Minnesota, USA –November 25, 2011 – It’s the happy ‘Holiday’ part of the year and it is likely that you will be traveling at some point in the next couple of months for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even the New Year; perhaps as you make your travel arrangements, you may stop several times to check your social networking profile. Then you may stop again and wonder, ‘why isn’t my travel agent/network social’ This is a question that should be heard in the ears of the travel industry; if we are lucky, big changes will occur and someday our traveling plans will be ‘social’.
Even though many airlines and travel agencies may have a Facebook page where deals are promoted, it is not as ‘social’ as it could and should be. Perhaps you are taking a vacation or visiting relatives and needing to find the best deals and advice about the trip; after all, you may discover that the vacation spot is not the best option for you. Instead of posting a status on Facebook for getting recommendations, you should be able to do everything on the travel agency’s social networking page – see where your friends traveled, read their opinions on the place, see how they traveled and for how much, and more. It’s not to say that people must share this information, but it’d be easier for making plans if it’s available.
The travel industry needs to give its ‘fans’ incentives on promoting its services, such as discounts for each new follower who travels on a specific airline or shares his or her experience on how a past trip went; it’s a win-win situation for the ‘fans’ and the airline/travel agency. But the travel industry needs to be careful that it does not feel like an ‘advertising’ game; as most people know, we tend to hide from advertisements or ignore them altogether if it is too much for us to handle.
If we could see the current location of all our friends, we could use social networking to find the quickest, cheapest, and easiest ways to meet up; all of this could be done if people use the ‘Places’ feature on Facebook and check-in. Other industries are taking advantage of this feature and the travel industry is falling behind by not participating in social networking as much as it should be.
Although your travel plans may not be made this way, next time it could be. Right now, Delta airlines has a booking platform on its page, but it is not social. Also, Alaska Airlines has a feature its users can see how quickly they can travel to their friends’ locations –then redirects the users to its website to book the flights. If we are lucky in the future, our traveling will be ‘social’!