The Impact of Social Media on the Travel Industry.

For millions of Nigerians, the internet has become an essential part of their everyday social and business lives; although almost taken for granted, technology has helped organisations, corporations, and individuals steer through daily life with less hitches and headaches as was the case some decades back. Social media today, as a direct offshoot of technological advancement, is redefining the way travel companies and consumers interact.
Put into perspective, the level of internet penetration and general usage has increased exponentially in the last few years – recent surveys reveal that the number of internet users in Nigeria has risen from 200,000 in the year 2000, to more than 48 million by the end of 2012.
This growth has led to the spread of virtual communities; people now engage themselves real-time online via social media platforms. They share experiences and thoughts and even make decisions from information garnered online. Travel is one such personal experience. The best travel experiences do not come from guidebooks; instead, the best experience is gained from the places you visit, the people you meet along the way and the people who suggest places you would have never discovered otherwise. This type of interaction is currently pervasive online.
In this regard, travel companies and airlines today actively use Twitter, the micro-blogging website, to communicate directly with their target audience, thereby bypassing traditional communication vehicles. For instance, the immediacy and informality of Twitter allows marketers with travel agencies to come across as real people.
Similarly, Facebook has become the one-stop shop for a large audience seeking to socialize online. This provides important access to highly segmented customers and a natural stage for airlines to launch viral campaigns and new forms of interactive advertising.
Social media also allows for trip planning, sharing, inspiration, and drives engagement among vacationers. Consumers are always looking for suggestions, recommendations, and insight on social media having built trust among their group of followers and friends through Twitter and Facebook.
It’s no surprise, then, that social media should also affect how we travel and experience hospitality, at home or abroad. Here are a few ways social media has been affecting airlines and travellers:
Promo Fares – By default, everyone is looking for hot deals whenever they intend to travel by air and are always on the lookout for such deals from available carriers. Many airlines have achieved so much success by pushing fare deals through social media channels. This is becoming a common practise among airlines in the travel industry. They release these deals specifically for the benefit of their social media followers, whether on Twitter, Facebook on Instagram. The trick here is that they make it exclusive to social media platforms. Even though this is becoming a common practice, domestic airlines in Nigeria are not actively involved. In fact, the social media platforms of some Nigerian airlines are very dormant and hardly interact with their followers.
Real Time Sharing: Travelers can now share experiences in real time. You could be at the top of the Eiffel Tower and Skype your friends, have some FaceTime or host a Google Hangout with them. Barriers have all but vanished with new technologies, allowing travellers to be in contact with almost anyone, anywhere. Social media proves to be good company when you travel by yourself, whether by choice or by circumstance. With various blogger groups, user-generated sites and travel forums, there are more ways than ever to connect with fellow travelers and get to meet people.
Customer Service: Airline passengers all over the world who need to make changes to their travel plans or any other form of complaints now make use of social media. It has been proven that social media can produce quicker results than customer service lines. Travelers can interact easily, instantly, with brands and other travellers and tech savvy travelers are increasingly using social media to provide real-time feedback to carriers and share their experiences with others. You need to stay sharp if you want to keep up and stay engaged!
Flight Alerts – Passengers are most likely going to get the latest and fastest information about their flight schedules, re-schedules or cancellation on social media, particularly on Twitter. Airports and airlines all over the world now run very active Twitter handles that churn out updates about their services. A recent example is the Los Angeles Airport shooting. The LAX airport twitter handle @Lax_official was responsible for giving out up to date information to travellers and the general public for the entire period of the incident.
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By 9jatravel / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

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on Oct 03, 2015

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