareness and engagement?

Maybe the trigger is in FoMO

One emerging trend in travel on social, is a ‘fear of missing out’, or FoMO. Increasingly consumers are looking for travel and holidays that are ‘social media worthy’. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 53% of consumers actually feel under pressure to buy holidays that are adventurous and unique so they can talk about them on social media.

It seems we are after instagrammable experiences. We want to show off, as well as relax. So much so, it is somewhat taking over our decision making when we look to buy our next vacation. Social media is in the thick of this desire for the unusual and noteworthy. It is a huge part of our consideration and motivation to purchase.

Research by the University of Georgia suggests it is not just the opportunities to take great pictures that we are chasing, but the social ‘likes’, shares and comments. Its seems consumers are driven by the need for positive feedback – we are seeking approval.

This desire for social validation is influencing our selection of destination. We care more about how we might be perceived on holiday, rather than just functionality, price or even the weather.

Travel marketers need to approach social with a clear view of these behavioural triggers. Many motivations for holiday selection go beyond the emotional, to travel that deliver social kudos. That means playing on the brand attributes that make a company or destination unique. With content more attuned to these behaviours we can then drive better paid promotional efficiency and greater results. It seems for next summers booking it will be all about celebrating the different, the exotic and the social opportunity!

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