clarabridge clip
1252 days ago
 

The rise of social media and customer monitoring in travel

Clarabridge is the latest company trying to capitalise on what appears to be a growing need from travel and tourism companies to understand reviews and feedback by customers.

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The US-based company has launched a dedicated division for EMEA this week, picking the UK as its regional hub under ex-Taleo VP Darren Jaffrey.

Global hotel chains such as Hilton, Choice and Marriott, as well as the Disney Resorts brand, are already Clarabridge customers, but the company says the there is a substantial call from companies to ramp up their efforts to monitor and act on the opinions of customers and the wider web.

It joins the likes of ReviewPro, Revinate, Radian6 (recently acquired by Salesforce.com) and others, all of which have started becoming important players in the travel sector in recent years.

Clarabridge, similar to its competitors, uses technology to decipher content in social media for so-called “sentiment analysis”, so hotels and other travel brands can understand beyond the short-term what individuals or pockets of consumers are saying about a brand.

The company also plugs the technology into existing CRM and survey tools.

CEO Sid Banerjee says the rise of his and other companies illustrates not only how important monitoring has become to the industry but also how complicated it can be.

Manual monitoring is less easy for major brands given the enormous volume of content kicking about on the web, Banerjee says.

While Banerjee would obviously like to emphasise the technological prowess of automated systems, he raises an interesting point about the evolution of social media in travel.

Previously the idea of monitoring social media was largely seen as a method of “quantifying” mentions and dealing with feedback (often negative).

The travel industry is learning that social media can help shape strategy around product and service, mainly by taking a more analytical, “qualitative” view of social media in the long term.

The question for the industry now is whether it is taking the qualitative approach to social media or still obsessing over the number of mentions, Likes and Tweets?

 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.

 

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  1. Josiah Mackenzie

    Some great thoughts here. Kevin, you hit the nail on the head with this: “Previously the idea of monitoring social media was largely seen as a method of quantifying mentions and dealing with feedback (often negative). The travel industry is learning that social media can help shape strategy around product and service, mainly by taking a more analytical, qualitative view of social media in the long term.”

    That’s the concept I’m trying to evangelize. As the social web evolves, we need to raise awareness that the way we use and measure social activity needs to evolve as well.

    @Jonathan @Michelle – Good points about an industry-specific tool providing much more value to hotels. Focusing on one vertical enables a company to deliver insights and reporting that would be impossible if it were trying to serve all businesses.

    @Joe – “The sooner people in the industry realize that the social web is about much more than number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes, the better.” I agree. But I’m not convinced there is lot more space in the market for new entrants, though. The market already is well served with existing players, and since the space has evolved quickly, the bar to entry now is much higher than it was a few years ago.

    We’re seeing a lot of turnover among social media monitoring companies because most of them have not invested in sufficient technology and processes to keep up with this change. If I were choosing a reputation management partner, I would want to select a company with a track record of success with large brands.

    But back to Kevin’s point about “qualifying” online feedback to shape strategy and service: this is a strategic focus for us at ReviewPro. Just google “who uses reviewpro” to see how we’re converting advanced semantic analysis into very specific reports that are relevant for each role within a hotel organization. :)

    Let’s continue to innovate here!

    - Josiah
    ReviewPro

     
  2. Michelle Wohl

    I agree with Jonathan, above. Because Revinate was built specifically for the hospitality industry, where Revinate excels is providing solutions for each part of the hospitality value chain (eg on property vs at corporate), something that a horizontal platform will never be able to do.

    While brands might use horizontal solutions like Radian6, for example, it’s definitely not the right solution for a property to use on-site for monitoring and managing online reviews and social media mentions.

    Clarabridge does seeem to be doing some really interesting integration with other systems and I am looking forward to following the company. Thanks for the article!

     
  3. Jonathan Alford

    If I can build off Kevin’s and Joe’s good insight, this seems another entrant in the general monitoring space for multiple broad industries, whereas Revinate and ReviewPro are vertical-specific.

    They actually may be complementary – looks like Clarabridge is evolving from internal customer business intelligence to adding external social media by tapping feeds from Radian6, NM Incite (Nielsen and McKinsey’s new JV), FB, Twitter, etc.

    In short, maybe I’m off, but Clarabridge is more an example of the convergence of CRM with SMM / SMI and may be positioning more against Salesforce/Radian6 (as Kevin mentioned), Adobe/Omniture, and Visible (which I imagine is putting a bug in MSFT’s ear to buy it and integrate with Dynamics, even though MSFT already built its own internal service).

    For hospitality, the vertical-specific tools focused on reviews are pretty clearly segmented and doing some good things at that level.

     
  4. Joe Buhler

    The sooner people in the industry realize that the social web is about much more than number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes, the better. Despite this being an already crowded field, there is room for more players entering the space to provide even more useful tools for analysis, evaluation and engagement.

     
 
 

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