Few people would contest social media's importance for travel companies. Indeed, some have suggested social media is a travel brand's "boarding pass to success".

The question, then, for travel firms, is not whether to spend time using social media for marketing and customer service purposes, but just how much time should be spent on the channels of choice.

All the signs point to 'quite a bit', to put it lightly. That's because travellers are spending plenty of their time surfing the different social networks, finding inspiration for their next trip.

holiday browsing

In fact, a third of people who use social media to research travel say that they have changed hotels based on their findings, according to an infographic by Internet Marketing Inc.

Meanwhile, over half (52%) of people say they often find themselves dreaming about a holiday when on Facebook. Nearly as many (51%) say that Twitter content has influenced consideration of a travel brand.

It's fair to say that social media is a huge influencer on today's travellers.

Of course, there's no exact science for how much time and money your travel business should be spending on social. However, as Go Port Canaveral's Jonathan Alonso explained to US publication Global Traveller, there are great rewards to be sought from investing time into a clear strategy.

Facebook ads

He said: "I believe that social media in the travel industry gives travel sites instant brand recognition.

"For example, our customer loyalty and retention grew about 30% in the end of 2014 planning for trips of 2015 when we applied 're-marketing' tools for Facebook.

"Social media lends a hand in affinity marketing [gender, location, age, income, for example] in which brands can target their target market, and once captured, they can be re-engaged over and over again with content that interests them."

So, what does interesting content look like?

• It's persuasive without coming across as too salesy

• It uses statistics to detail why it is the reader should book a holiday

• It makes the most of the stunning visuals the travel industry throws up every day

• It's educational, exposing travellers to destinations and resorts they've never considered

• It's engaging and urges the reader to share and respond

• It occasionally offers readers something extra, be it a giveaway or an offer

• It encourages readers to return for the new content that you've created

We'll end this piece by addressing the elephant in the room: social media marketing success does not come easy. Brands from every industry have signed up, meaning users are having to wade through way more content than they've got time for. Twitter itself acknowledged this fact in a blog post, before assuring businesses that they still have a chance to be heard above the noise by producing "sparkling content". There, you have your goal first goal.

© Digital Trip