Patricia Brusha, co-founder of www.acoupleofchicks.com, moderated a panel this week at the HEDNA (Hotel Electronic Distribution Association) Conference, held in Las Vegas. The panel discussion was centered around the affects that Social Media has had on the electronic distribution channels for travel.
This article in Hotel News Now summarizes the discussion nicely – but I must also highlight the summary of points that Patricia gave me that nicely puts things into perspective.
The panel, which was titled, “Economy in Transition” with Panelists from Expedia, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Trust International Hotel Reservation Services, and Smith Travel Research, pointed out the following:
1. Watch the Buzz – but Buzz doesn’t always = Buy
2. Go back to basics with your value proposition, an easy booking process and good service. (seems logical)
3. Use Social Media to better understand your customer (Customer relationship management at it’s best – isn’t that a no brainer!? We can now see exactly what our customers are saying – all of the time.)
As Patricia stated “We’ve gone from going online to living online…Consumers, particularly in hospitality and travel, are looking for things relevant and authentic.”
So is Social Media affecting the electronic distribution channels for the travel industry? Sure it is…but we have been through this before and will be down this road again.
Perhaps as this panel pointed out we should get back to basics of listening to our customers (who are living online) and providing an excellent travel experience no matter how they found us.