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SOCIAL MEDIA


Louise Kilgannon, a consultant with


Festive Road who formerly ran travel programmes for major companies, in- cluding Procter & Gamble, Astra Zeneca and Microsoft, says complaints on social media can present an opportuni- ty for a buyer to create a closer working relationship with key travellers. “An industry friend managing a large


programme recently shared that one of her travellers wrote an open letter of complaint to a preferred airline in a public forum,” says Kilgannon. “While she would have liked him to go directly to her with this feedback, it created an excellent opportunity for engagement. “Travel managers shouldn’t be afraid of negative feedback,” she adds. “In fact, social media provides an oppor- tunity to respond with the facts quickly and in a public forum. Employees will soon see that there is a team of people managing travel and should start to engage with you more.”


But finding out that one of your


travellers has taken a public swipe at a supplier is not always easy – particular- ly for organisations with hundreds or even thousands of travellers constantly moving around the world. So what sort of policies and social media strategies should travel buyers use to help improve the effectiveness of their travel programmes and policies? Many organisations may want to avoid the high-profile public forums, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – par- ticularly as they are largely regarded as being “personal” platforms. There are more corporate-friendly


SOCIAL MEDIA IN NUMBERS


Twitter 336MILLION


monthly active users as of July 2018


LinkedIn 562MILLION September 2018 Instagram 1 BILLION September 2018 Facebook


social media platforms, such as Yammer, which can only be used by those working within a particular organisation. Another option is Slack, which allows a company to consolidate communication platforms and apps in one place, so they can be used by employees for instant messaging, voice calls, as well as screen and file-sharing. On the other side of the coin, how do travel suppliers use


2.7BILLION


as of third quarter 2018


social media to promote their services to clients and their travellers individually, as well as responding to any negative feedback coming through social media channels? Peter Browne, corporate travel marketing manager for homeworking agency Travel Counsellors, says: “Social media can be a fantastic tool for business travel. For the travel booker it offers an easy way to research suppliers and ask for advice; for the TMC it offers a direct communication channel to connect it to existing and potential clients. “Social media can also act as an early warning system when things go wrong. Often Twitter can be way ahead of official channels when it comes to issues affecting travel. “We always advise travellers to contact their Travel Coun- sellor direct if they have a specific issue with a supplier, but we do monitor social media,” Browne adds. “If we were to see


buyingbusinesstravel.com users as of users as of


Q&A: CABFIND


INT E R VIEW


Dave Smither, head of marketing at Cabfind (now part of CMAC Group), explains how the taxi specialist uses social media


How do you use social media to promote your brand?


Our policy is the same we employ across all channels: the content we share must be relevant and useful. By sharing unique research, insights and industry knowledge, social media allows us to get beyond the notion that a managed taxi service is merely the transaction of getting an individual from A to B. Our content focuses on providing true visibility of the consumption, compliance and optimisation of taxi travel for an organisation.


How do you deal with complaints on social media?


With an important sale or business trip on the line, a delayed taxi (even by a couple of minutes) can be a frustrating experience and become an emotive subject, which is when a traveller may take to social media to vent that frustration. It’s up to us to prevent situations and frustrations reaching levels where travellers feel they need to take complaints to social media. We do this by monitoring every individual customer, across thousands of journeys each day, and keeping them informed at all times of their vehicle’s whereabouts through proactive tracking, notifications and constant dialogue with our contact centre and our supply partners.


How do you think the use of social media will evolve?


For CMAC, social media will always be a valuable point of engagement, enabling us to connect with customers, suppliers and the wider world. We’ve seen from incidents over recent years that social media is often where news breaks first. As journeys become increasingly connected, we’re working on monitoring, aggregating and synthesising this data, alongside other touchpoints, to allow us to share real-time updates with customers and suppliers on their journeys. Depending on their preferences, we can then either take action on their behalf to amend journey details, or allow them to make informed decisions about their next travel step.


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