With authenticity increasingly valued by online consumers, the new Virgin Holidays platform aims to address consumer fears that established review sites, such as TripAdvisor, are being unfairly skewed by negative/fake experiences or by paid-for content.
James Libor, senior manager - media, digital and brand partnerships at Virgin Holidays, said: “Most travel brands voice their respective opinions on where to go and why, but we felt there was an opportunity to try a different approach. We knew conversations about travel experiences were happening at scale and that there is heavy reinforcement of recommendation through social proof. We wanted to find an innovative way to tap into these conversations and present them back to our customers. Essentially, we felt that the power of thousands of individual experiences and suggestions aggregated together could be a hugely beneficial reinforcement."
“Social media has clearly become a powerful tool due to its many uses within brand and performance marketing as well as a customer service platform. We believe that the gathering of conversational data at scale and creating structure for analysis is already becoming an obvious use case. We can all learn so much about brand perception from this space but increasingly how you process this data and use it to drive action in a compliment way is both an opportunity and challenge.”
Tom Bowers, senior content marketing manager at Forward3D, explained: “With competitors churning out generic keyword-led articles at volume, travel-related SERPs are often saturated with low quality content providing little to no additional value. For younger holiday makers, however, it’s clear that social media is now much more than just hot dog legs on the beach and selfies at Machu Picchu – it is a critical part of a consumer’s research phase.
“The Trending Travel Guide uses social listening tool Crimson Hexagon to collate social media post volumes, filter out negative sentiment, and then rank holiday attractions according to popularity over the last seven days. This allows social media to curate in a very literal sense, as the order of recommendations is based on millions of opinions. It also allows Virgin Holidays’ expertise to provide insights into why these places rank so highly.”
The list of recommendations updates automatically each day, allowing users to see what’s trending in their holiday destinations right now and plan their trip accordingly.
To give additional credibility, Virgin Holidays has partnered with influential travel writers around the world to create exclusive content for the guide and provide Virgin Holiday customers with valuable information not found anywhere else online.