Missing the big picture
By Jamie Biesiada
Although travel is among the most visual of products, a surprisingly small number of agents are engaging with social media platforms built for photos and videos.
Facebook has become a place where many travel agents have successfully built a personal brand through posting photos of their travels and in many cases themselves. It has turned into a lead generator, often creating business or sparking a desire to travel in a past client, thanks to a well-placed destination photo or video.
But while their Facebook presence has grown, agents have largely been underutilizing other social media platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube, which because of their inherently visual nature lend themselves to travel products and could be powerful lead-generation tools.
Earlier this year, the travel search website Hipmunk released a study touching upon where millennials get their travel ideas. The data shows the potential of social media platforms other than Facebook: The study found that 44% of millennials get their travel inspiration from YouTube videos, 28% from Instagram.
“Overall, social media within the marketing media landscaping has officially arrived as a major opportunity for our industry for a few reasons,” said Sam McCully, vice president of marketing at Avoya Travel.
Moreover, McCully said that potential opportunities are not limited to millennials, as more and more travelers in a wide range of ages are taking to social media throughout their entire vacation process, from the planning stage right through their return home.
“Is there an untapped opportunity?” McCully said. “I would say absolutely.”