In the week that we released our latest Serious Social focusing on travel, one of the biggest sites in this sector, TripAdvisor has revealed they will be developing a social feed within their proposition. There are 56 million conversations around travel in social… look at the word “holiday” and you’ll find mentions in the region of 5 million on Twitter, 9m on Facebook*. It’s a noisy industry where trust and reputation are big drivers in consideration for consumers.
TripAdvisor recently found that their research into the most important elements when planning a trip was not just ‘reviews’ at 66%, but ‘friends & family recommendations’ at 62%. (36% watch videos, 47% read articles and 45% look at photos, by the way).
To be fair, they were already close to being a social network – a website that allows people with similar interests to come together and share information, photos, and videos – so what’s new?
Later this year, an initial group of 500 publishers, brands and social media influencers will be available to “follow”, as well as friends and family who create a profile, in order to provide a personalised feed of information. With the ever-growing trend for influencer marketing and growth of trust in new sources, the feed aims to be a place to solve traveler queries, constantly inspire and allow users to curate the content they see. It will include a “Trips” planning tool, much like Airbnb, as well as a Maps function which will notify users if they are near a location which has been reviewed.
It’s likely this will appeal to the independent traveler, those with wanderlust and digital natives looking for an easy way to do research without too much legwork. Could it become the place to “check in”, rather than Facebook? Will the majority of people move over to a separate network… or will that really only happen when there’s an automatic integration at some point in the future?
More than this, what does it mean for brands and their social media strategy? According to TripAdvisor, the current platform advertising options will remain the same, for now, with the social feed operating fairly separately. Surely it won’t be long, though, until travel brands need to think about adding this to the opportunities to reach people who are in the travel & leisure mindset.
Within that thinking, excellent content has to be top of the list. Bland stock footage videos or slideshows of stills aren’t going to cut it – they’ll need to tell a story, be authentic and above all, thumb-stopping.
If you’re a travel brand with a social strategy that’s stalled, get in touch to find out how we can help you stand out.