Published on Friday, June 3, 2011

TravelMole Guest Comment: How travel brands are performing in social media

Steve Richards, MD of Yomego, unveils the results of an investigation into how the top travel brands are performing in social media.

"We all talk about our holidays. Whether we’ve had the experience of a lifetime or a holiday from hell, we tell people. A few years ago we’d talk about it in the pub, or the office. These days, we’re as likely to discuss it on Twitter, Facebook and TripAdvisor. Our views are broadcast to a much wider audience than our circle of friends.

One of the things we do at Yomego is to chart how online media affects the reputations of brands. We looked at five of the biggest online travel brands – Expedia, Travelocity, Thomas Cook, First Choice and Trailfinders – to see how their reputations are faring on social media. We analyse ‘reach’ (how many people are talking about a brand online) and ‘satisfaction’ to produce an overall reputation (SMR) score out of 100. To put scores into context, the highest brands like Apple and Google have SMR scores into the 90s.

Expedia leads the five, scoring 71 out of 100. It dominates online conversations and has a popular Facebook page. It has also begun to embrace free apps, with the launch of TripAssist earlier this year earning praise from travellers.

Ranking second is Travelocity with a score of just over 67. It has over 80,000 ‘likes’ on its ‘Roaming Gnome’ Facebook page and travellers publically praise the user-friendly site and strong customer service. Satisfaction dips a little with customers questioning the robustness of its ‘Travelocity Guarantee’.

The rather more traditional brand, Thomas Cook, comes third with a score of 57. Thomas Cook arrived late at the social media party (its Facebook page was set up in Dec ’09) and activity is still somewhat sparse. A new foreign currency app has received positive reviews.

Fourth, with an SMR score of 49, is First Choice, which has the lowest satisfaction score of the brands we looked at. Its Facebook page is full of complaints, the majority of which have had no apparent response, and engagement levels are very low. There’s a real opportunity here that First Choice is ignoring, to listen to what customers are saying, and put right problems quickly.

Last is Trailfinders, which has managed to get an overall score of 47 despite a reach score of less than two. It doesn’t seem to have any social media presence – surprising when you think of the demographic it is trying to reach. Its satisfaction score is astoundingly high at 89.12 – the highest of the five brands we looked at. So, if Trailfinders decides to claim its social media patch it looks as though it has a solid group of fans ready and waiting.

If you’d like us to run an SMR score on your travel company, contact us and we’ll let you know how your brand is doing against your competitors."

Click here

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