Most online travel sites are generating better brand awareness
via consumers’ face-to-face conversations than they are through social media,
according to a report from Engagement Labs, which analyzes online and offline
conversations for brands.
"A common misconception among brand marketers is that what
consumers are saying about their brand online is indicative of what is said
about their brand offline," says Brad Fay, chief commercial officer at Engagement Labs.
"Engagement Labs’ data proves that this simply isn’t
the case - online social listening does not accurately represent the
conversation happening face to face among consumers. People talk to each other about brands in real life very
differently than how they discuss brands on social media."
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The company has released its TotalSocial rankings for the
top online travel brands, which compares their performance from June to
November 2017 to a previous ranking from April 2016 to April 2017.
The proprietary TotalSocial evaluation combines data from social media
listening with analysis of word-of-mouth conversations measured via an online
survey of consumers who provide information about brands they talked about on
the day prior to the survey.
Of the seven brands studied – Expedia,
TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Kayak, Priceline and Orbitz – only Kayak
had online scores higher than it’s offline scores.
Overall in the latest ranking, Expedia moved from second into
first place, switching places with TripAdvisor. Engagement Labs attributes Expedia’s
boost to an increase in social media conversations about the brand.
Social Reimagined: Younger Travelers Transform the Role of Social in Travel
Conversely, it says TripAdvisor’s drop was due to a steep
decline in its online and offline influence scores.
Influence is defined as how well the brand connects with everyday
influencers who have the largest social networks in both the offline and online
worlds, and it’s one of four categories in the TotalSocial score along with volume, sentiment and brand sharing.
Travelocity moved up from fourth to third due to an uptick
in offline sentiment. Engagement Labs credits the brand’s email campaign that
offered $400 vacation packages and its “Be My Gnomie” partnership with dating
"Travelocity is a great example of a brand that saw a
boost in its offline scores, particularly in offline sentiment, after launching
several marketing campaigns to better engage its customers - proving that smart
marketing tactics will not only resonate with consumers, but can improve a
brand's ROI,” says Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs.
Hotels.com dropped from third to fourth due to a decline in
both offline and online sentiment and influence. The remaining three sites –
Kayak, Priceline and Orbitz – were unchanged from the prior analysis, filling the
fifth, sixth, and seventh spots on the list, respectively.