Editors Note: This blog was written by Chelsea Varney, a Community Manager at Brandwatch. She loves tweeting, pinning and cats!
A holiday causes a lot of emotions. It brings joy, the all-inclusive bar, and sadness when you have to abandon the pool and return to reality.
Holidaymakers are extremely vocal when discussing their experiences on social media and the first tweets are likely to appear before they even set foot on a plane.
This provides extensive feedback for travel companies who want to garner insights that can assist in their marketing strategy and understanding of consumer perception.
The airline sector is an example of an industry that holds a great deal of preconceptions for consumers.
But do these expectations match with the reality of those discussed by their customers online?
Perceived Reputation and Reality
Using our social listening platform, we can monitor the topics associated with specific brands and if these match with their perceived reputations.
For instance European airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair are strongly associated with low prices whereas Delta and Emirates are seen as premium airlines.
The graph provided demonstrates that these perceptions are echoed in online conversations with users associating the relative airlines with low cost or premium topics accordingly.
These online discussions are essential in determining whether a brand is positioning themselves right in their respective sectors.
In the case of airlines matching customers pre-purchase evaluations means higher satisfaction rates, regardless of it being a premium or low cost provider.
When it comes to measuring customer satisfaction price points are fairly easy to understand by brands however, it is more difficult to measure customer experience.
Improving Customer Experience through SMM
This is also true with airlines that see customers increasingly bypassing traditional customer service to discuss complaints online.
By looking at insights gleaned from social data airlines can optimize customer experience and understand any consumer concerns.
When monitoring conversations on in-flight experiences of 12 global airlines we could determine what were the most commonly discussed topics.
The most discussed topics included seating, service, special requirements and food.
For airlines wishing to improve the quality of their services these are areas that they should focus on to improve their customer satisfaction rather than say, the drinks or toilets.
What is great about this type of data is that is gives a true representation of consumer feeling.
Unlike other forms of research this is given in real-time and without prompting from the airlines themselves. But this can’t simply be ignored!
It has been proven that socially active airlines receive a greater positive customer experience reputation than those that are less active.
Having all this customer feedback at their fingertips means airlines can provide customer service quickly.
Maintaining a responsive online presence will benefit brand reputation. A silent Twitter account can give the impression of a company that doesn’t care about their customer’s plights and gives the impression of a disinterest.
It’s clear from looking at the data surrounding the airline sector that there is a great deal that can be learnt by gathering social insights.
Using this data effectively can improve customer experience and in turn optimize customer loyalty.
If you are interested in reading more insights about airlines and the travel industry then download this report!
Over to you
What do you think? What do you think customer perceptions are important?