It appears that the old addage, “the customer is always right,” still rings true, at least in the world of social media. What a consumer experiences in their travels is readily available to the global population via social websites. And the people who read this information, use that input to make their decisions about how they will book their trips.
The findings are from a PhoCusWright study, which analyzed 1.9 million traveler reviews and visitor referral and conversion traffic. This coincided with researching over 50 social travel websites, including social networking sites.
A key finding showed that users are less passive, with the shift from searching and consuming, to collaborating and commentating. The new dynamic in which the user generates further content, also paves the way in which social media commentators have the potential to influence other travelers, suppliers, products, and services. Promising figures show a 34 percent increase in monthly visitors to social travel websites between 1H08 and 2H09. This shows the growth in the online travel industry last year, despite the global economic downturn.
Douglas Quinby, senior director of research at PhoCusWright stated, “There continues to be a big gap between the enormous promise of social media and the current reality of realizing and measuring those returns.”
The report suggested the industry should aim to better understand the needs of consumers and improve their communication channels in order to keep up-to-date with social media trends.
The full report is available for purchase at http://www.phocuswright.com/store/1243 .