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Not only does Facebook play an important role in millions of people’s lives, it is also a “friend” to the travel industry in some respects, with 70 percent of travel-booking and hospitality websites offering Facebook as a social login for users.
As with any powerful platform, companies which are dependent on it in some ways tend to have mixed feelings about the relationship.
New data from Gigya also shows Google Plus is the second most popular social login — a distant one at that — with 18 percent of travel industry websites using it.
Using Facebook as an identifier when booking travel lets travel and hospitality sites help travelers book their travel or solve their problems faster, according to Victor White, director of marketing communications for Gigya.
“When someone logs into a website or app with their Facebook credentials, the site can personalize the experience for that user leveraging their profile information,” White says. “This information can also be extremely powerful for marketing and loyalty programs.”
Online travel companies such as Orbitz, Hipmunk and Kayak all use Facebook as a social login, while also offering Google Plus and email as options, as well. These companies know how excited some travelers get when their trip is finally booked, and using Facebook makes sharing their travel plans easier while also letting their friends know what company they used to book their trip.
“When users log into a site to book travel, they would intuitively want to share their reservation out to their networks of real friends,” White says. “That’s Facebook for most people, so that also could be a major consideration for Facebook’s lead as an identity provider on travel sites and apps.”
Facebook also came in first when Gigya analyzed the most popular social logins around the world across all industries. Some 53 percent of people in North America identify themselves through Facebook, and 29 percent use Google Plus.
Some 62 percent of Europeans log in using Facebook, and about 80 percent of people in Africa, Asia, Australia and South America use Facebook the most when identifying themselves online.
“Social networks, and social login, first took off in the U.S. so the market has had a chance to mature a bit more in the U.S. than in other countries,” White says. ”That maturity has translated into more competition in the ‘war for identity’ on the Web.”
He added that Google+ and other social networks have worked with users to establish authenticity and trust, and while Facebook is still in the lead, Americans are demonstrating they want options when identifying themselves on the Web.
Social Logins in the Travel Industry
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