The latest tech innovations are having a huge impact on how travel brands conduct business. One of the most transformative technologies in the industry has been the advent of social media. Its use in researching travel plans and interacting with travel and hotel companies has changed the ways resorts, airlines, and travel companies must market themselves and find business.

A recent report by Netbase discovered that, by and large, hoteliers are missing the boat when it comes to consummating social media relationships. In their annual report that tracks social media use of top luxury brands, they found a few problems in the industry. One of the main criticisms is that hotels do not understand the role of social media. In addition to seeing it as a great advertising tool, they need to recognize it as a space for ongoing communication with current and potential customers.

Rolled out in March of this year, Trip Consideration is a new marketing tool developed by Facebook geared toward the travel industry. According to a Facebook statement, the interface “makes it easy for advertisers to deliver the right message with the right creative without having to provide a catalog.”

The tool views user behavior on Facebook or Instagram in regard to travel intentions, and it delivers those users to brands. With access to an audience very early in the inspiration phase, brands can drive them into the purchase funnel and follow up with dynamic marketing (e.g., videos or interactive content) to generate future conversions. It’s a win-win, with consumers having access to travel ideas and inspiration and companies being offered a direct route to potential clients early in the travel planning cycle.

Google has also recently rolled out a full line of improvements in their travel tools in recognition of the untapped potential there.

The technology is here to help those in the industry connect with potential travelers. If hospitality professionals can experience a shift in mindset about social media and view it as a space for building and maintaining relationships, and not just bringing customers in the door, they will truly capitalize on the emerging technology.