Online travel agencies reach out to “brand afficionados” in campaigns
Social media, especially Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, are becoming more widely used as travel companies’ marketing tools to target big audiences and improve brand loyalty. This is particularly important as much greater numbers of people are planning to take a summer vacation this year than during the last two years. Not only family holidays are seeing a huge improvement in demand but also girlfriend getaways and “man-cations”, while business travel is booming: “If the economy grows 2%, we’ll likely see travel growing 4% or even a bit higher than that,” says the VP for client services at Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
Travel companies are using social media mainly as additional marketing tools. American Express has launched an online quiz to find users’ “travel signs” and then booking mystery travel itineraries via social media technology. Orbitz has just announced a Facebook campaign that offers free flights to Las Vegas to the first “fans” of the company each day who use their guidelines to book a hotel room. On Twitter, Orbitz is giving free airline tickets to followers who retweet a message they put out.
However, it could be argued that the companies are simply targeting people who are already their “brand afficionados” and are not necessarily reaching a new audience.