Charisse Jones and Roger Yu wrote from USA Today wrote an article in 2010 about how the travel industry is using social media to reach their consumers. The authors said, “Hotels, airlines and other segments of the multibillion-dollar travel industry are aggressively tapping into social media, ramping up their use of online sites such as Facebook and Twitter to build loyalty to their brands.”
They go on to explain how companies in the travel industry also utilize YouTube, blogs, and social-mapping networks to cultivate new customers. “Airlines are maintaining a presence on YouTube and offering deals through social-mapping networks such as Loopt. Hotels are promoting their properties through bloggers, and they’re using social-networking sites to gather feedback, monitor trends and provide concierge services.”
Jones and Yu give several examples of successful companies who optimize their brand management through social media. Hyatt Hotels for example uses their Twitter account as a virtual concierge by responding to guests’ requests and questions within one hour. Queries range from guests alerting that they will be late to check in to questions about what restaurant to go to. Also, Marriott launched a social media campaign that encouraged followers to spread the word about one of their new chains in exchange for Marriott rewards.
In examining the prominence of social media, the authors advise, “a social-media presence has become essential for any company that wants to bond with a younger generation that will hopefully remain loyal for years.” By building relationships and engaging young customers through their preferred channels, they will remain loyal to that brand throughout their life.
One company that is known for having mastered brand loyalty is Disney. It seems as though Disney utilizes almost every Web 2.0 platform available. Their Facebook page creates dialogues with fans about vacation topics, such as “Yay or Nay? I let my kids plan our days at Walt Disney World.” They also post photos of guests with Disney park characters and tidbits of historical information about the park or the company. They also post several links to videos uploaded to their YouTube channel and articles on their blog.
Disney Park’s official YouTube channel has videos that serve various purposes. There are video series that promote upcoming events, such as Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, as well as community service events that Disney sponsors, like VoluntEARS at CANstruction. The channel also includes promotional videos for their resorts and timeshares. One of the most interesting types of videos that Disney posts for their viewers are behind-the-scenes looks, from new attractions to meet the casts. One of the most recent is a video about the Disneyland Resort announcers, tune in at 1:39 to hear about how working for Disneyland is their dream job.
Not only does Disney upload their videos to YouTube, but they also embed these videos to their Disney Parks Blog. On this blog, subscribers can find official information about Disney vacation destination, participate in various Disney vacation discussions, and see more behind-the-scenes.
Disney’s official Twitter account also links to their blog quite frequently. In addition to their linking to articles from their blog, Disney also utilizes Twitter to recommend places to eat and shop, highlight events, give advice from Disney characters, and feature new attractions.
Disney can also be found on the growing popular site Pinterest. Although, they have many “boards” and “pins,” I am not sure they have succeeded yet in using this site to manage their brand or engage customers.
Overall, Disney has optimized their presence on various social media sites, which has helped them maintain brand loyalty.
By: Gina Cook