HF Holidays highlight winter breaks

HF Holidays highlight winter breaks

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 14:00

HF Holiday...

Flybe puts more summer 2017 routes on sale

Flybe puts more summer 2017 routes on sa…

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 11:00

Flybe has put more early release routes on sale as part of its preliminary summer 2017 schedule.

YHA submits plans for London’s first ‘Super Hostel’

YHA submits plans for London’s first ‘Su…

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 08:00

A planning application has been submitted by YHA (England and Wales) to open its first Super Hostel in London.

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade plans at Bristol Airport

£2.3million immigration hall upgrade pla…

Monday, 24 October 2016 14:00

Following a major overhaul of the security search area for departing passengers, Bristol Airport has unveiled plans to address congestion in arrivals.

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen Z with new Geckos age-range

Intrepid targets socially conscious Gen …

Monday, 24 October 2016 11:00

30 year olds will be ‘too old’ for Geckos Adventures next year, as the Intrepid Group has announced that it will cut the age range to meet a growing demand...

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits manage to wangle an upgrade

New survey reveals just one in 12 Brits …

Monday, 24 October 2016 08:40

New research from Jetcost.co.uk has revealed that only 8% of British travellers have actually managed to secure a free upgrade for their holiday, with flight upgrades and hotel room upgrades...

Just You launches travel trade solo experience

Just You launches travel trade solo expe…

Friday, 21 October 2016 14:00

Just You has announced its largest investment to support the travel trade with the launch of 200 joint marketing events to promote solo travel.

Spontaneous people are happier according to Snaptrip survey

Spontaneous people are happier according…

Friday, 21 October 2016 11:00

Spontaneous people are often believed to lead more exciting or glamorous lifestyles and a new study has confirmed that they are happier in all aspects of their lives.

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver tickets for half term

Top Brighton attractions on Combi-Saver …

Friday, 21 October 2016 09:00

Visitors to Brighton this October half term can save up to 20% on its top three paid-for attractions with combination tickets now available for British Airways i360, SEA LIFE Brighton...

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Free cabin upgrades with Cosmos Tours

Thursday, 20 October 2016 14:00

There still’s time for agents to book a Croisieurope river cruise for their customers with a free cabin upgrade on a range of river cruises throughout Europe, when booked with...

Last minute autumn breaks available at Haven

Last minute autumn breaks available at H…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:00

Agents can still give their customers a last minute family break this autumn from £99 when booking a Haven holiday between now and November 5.

Skiers urged to head east for best piste costs reveals new report

Skiers urged to head east for best piste…

Thursday, 20 October 2016 08:00

Cash-conscious skiers can avoid the slippery slope of higher prices for their annual downhill trip by heading to ski resorts in Eastern Europe.

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS competition

Design an anniversary poster for DFDS co…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:00

Ferry operator, DFDS, is putting out a call to professional and amateur artists to create a poster that will be used in their 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

Savings on worldwide adventures with Explore

Savings on worldwide adventures with Exp…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:00

Explore has launched a new collection of worldwide adventures with a launch offer of up to 10% discount on all new trips booked by November 7.

New route to Seattle makes it one to watch for 2017

New route to Seattle makes it one to wat…

Wednesday, 19 October 2016 09:12

Seattle is expected to be one of the fastest growing US destinations for UK travellers next year with a Virgin Atlantic direct non-stop daily flight launching March 2017, new hotel...

Air Transat launches 2017 programme with increased connections across Canada

Air Transat launches 2017 programme with…

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 14:04

Air Transat has expanded its programme of flights from the UK to Canada with increased capacity and connections for travel in 2017.

I spoke about the future of social media at yesterday’s travel trade event, Experience Latin America (June 6 at CCT Venues Plus, Canary Wharf) and thought I’d highlight what was discussed for those who were unable to attend the event.

Based on my experience managing social media channels for travel brands, one of the main trends that we’re seeing is audiences increasingly using social media to experience events as they happen and even interact with people there, despite not physically being there.

For example, Facebook, has addressed this trend by focusing heavily on video content - eMarketer recently reported more than eight billion video views every day on the channel - and has also built upon this with 360 video, which lets you choose which angle you watch from, as well as the live-streaming service Facebook Live, which enables brands to interact with viewers in real-time.

Facebook has also announced plans to develop a social virtual reality feature; the idea that eventually you’ll be able to join friends across the world – on holiday, at a festival, etc – without moving from your sofa. Let’s be clear: social virtual reality, as well as video, 360 video and live-streaming, will never replace the feeling of travelling in real life. However, all of this is allowing consumers to immerse themselves in a destination in a way that has never been possible before and it presents an exciting opportunity to travel companies.

Just a side note about Facebook; there’s often talk about its demise but I believe it will continue to dominate. It’s still the world’s largest social network by far, with one billion monthly active users. It’s true that teenagers are spending less time on it, but the largest majority of profiles still belong to people aged 18 to 34 and its fastest growing audience is age 55+.

Instagram and Twitter are evolving in a similar way to Facebook. Instagram recently reported that the amount of time its 400 million users spend watching video has jumped by 40% over the last six months. It has reacted by introducing ‘Videos You Might Like’ - timely videos from across its global community as a personalised seamless viewing experience - as well as video apps, such as Boomerang.

Twitter is also trying to be more visual in an attempt to boost its fairly stagnant user numbers, with its live-streaming service, Periscope, and by announcing it will lift its 140-character limit later this year. It has plans to live-stream more events that would traditionally have appeared on TV, too.

This growing audience demand for timely, interactive content is one of the reasons why I believe Snapchat has grown at such a rapid rate. It’s now the most popular social channel with teens and young millennials in the U.S. and its video traffic in incredible - 4 billion videos per day, according to International Business Times.

What’s interesting about Snapchat is it’s the closest social media channel to emulate real life, meeting what could be a growing audience need for more authenticity and privacy. A snap or conversation had, and shared, disappears shortly after it’s over.

Another trend worth highlighting is the use of messenger apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which now have over or close to one billion active users. Communication that may have happened before via phone, email or a Facebook timeline, are now moving to these platforms.

So, what does all this mean for travel brands and how can they stay ahead? Here are my recommendations:

- Meet the growing audience demand for real-time, live interaction on social media by experimenting with video and live-streaming. For example, a tour operator that will be in Rio for the Olympics could live-stream from the city to give audiences a taste of the atmosphere.

- Don’t turn your back on Facebook. It’s increasingly popular with the older generation and is focusing on adapting to younger audience preferences.

- But embrace Snapchat, especially if you want to reach a younger audience. It has the potential to be the dominant force one day, especially if it can maintain authenticity. The platform currently has no algorithm that decides who sees which snaps, so brands can enjoy a direct line to the inbox of their fans - but that may change in the future.

- Consider utilising messenger apps, such as WhatsApp, as new customer service channels.

- The demand for interaction and shared experiences is one of the reasons why we’re seeing the continued growth of the sharing economy and crowd-sourcing platforms. Thankfully, all travel companies can be part of this information sharing by using social media in the right way; making sure you have representatives with the right personalities and knowledge managing your social media accounts and interacting with current and prospective customers online.

- Subscribe to the blogs of all the social channels so you’re the first to know about important updates.

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