Unmetric, the social media benchmarking company from New York, has released a new report analyzing the social media habits of India’s top 11 Online travel agencies to understand how these brands are using social media to engage fans and drive business.
Gone are the days when travel plans involved waiting at long Ques for booking tickets. It’s only a matter of few clicks today and you are ready to go to your favourite destination. India is fast embracing online booking, with multiple Online Travel Agents (OTAs) competing against each other to be at the top of their game.
In an industry where lowest pricing is the winning factor, social media plays an enticing role to offer the aspirational middle class the best deals possible. Gaining the confidence, providing ultimate customer satisfaction is what makes a travel agency stay in the league.
The report is judged on the Unmetric Score. It takes in to account various quantitative and qualitative metrics that generates a benchmark for analysis. Each social network has a unique score.
Combining the Unmetric Scores for Facebook and Twitter, it was found that Make My Trip lead the field with a total Unmetric Score of 79 out of a possible 200. A close second was Goibibo, which scored 76 and Yatra completed the top three with a combined score of 68.
Facebook Unmetric scores analysis shows Make My Trip leading with a score of 56 out of 100, Goibibo scored 48 and Yatra scored 43. Cox & Kings, one of the more exclusive travel brands in the industry, finished at the bottom of the Facebook table.
In terms of number of fans, Goibibo is the most popular with 690,000 fans. Make My Trip is a close second with 675,000 fans. In third place is Yatra, which has just crossed 600,000 fans. The average OTA was found to have 415,000 fans. Cox and Kings far behind with just 88,000 fans, which also explains their low Unmetric Score.
EaseMyTrip, the newest addition to the industry has ramped up its fan size much faster with a fan growth rate of 54.9% in just 30 days. Goibibo recorded 14% fan growth. Third was Thomas Cook with 13%. The average growth rate was found to be 8%. Expedia India has negative growth during the same period.Engagement score is a combination of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions that calculates fan engagement. This is one of the most important aspects for a brand since it defines the brand popularity. Make My Trip is the most engaging with a score of 124, Ease My Trip being 88 and iXiGo being 67.
The content strategy of each brand is analysed by a human analysis, a combination of machine learning and human computing to uncover insights into what’s working for top brands and across sectors. Unmetric analysed over 400 posts and found that Travel & Tourism brands have posted more number of updates on their Facebook page on ‘Travel Destination’ and ‘Deals’ and has resulted in higher levels of engagement in content strategy. Corporate Social Responsibility and User Generated Content was given less attention.
Unmetric is also helps brands understand ways in which they can use social media for customer support. With customers looking for solutions online for a quicker response, the brand must resolve the issue at the earliest to ensure customer satisfaction. MakeMyTrip has been the quickest and most efficient to reply to its fans’ queries among the brands analyzed.
While most agencies are still struggling to have a strong foothold on twitter, EaseMyTrip is the only brand with more than 10,000 followers. This shows the efforts put by the brand to maintain their presence on Twitter. ClearTrip is in second place with 7,100 followers and Yatra comes third with 6,800 followers.
Twitter can be effectively used to build a community and support channel through conversations. In this respect, both iXiGo and ClearTrip have made a point to engage their audience, posting 224 and 214 replies respectively, more than three times the amount third placed MakeMyTrip managed.
Interestingly, OTAs were more likely to apologize to a person than ask them to contact them. ClearTrip was the most apologetic brand with 63 apologies.If the brand wanted to get the person to contact them, the most common contact method provided was to view a link. However, out of the 684 replies analysed, 515 were simply plain text, suggesting the vast majority of enquiries replied to could be solved in 14060 characters or less.
One area brands need to be mindful of when using Twitter as a customer support channel is the average time it takes to reply to tweets. Twitter is an instant update social network and people expect replies within minutes. Make My Trip is leading the field, sending outit 68 reply tweets in an average of 50 minutes per tweet
Speaking about the analysis, Unmetric CEO, Lakshmanan Narayan said
“In a hypercompetitive and rapidly commodifying industry, the consumer is more price conscious than brand loyal. Hence, businesses need to use other techniques to differentiate themselves and ensure customers come back. While deals and offers are one approach, is one technique, but customer service be a huge differentiator.
When we compare other service industries like Aviation or Telecom, we see that these sectors have undergone a paradigm shift to move their business to support social media customer service. In these sectors, brands are replying to thousands of customers on Twitter within minutes, and that’s just a flavour of things to come.”
The report was compiled by sourcing data from its own social media benchmarking platform. Data and Insights on brands’ activities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest were analysed for the period between 1st January, 2013 to and 31st January, 2013.
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