This week Latest Sale covers trends for the Hospitality, Travel and Leisure Business Directory. In July 2013, British Airways unveiled a digital campaign designed to help customers choose a vacation. The Picture Your Holiday website enabled travellers to create a visual mood board, by dragging and dropping images of destinations and desired activities. Once customers have selected the images that inspire them, they can then view a range of vacation ideas offered by British Airways, with links to click and make a booking. Users can also share their mood board with friends via social media or email.
With this in mind, September 2013 saw the Four Seasons launch of a Pinterest-based service connecting consumers with local experts from the luxury hotels group. To participate, Pinterest users are given the tools to create a Pin.Pack.Go board, tagged with the Four Seasons property they wish to visit. A local Four Seasons expert will then take a look at the potential guest’s mood board, and create personalized recommendations for the proposed visit, or generate a customised travel itinerary.
There is no denying the fact that social media has an increased influence on customer interaction on travel websites and the final choices made between the various hospitality, travel and leisure brands. In order for travellers to continue to be engaged by travel brands, the industry may need to relinquish their right to dictate the story. As with social media brands themselves, travel brands will need to embrace the prospect of merely providing a branded platform, facilitating interaction and stepping aside to allow their customers to put their own spin on their experiences. In other words, the luxury travel brands that survive in this arena will be those that are comfortable with letting go, loosing some control and providing the right ingredients for travellers to create their own story.
Images (Four Seasons Sydney), courtesy of Four Seasons, research based on insights from http://trendwatching.com/