2012 is the year of SoLoMo in the Travel Industry

Social, Local and Mobile, nicknamed SoLoMo, is going to be huge in 2012 for a lot of sectors but in particular the Travel Industry. The term SoLoMo consists of three main components of a travel customer’s behaviour.

SoLoMo KMPDigitata

Social interactions are hugely influential on travel customers when they are looking a sorting out a holiday/trip, with recommendations from friends having more weight than a piece of advertising. This can also be thought of as your customers influencing their friends and effectively becoming ambassadors to your brand.

For the travel industry, the local aspect of SoLoMo is obviously important due to customers wanting to know information about where they are going or wanting to discover information once they are at the physical location. 1 in 3 searches done from mobile phones in 2011 had local intent, meaning that people are looking for information from their immediate area.

Back in September we said the 26% of the western population had a smartphone and that the number of people owning them was increasing by 3% each month. New predictions suggest that percentage of people owning smartphones will go beyond 50% in 2012. Add the fact that the mobile phone is one of the few personal possession that travel customers take on their holidays, you now have an extremely strong reason to engage with your customers on mobile devices.

As we look into 2012 and beyond we can see that travel customers are accessing information and sharing their experiences in real time from their location aware smartphones and tablets.

SoLoMo Strategy

Mobile websites and applications need to be robust, cater for all sizes of smartphone screens and have clear navigation. It is also important to has cross channel consistency because it is likely that visitors to your website might of been on your desktop site or seen your social media presence and will expect to navigate around your mobile site in a similar fashion to the desktop and for it to have the same aesthetics.

For local, the most important action is to make sure that all the location information about your hotels, attractions or destinations are correct. Without correct local information any strategy you implement will be immediately ineffective. Once all the geo-location information is correct then, thanks to location aware devices, your mobile website or application can access the user’s location in order to provide then with the most relevant information for their area. This could take the form of showing the user where your nearest hotel is, information about the local area or public transport information.

With a robust mobile website that can provide location based information the next step would be to integrate social functionality to allow users to easily share the information they have found or use services like Facebook connect to create a more personal mobile experience. Social media integration can go further than just sharing experiences, it can help users to ask for recommendations from their friends through the likes of Facebook and Twitter, rate a product.

Although we’ve talked briefly about SoLoMo as a whole package, they can also easily exist separately and paired together in order to achieve your business objectives. If you would like to discuss SoLoMo in more depth and how it can work for your organisation then please get in touch.