The Data Digest: Why Travelers Befriend A Brand

Social media has forever changed the way travelers interact with each other and companies — and its use is still growing. Forrester Technographics® data shows that 26 million more US online leisure travelers use social media in 2010 than in 2008. In fact, leisure travelers are really connected to travel companies beyond booking: A high 41% of US online leisure travelers have become travel social fans (TSFs) by friending, following, or becoming fans of a travel company or destination on a social networking site like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, or Twitter. But why do they do this?

As the data shows, discounts are a powerful motivator. One in three friends, follows, or fans travel companies and destinations to learn about the seller's offers and discounts. As a result, smart travel organizations will start using social networking sites as extensions of their Web sites for travel deals. Travelocity, for example, has a 'roaming gnome' on its Facebook page that offers and promotes the company’s "Deals Toolkit." JetBlue Airways has a dedicated Twitter account, @JetBlueCheeps, to push special deals. Who will follow with the holiday season coming up?

Comments

"None of the Above"

Any theories about why the "None of the above" majority (51%) friended a travel company? Your list looks quite comprehensive, but some key reasons are certainly missing. I'm curious what reasons those people had for friending/following these companies.

Why befriend a travel brand?

Angela, thank you for your comment.
All the reasons we have identified assume that people befriend a brand with a specific purpose in mind. However, I believe the 51% that says 'None of the above" befriend a brand without such a reason. They do it just because it's fun, or because they like the brand. When they befriend the brand, their main purpose isn't to get something out of that relationship.
Hope this helps,
Reineke