A travel company’s success with millennials and Gen Z can now be determined by its performance on social media, with positive performance encouraging brand loyalty while boosting visibility.

According to GlobalData’s Q1 2021 Consumer Survey, 25% of global respondents consider the ability to engage directly with a brand as an essential or key driver of purchase. A further 42% consider direct engagement as nice to have, but not essential. Direct engagement with a brand acting as a key driver rises to 42% for Gen Z and 40% for millennials, showcasing that a strong presence on social media is especially important when capturing the attention of younger age cohorts.

Social media increases accessibility and boosts authenticity

Travel companies become more accessible to existing and potential customers via platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. These platforms allow companies to convey their personalities in a way that could not be done before, which often creates differentiation and allows for the creation of more authentic content that can build relationships. Ryanair is a leader in this space. The airline currently has 1.5 million followers on TikTok, which allows the company to already be in the minds of its next generation of customers. It has gained a mass following on various platforms because it capitalises on viral content, such as memes that are entertaining and relatable.

Additionally, social media allows for widescale company contact through direct messaging services, allowing for enhanced levels of customer service. Dutch airline KLM considers social media to be an integral part of its customer relationship strategy. Since 2010, KLM has gained a reputation as a pioneer in the field of social media by consistently adopting the most advanced social media-related technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and voice-activated technology to boost service levels. As a result, KLM now offers a 24-hour customer service platform via various social media sites in ten different languages.

Investment of resource into social media will grow

With social media’s ever-growing popularity, travel companies have moved to where their younger customers are. As such, social media will continue to grow as an integral part of travel companies’ strategic operations, as specific roles and teams managing social media output continue to be expanded at all major companies.

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According to GlobalData’s Job Analytics Database, there was a 175.8% increase in social media-related jobs in the travel and tourism industry from 2020 to 2021, showcasing the increasing importance of this area for travel companies, as well as the investment of resource that is now going into it.