Creating Dialogue With Your Customers

Engaging with consumers is extremely essential for any company. The travel and hospitality industry especially benefits from keeping the conversation alive between customers. Not only is it effective to do so through company websites and other social media networks, but creating dialogue by the CEO is an even better way to get more personal with your targeted audience. Drew Patterson, CEO of Jetsetter is an example of this trend. Mashable.com discusses this in How Jetsetter’s CEO Keeps the Travel Conversation Flowing with Social Media, and provides a “Questions and Answers” section with Patterson himself for other travel industries to take note of.

Jetsetter is only two years old and their CEO has created a lot of buzz for the new brand thanks to consistent communication on the web with consumers. Jetsetter has approximately two million members and gives out 20 to 40 deals a week on all types of hotels throughout the world. With 127,00 Facebook likes and 26,000 Twitter followers, Jetsetter allows its members to take advantage of the social media to learn about the company, places to visit, organize vacations and work with customer service. Drew Patterson has made tremendous efforts to constantly create dialogue with customers and has seen a great benefit as a result. First of all, Jetsetter’s business model involves having members associate travel with anything possible. Therefore, they like to post things online that involve anything travel-related to get that idea in the consumers’ head. Patterson describes social media to be, “immediate, lightweight, targeted and personal.” Consumers today are constantly seeking ways to directly communicate with companies. With social media, you are able to see what kind of people are behind the company and how they relate to the company’s values. Patterson also highlights the importance of establishing trust and confidence, especially in the travel industry. Thanks to online social media, travelers can talk to others who have experienced a certain destination, hotel or adventure. Feedback from others is key. Jetsetter’s social strategy continues to grow along with the company by now taking mobile and social media into consideration. This combination is very influential and impossible to ignore these days. Drew Patterson gives final advice to other company CEOs, which is to not allow yourself to get distracted with all the online activity constantly going on. Instead, focus on forming and maintaining a relationship with consumers. They are the ones to communicate with and accommodate for.

Take a look at Patterson’s Twitter and see for yourself how he discusses travel with his followers. He incorporates his personality as well as the company’s values and overall goals. Not to mention, he constantly updates his account by tweeting about the latest news on Jetsetter.

The journal article titled, In Search for an Online Discussion Value: Assessing Media-Initiated User Communication from a News Value Perspective, analyzes interactivity and creating unique discussions in the corporate world online. It offers helpful information to understand how and why online discussion is effective from the research perspective. The concept of “media-initiated user communication” is mentioned and explained why is used over the term “follow-up communication.” Media-initiated communication is defined by two factors. First, the media is the one to initiate ideas, concepts and news. Second, user communication differentiates information from professional communication. Thanks to the rise of the “web 2.0,” online conversations can be read publicly, tracked and dissected, which makes it easy and efficient for both the company and consumers. It is essential to take note of specific points on how media-initiated user communication influences constituents on page 7. To put it simply, more online activity from a brand results in a higher likelihood of an individual becoming engaged. Not to mention, diverse content on the web leads to other customers taking note of the published online media. It is also to understand the importance of network influences. When people see their peers comment and interact with a company online, they become more willing to join in on the conversation as well since these are the people that influence them the most. The value of online discussion is clearly imperative and the news value theory identifies what and why some news is necessary for conversation.

By: Stephanie Strickland

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