The importance of social networking as an outlet for the flight bookings and travel search industries has been highlighted by a leading travel analyst.
Speaking to travel tech blog EyeforTravel.com, Diane Clarkson of JupiterResearch claimed that by enabling user-generated content (UGC), social networking was instigating valuable viral channels not just between customers, but between travellers and marketers.
She said: "This dialogue is not exclusively between travellers but, in fact, can inspire a dialogue between consumers and marketers." Referring to the firm’s recent Travel Consumer Survey, she added: "Our research has found that the most compelling means to solicit feedback from travellers is e-mail: 42 per cent of online travellers who contributed content did so because their received an email inviting their feedback."
Her comments come as the travel search market seeks to harness the new opportunities, with global distribution system (GDS) provider Sabre recently launching its Cubeless social networking platform. Claiming to be an industry first, Cubeless aims to enable employees of businesses worldwide, to share knowledge, travel best practice and advice while on the road.
The JupiterResearch Travel Consumer Survey, 2007, found that of online travel researchers who employing UGC approaches, 32 per cent did so early in the research process.