A survey by Amadeus of its UK travel clients has found how social media is being used by customers but many firms are not yet geared up to make the most of the channel.
The GDS said the results of the survey provide only a “snapshot” of the social media landscape in travel but there was a clear indication of its growing influence.
It found that 52% of travel firms said customers had obtained information or advice via social media before consulting a travel agent.
However, just 40% of firms reported that they had already integrated social media into their businesses, although 64% of those surveyed said their company was making use of the channel to communicate with customers and 60% to drive new business.
In addition 67% said they would make use of social media when making a choice about a hotel or which travel provider to use.
Rob Golledge, head of marketing and communications at Amadeus UK, said: “Many agents are still sceptical of the validity of information obtained from social media sites.
“However, one of the principal barriers seems to be the sheer amount of data available online.
“Travel agents have a key role to play here in accessing this information and using it to provide specialist knowledge and insight.
“Travel agencies have been quick to identify the positives that come from using social media to engage with customers and generate new business.
“Our research shows that many acknowledge the potential role which social media can play in the travel industry.
“But if it is to play a significant role in the booking process, companies need to be able to extract useful and trustworthy information.”