Social media crucial to Thomas Cook development

UK-based travel company Thomas Cook has underlined just how crucial it believes information traded on social media formats can be to its future development, by opening a round-the-clock social media monitoring facility that it refers to as its Listening Lab.

The Lab will comprise a range of monitors and specially designed computers, speakers and a video conferencing camera. A listening team will monitor any interaction on social media formats that involves the company’s brands, in over 180 languages around the world. From the information that it derives, the company intends to recognise those formats with which it should be interacting in order to enhance its sales.

Additional uses for the information that the project gains will include intelligence for future marketing campaigns, real time comparison of competitor brands and analysis of customer feedback. Direct customer contact and interaction is also an option with the tools that the Lab will have at its disposal.

Harriet Green, Thomas Cook’s chief executive, said, ‘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.’

Jonathan Roberts, the company’s global head of social media, commented, ‘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.’