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Apr 24, 2023
9 minutes read

From Inspiration to Booking: The Evolution of Travel Planning through Social Media

If you haven't already, it's time to start tapping into the power of social media. From inspiring to providing customer service, social media has revolutionised how people experience leisure and travel. And one tool that has played a significant role in this transformation is Meta.

In this article, we're exploring the fascinating ways that social media is changing the face of the leisure and travel industry.

We’re also diving into the ways that social channels are helping travel companies connect with customers, offer personalised recommendations, and even automate customer service. If you’re looking to increase conversions, build customer loyalty, and drive growth for your business, then read on.

Social media’s influence on travel

It’s no secret that social media has revolutionised the way people experience leisure and travel. From sharing photos and videos to providing tips and reviews, social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have become essential tools for travellers around the world.

One of the most fascinating roles of social media in leisure and travel is its ability to inspire and influence people's choices. By following travel bloggers, influencers, and other social media personalities, people can discover new destinations, activities, and experiences that they might never have considered before. Social media also allows users to see what their friends and family are up to, including their travel experiences, which can encourage them to visit new places and try new things. It’s an exciting time for those with wanderlust!

However, there’s more to it. Social media also plays a critical role in helping travellers plan their trips. Platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp provide users with valuable reviews and ratings of hotels, restaurants, and attractions, helping them make informed decisions about where to stay and what to do. Users can also use social media to research destinations, find travel deals, and book reservations.

Once our intrepid explorers arrive at their destinations, social media continues to play a vital role in their experiences. They use various platforms to share their adventures with friends and family back home, to connect with locals and other travellers, and to discover new activities and attractions. Social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are particularly popular for sharing travel photos and inspiration.

It’s now easier than ever to plan, book, and share experiences. As social media continues to evolve and new platforms emerge, it's likely that its role in leisure and travel will only become more significant in the years to come.

A focus on Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger, one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, has also contributed significantly to the growth of the leisure and travel industry. From simply connecting people, this smart app has become a powerhouse in the world of business. Here are some ways Facebook Messenger has made an impact:

Customer service

Many travel companies now offer customer service support through Facebook Messenger. Customers can use Messenger to ask questions, get help with booking, and receive updates on their travel plans. This has made customer service more convenient and accessible for travellers.

Importantly, this ubiquitous platform caters to the desire and expectation of personalisation. Today’s travellers expect personalised experiences and recommendations based on their interests and preferences. They know that you have the tech - and they expect you to use it. Social media and other digital technologies allow travel companies to gather this critical data and provide more personalised experiences.

Chatbots

Some travel companies have integrated chatbots into Facebook Messenger to help users find the information they need quickly and easily. Chatbots can help users find flights, hotels, and attractions, and even suggest personalised travel itineraries based on their preferences. (More on this in a little bit.)

Group chats

Facebook Messenger's group chat feature is perfect for organising group travel plans. Friends and family members can use Messenger to coordinate travel arrangements, share itinerary details, and stay in touch while on the road.

Deals and offers

Many travel companies use Facebook Messenger to share exclusive deals and offers with their followers. This helps them reach a wider audience and generate more bookings.

Advertising

Facebook Messenger offers travel companies a powerful advertising platform. By targeting specific demographics and interests, travel companies can reach potential customers and promote their products and services more effectively.

Overall, Facebook Messenger has become an essential tool for travellers and travel companies alike. Its convenience, accessibility, and features have made it easier for adventurers to plan their trips and for travel companies to connect with their customers. As Messenger continues to evolve, it's likely that its role in the leisure and travel industry will only continue to grow.

Inspiration through Instagram

With its glorious visuals and simple interface, Instagram is understandably a popular destination for travellers. It opens up the world in all its beauty and is a wonderful channel to create excitement.

Instagram Marketing Messages

Instagram messaging has become a popular way for travel companies to connect with their customers. By using Instagram Direct, companies can offer personalised customer service, share travel recommendations, and answer questions in real time. Instagram messaging is particularly effective for reaching younger travellers who prefer messaging over phone or email.

By sending personalised and relevant notifications, travel companies can remind customers about upcoming trips, offer special deals and promotions, and encourage bookings. Instagram Marketing Messages is the perfect solution to share recommendations and inspire travellers to book.

Chatbots

More businesses than ever - across all industries - are realising the value of chatbots for Instagram. AI chatbots can be used to automate responses to common questions, provide personalised recommendations, and offer assistance with booking and planning. Chatbots are especially useful for handling high volumes of inquiries and providing 24/7 customer service.

Customer segmentation

Any business worth its salt understands the value of segmenting customers based on their preferences and behaviour. This process assists travel companies by sending relevant and timely messages and offers that are more likely to resonate with their customers. This can lead to higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty.

Social proof

By sharing user-generated content and reviews, travel companies can build trust with potential customers and encourage bookings. Instagram messaging can be used to share social proof and encourage customers to share their own travel experiences. And who doesn’t love to share their stunning holiday snaps?

Advertising on social platforms

In addition to providing customer service, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp can also be used to advertise leisure and travel businesses. With over 2.9 billion monthly active users on Facebook alone, it is an excellent platform for businesses to reach potential customers.

