COVID-19 has seen social media channels come into their own as a communication tool for travel brands, but has required them to take a much more grown up approach.
Ahead of speaking at this week TravelTech Show about ‘Creating Content That Chimes’, Nick Cooper, commercial partnerships supervisor at HolidayPirates Group, said two-way interactions are vital.
He said the pandemic saw customer demand more information and advice from the deals company which built its business by developing a persona on social media that appeals to millennials.
But, Cooper said the tone of brand communicated during the pandemic had changed to reflect the severity of the situation.
“The main difference to what it was like pre-COVID is that it’s become more of a two-way interaction with companies, which is ideally suited to social.
People are looking for a lot more advice and information about when they will be able to travel and whether a company has consumer protection, or what’s their flexible booking terms.
“They are asking a lot more about practical matters. The way it’s changed for us as a company is we have to, maybe for the first time, be the grown ups in the room a bit more.
“As well as of posting tongue in cheek piratey copy, we also have to be sensitive to the situation. We have posted a lot of advice about travel corridors, vaccine passports just to keep everyone up to date.
“Moving forward, companies which will be seen as offering a service to their customers, as being a source of advice and reassurance and having a platform for that two-way conversation we be in good stead.”
Cooper cited On The Beach’s message about not booking holdings during the peak summer period as its way of building trust.
Holiday Pirates was faced with the challenge of being a travel recommendation platform when everyone we being recommended not to travel and how to stay relevant to its fans on social.
It posted less about deals and product and opted to position itself as a friend to its followers by providing advice.
“Once you have that engagement with the audience, that trust, we do not want to go back to being too glib,” he said.
Cooper said Holiday Pirates has been experimenting with fast-emerging social platforms like TikTok which the likes of Ryanair have seized on as a direct channel of communication to a younger audience that is not as influenced by mainstream media.
The firm has yet to work out how to make this platform work for it, but Cooper said Ryanair is showing the effectiveness of the short-form video format that can be shared across platforms to control the presentation of it brand personality.
“Social really is the only really effective way that companies can define their own personality. If you look at Ryanair through the prism of the media you think they just out to rip you off, but you can define your own personality on social.”
Cooper said the pandemic has seen travel companies make more use of YouTube, which has seen significant growth of usage during the pandemic.