Press releases

Travel companies are yet to fully capitalize on the potential of social media

Press release

25 February, 2015 - Travel companies are not fully capitalizing on the business opportunities presented by social media platforms, according to the Digital Channels in Travel report launched today by Facebook and Deloitte. The report asserts that travel companies must fully integrate digital channels into their overall business strategies in order to better engage with consumers.

The report’s findings are based on Deloitte Global’s review of data from a Facebook-commissioned global survey of 10,500 people who use social media. The survey data found that social media platforms (33 percent) ranked second only to friends and family (50 percent) as sources for travel ideas; followed by TV shows (32 percent), travel brochures (31 percent), and search engines (31 percent). Yet, a recent study conducted by Deloitte LLP in the U.S. and MIT Sloan Management Review found that more than 50 percent of travel executives believe their companies are behind the competition with respect to digital media presence1. These findings suggest that there is still more work to be done before travel companies can reap the rewards of a fully integrated digital strategy.

Lee McCabe, Global Head of Travel, Education and Consumer Services at Facebook, said: “Successful companies are investing in digital and adopting new technology and innovation faster than their competitors. Internally, these companies are altering their organizational structures to eliminate siloed departments and are making digital essential to all departments and teams. The successful players in the travel industry aren’t viewing ‘social media’ as a separate entity, but as a key asset to their business growth and success."

Grant Salter, director, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure (THL) industry at Deloitte Middle East said: “Travel companies that are not taking advantage of the business opportunities presented by digital platforms are potentially missing out on important sources of growth. With the high proportion of the population in the Middle East region being under the age of 29 years old, and the increasing influence that these individuals have on family travel decisions, it is clear that with the right approach, digital can transform a travel company’s marketing efforts and deliver real ROI. However, effective strategies must be tied to business goals in order to begin to see real, tangible results.”

Key recommendations

  • Effective measurement – To fully maximize the opportunity presented by digital channels, companies must hold their digital activities to the same standards of measurable return that they apply to traditional marketing tools (i.e., television and print). Measuring the number of “likes” is not meaningful on its own unless it can be connected to a larger and measurable business goal. Digital media isn’t new anymore, and its reach and potential continues to evolve rapidly. The sooner companies can adapt to these new techniques and integrate them with their core business strategies, the quicker they can transform their digital outreach from an expense to a profitable investment.
  • Leverage digital channels to improve targeting abilities – Collecting information on consumers is only the first step. Brands need to effectively use data to target specific audiences; this is the catalyst that sets digital channels apart from traditional marketing methods. By targeting specific consumer cohorts, companies can be more efficient with their spending and dedicate more resources to consumers who are likely to generate revenue for the company.
  • Integrate digital channels into the broader business – Digital operations need to happen right alongside operational activities to be effective. An effective digital strategy cannot happen if digital marketing lives siloed on the organizational chart – and the optimal location for digital operations is unique to each company. A successful organization is one that allows digital channels to cut across and support all the relevant parts of the business.

To view the whole report go to:

1MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, Moving Beyond Marketing, 7/15/2014

About the Digital Channels in Travel report

Facebook engaged a third-party research company to write and distribute a survey about how consumers view social media as it relates to leisure travel. The survey had approximately 10,500 respondents from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, UK and the USA. All references to the survey findings and respondents in this paper refer to this survey, unless otherwise referenced.

Press contact
Nadine El Hassan
Middle East Public Relations
Deloitte & Touche (M.E.)
Tel: +961 (0) 1 748444
Fax: +961 (0) 1 748999



Click here for the Arabic version

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities.  DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients.  Please see for a more detailed description of DTTL and its member firms.  

Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte’s more than 200,000 professionals are committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

About Deloitte & Touche (M.E.)

Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and is the first Arab professional services firm established in the Middle East region with uninterrupted presence since 1926.

Deloitte is among the region’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through 26 offices in 15 countries with more than 3,000 partners, directors and staff. It is a Tier 1 Tax advisor in the GCC region since 2010 (according to the International Tax Review World Tax Rankings). It has received numerous awards in the last few years which include Best Employer in the Middle East, best consulting firm, and the Middle East Training & Development Excellence Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

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