Thomas Cook’s move to embrace social media has taken a step forward with the introduction of a dedicated 24/7 social media monitoring facility.
A specially trained social media listening team will provide real-time global brand reputation management, listening in over 180 languages to “chatter” around their brands.
The ‘Thomas Cook Listening Lab’ will identify social ‘brand champions’ who the company should be interacting with socially to help increase sales.
Data will also be collected to be used for future marketing campaigns and to provide insight on how to heighten social brand awareness.
The Lab will aid in crisis management, provide real time comparison of competitor brands and listen to all customer feedback.
The facility also features tools to engage with customers directly through countless social media channels.
Chief executive Harriet Green said: “We were the first major high street travel agency in the UK to offer online bookings, last year we had 310 million visits to our websites, ThomasCook.com was labelled #5 travel/e-travel site in 2012 eDigital Research Best Site benchmark and just this month our new mobile website was said to ‘set the standard’ and received a 10 out of 10 by travel technology consultant Paul Richer.
“As we expand our digital capabilities, my vision for Thomas Cook is to be the leading online tour operator and to have the highest share of bookings online.
“Our Thomas Cook Listening Lab will allow us to better position Thomas Cook as the leading travel authority by listening and monitoring customer sentiment, enabling us to discovering useful and valued information about our customers. The Listening Lab will further help our customer services team to better engage with our customers in active dialogues, and provide relevant, fresh and valuable content to key audiences.”
Global head of social media Jonathan Roberts added: “Being proactive and having to monitor thousands of social mentions a day can be difficult and time consuming, but with the Thomas Cook Listening Lab, coupled with social media listing experts, we are able to see and resolve social concerns with our social media customer care team.
“Monitoring is also instrumental in Thomas Cook’s success, whereby the real-time data collected through social media is ‘key’ in all future marketing, PR and advertising campaigns.
“We can also quickly see what is being discussed in real time about any of our major competitors or our own marketing campaigns, television adverts or product launches, and within hours, our marketing teams can create additional sales messages, and then direct fans via social platforms to learn more about special offers or holiday packages.
“Through the Listening Lab we now have the ability to target a specific customer base, for example if we want to target people in London who have recently tweeted, ‘I need a holiday’, we now have the tools to reach out to those people and make an informed pitch based on their online social profile; revealing their age, gender and likes and dislikes.”
The Lab features six large monitors, contains specially designed computers, with speakers, and a video conferencing camera that allows for meetings with regional marketing teams and to help co-ordinate with teams at live-location events.
There are four additional desktop systems for the purpose of social engagement with customers. The larger monitors show real-time tracking with various data visualisations and dashboards, aided by a variety of software integrated into a platform ideal for social media listening and engagement needs.