Instagram ads

Instagram has over 1.3 billion monthly active users, making it one of the most popular social media platforms for advertising. Instagram ads can be created using a range of ad formats, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and story ads. They can be targeted based on demographics, interests, behaviours, and more.

In the leisure and travel industry, Instagram ads can be used to showcase stunning travel destinations, promote special deals, and attract new customers. For example, a travel agency can create an Instagram ad showcasing a luxurious resort in Bali with a special discount for customers who book before a specific date.

Facebook ads

Facebook ads are similar to Instagram ads in terms of ad formats and targeting options. Businesses can use Facebook ads to promote their products or services, drive traffic to their website, and increase brand awareness. Facebook ads can be targeted based on location, age, gender, interests, and more.

In the leisure and travel industry, Facebook ads can be used to showcase travel destinations, promote travel packages, and encourage customers to book a trip. For example, a travel agency can create a Facebook ad showcasing a group tour to Europe, with an option for customers to book directly through Facebook.

Click to WhatsApp ads

Click to WhatsApp ads are a powerful marketing tool that businesses can use to engage with their customers on WhatsApp. With Click to WhatsApp ads, customers can initiate a chat with businesses directly from their ad on Facebook, Instagram or other platforms, allowing for a more personalised experience.

Personalised Messaging

Once customers have opted in to receive messages, businesses can send personalised messages based on their previous interactions with the customer. For instance, a travel agency can send a message to a customer who previously enquired about a trip to Thailand, with a personalised itinerary and special offers.

Travel Assistance

WhatsApp ads also provide an opportunity for businesses in the leisure and travel industry to offer assistance to their customers.

A hotel, for instance, can send a message to a customer with details of their booking, including check-in times and directions to the hotel. Customers can also use the chat feature to ask for assistance with any issues they may face during their trip. Moreover, WhatsApp Chatbots are especially useful for handling high volumes of inquiries and providing 24/7 customer service after hours.

Improved Customer Engagement

With Click to WhatsApp ads, businesses can reach out to their customers and initiate a conversation, rather than waiting for customers to approach them. This results in improved customer engagement and a more personalised experience. Businesses can also use WhatsApp to send targeted promotions and offers to their opted-in customers, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

In conclusion, Click to WhatsApp ads provide businesses in the leisure and travel industry with a powerful marketing tool to engage with their customers on a more personal level. By sending personalised messages based on previous interactions and offering travel assistance, businesses can improve their customer engagement and build long-term relationships with their customers.

The value of AI Chatbots in leisure and travel

This article would be incomplete without a mention of AI Chatbots. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been transforming various industries, and the leisure and travel industry is no exception. AI chatbots have become increasingly popular among leisure and travel businesses as they can provide personalised and immediate assistance to customers, making their travel experience seamless and hassle-free. Chatbots can help businesses automate certain routine tasks, which saves time and money, and frees up human resources for other tasks.

AI Chatbots are designed to communicate with customers in a conversational tone, making it feel like you are talking to a human agent; which is exactly what consumers want given the context of their interaction.

They can provide customers with travel recommendations, flight schedules, hotel bookings, and even help with visa applications. AI Chatbots can also help customers with any issues they may face during their travel, such as delayed flights or lost luggage.

AI Chatbots are available 24/7, which means customers can get assistance at any time of the day, regardless of their location. This can be especially helpful for international travellers who may be in different time zones.

Blazing the trail in travel

As a forward-thinking company, you no doubt want to make the very best use of these social tools to grow your business and keep your customers coming back. This doesn’t have to be hard. Consider the following:

Mobile-first

Never forget the vital importance of mobile devices in the travel industry. Mobile devices are now the primary way that travellers research and book their trips. Travel companies that optimise their websites and booking processes for mobile devices are more likely to succeed in attracting and retaining customers.

Visual content

Visual content, particularly photos and videos, is essential in inspiring and engaging travellers. When you create compelling visual content and share it on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you’ll capture the attention of potential customers and inspire them to book their trips.

Influencer Marketing

Love it or hate it, influencer marketing is still very much a thing. By finding and partnering with the right influencers and social media personalities, travel companies can reach a wider audience and generate more bookings.

Tying it all together

As a contender in the competitive world of leisure and travel, we’re sure that you want to make the most of these opportunities in the social arena. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create one space that brings all the channels and data together in a single, user-friendly system.

That's why we've developed a solution that ties it all together, providing you with a centralised hub for managing multiple conversations across popular channels like WhatsApp, Instagram Messaging, and Facebook Messenger. Say goodbye to scattered interactions and hello to streamlined efficiency.

By integrating and consolidating your customer communications, you can deliver exceptional support while empowering your agents with a comprehensive view of previous conversations. No more lost context or fragmented interactions.

And, we offer flexible packages tailored to businesses of all sizes and budgets, ensuring that you can find the perfect fit for your specific needs.

Maximise your social presence and elevate your customer support experience today

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CM.com
connects tens of thousands of companies with millions of consumers via their mobile phone each day. Behind the scenes, from our innovative platform, CM.com makes sure companies can use these millions of messages, phone calls and payments to become part of people’s lives.

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