How much of what you say on behalf of your travel brand is being heard, compared to that of your competitors? How much are your customers saying about you, compared to your competitors? How much are they saying to you that goes unheard? Better known as your share of voice, the size of your brand’s chunk of the travel conversation is vital to how many customers- and potential customers- know what you’re up to. If you’re the airline 60% of people are talking about for holiday travel, for example, there’s a better chance you’ll come to mind over a competitor when someone is looking to book a trip home. Better yet, if you’re the brand with a story they connect to and you cost about the same as the competition? They’ll feel good about going with you. We’ll tell you how to get there.
After all, earning a reputation as knowledgeable, responsive, and trustworthy is important regardless of industry, but especially important in one that is both necessary (the Oregon Trail is no longer an option home for the holidays) and flush with competition, like the travel industry.
People can look forward to a carefully planned vacation for months, even years, and when they choose companies to control the fate of their experience, they do not do so lightly, making it critical for every travel company to know how much of the conversation they own in the space and what exactly it is that is being said about them vs. the competition.
1. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know about.
The conversation about your brand is already happening, and you need to be a part of it. Part of your share of voice is what people are saying about you and to you; you only control the messages you put out. Although it’s impossible to make everyone happy all of the time, you should strive to make as many people happy as possible most of the time. If you’re not listening, you can’t address the problems and complaints of your customers– and that will put off any potential customers. But if you fix a bad experience for someone, you could end up with a customer for life, and push someone who’s on the fence about your company into being a customer.
Takeaway 1: Your customers will tell you what they want. Be responsive and helpful as you monitor the conversation happening about you. Answer questions, answer complaints, acknowledge compliments (favoriting tweets is a good tactic here). People like to share good experiences (and especially the bad!) so work to make as many good experiences happen as possible. Even just responding that you’re aware of an issue and saying you’ll work on it can make a huge difference; you don’t appear deaf and indifferent. Many customers just want to know that they’re being heard.
But if you can, comp a bad experience, or even take things a step further and reach out to someone whose travel plans have fallen through, offering to help them. Enable your customer service representatives to take these actions without having to go through an endless bureaucratic chain. A happy customer will tell their friends and family if you save their holiday– and that’s a new group of customers who will think of you first, instead of the competition, for their next trip.
2. Tell your story, lend your expertise.
You do get to control your portion of the message going out into the conversation, so make it count. A good story is intriguing so be sure to tell yours. Do you have one about how the company came to be and how that influences your values? Or how the company worked through growing pains early or late in its inception? Tell that story and then share what you’ve learned from it; how it is has made you a better company with more to bring to the table for your customers. Then, most importantly, execute those values where your customers can see it happening: everywhere you have a social presence.
Takeaway 2: Part of the battle is coming to mind when people think about travel. If you’re already doing all you can to respond and be helpful in a public customer service capacity, on social media and elsewhere, the only share of the conversation left to you is the message you’re sending out. If there’s a personal story you can tell about your brand- faces of employees or customers and either of their stories- customers and potential customers will relate to that over just seeing your logo. Be the brand with the engaging story, so they’ll pass over the competition’s logo and static mascot for you.
The final takeaway
A golden rule of social media is to listen first, then talk. Evaluating your share of voice is no different. Now that you know why it’s important and have some takeaways to start with, you can work toward increasing it.