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Online ‘Chatter’ to Help Shape Thomas Cook Strategy

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Thomas Cook is claiming a travel industry first with the launch of a bespoke 24/7 social media monitoring facility.

The Thomas Cook Listening Lab will use a specially trained team to monitor online ‘chatter’ about the group’s 60+ global brands in over 180 languages.

The team will identify social ‘brand champions’ and who the company should be interacting with to help increase sales. In addition, the facility will aid in crisis management, provide real time comparison of competitor brands and listen to all customer sentiment.

Harriet Green, Thomas Cook Group chief executive, said: ‘We were the first major high street travel agency in the UK to offer online bookings, last year we had 310m visits to our websites, was labelled #5 travel/e-travel site in 2012 eDigital Research Best Site benchmark and just this month our new mobile website was said to ‘set the standard’ and received a ten out of ten by travel technology consultant Paul Richer.

‘As we expand our digital capabilities, my vision for Thomas Cook is to be the leading online tour operator and to have the highest share of bookings online. 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.’

The Thomas Cook Listening Lab, created and managed by Chapel Social, features six large monitors, specially designed computers with speakers and a video conferencing camera that enables meetings with regional marketing teams and coordination with staff at live-location events.

There are four additional desktop systems for the purpose of social engagement with Thomas Cook customers.

Jonathan Roberts, global head of social media for Thomas Cook Group, added: ‘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.’

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