From Travel Mole
|Surge in online social networking predicted|
Some 70% of internet content will be created by individuals as opposed to publishers and brands within three years.
The figure was revealed by Spannerworks business development manager Madeleine Wood as she urged travel companies to get involved in and be talked about on social networking sites.
Wood, who was speaking at the Travel Technology Initiative's autumn conference on the Future of Travel Distribution, said search engines like Google have evolved into reputation management systems because of online social networks.
"Search has gone beyond anyone's imagination and there is greater momentum than ever before. It's about a combined strategy of natural and paid for search, social media and display media," she said.
Cheapflights vice-chairman and head of international Hugo Burge said Google and pay-per-click were the things to focus on now but the importance of social networks is growing.
Burge said: "It's nonsense and a complete red herring to be nervous of user generated content. It's about responding to criticism and if you ignore something it's far worse."
Wood also revealed figures showing companies already getting 98% more clicks through to their websites with people spending 37% more time on the sites by combining paid for and natural search.
She advised companies to optimise websites and have information on them that is easy to share across the internet. She also told delegates to comment on travel news issues through blogs as a way of getting picked up by search engines.
"Search evolution is moving towards social networks so you have to be talked about on these networks. You can't stop the conversations going on so you might as well join in."
by Linda Fox