Social media in the corporate travel sector will be a big trend for 2011 according to senior figures.
Speaking to Travolution, Martin Cowley, Sabre Travel Network’s senior vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, predicted social media as one of his top three trends for the year alongside mobile developments and further recovery in the corporate travel market.
Cowley said ‘Generation Y’ would drive exponential growth in social media with transactions already going across Facebook.
He added that Sabre was planning further enhancements to its online professional network AgentStream including developments using mobile.
Click Travel managing director Simon McLean also stressed the power of social media with his company already having established a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
“I think everyone is still trying to feel their way through it and figuring out where it fits with their strategy.”
Click Travel has just added a customer support element to its Facebook page enabling users to ask questions and view updates.
“It’s a way of engaging with existing and potential customer. The big debate is about whether we should do things so publicly but we make a big deal out of LinkedIn and have won new business while Twitter is our main source for information.”
Click Travel is also in the process of implementing RightNow’s Cloud Monitor tool to track and respond to what is being said about it across the internet.
McLean warned companies looking at the space not to consider social media as a free channel because of the resource it requires.
“Ultimately it needs humans but it is delivering returns.”