This week, we’re talking about the evolution of social media advertising.

Travel brands have become much more comfortable over the past five years spending their media dollars on social sites like Facebook. One need only look at recent marketing moves by advertising giant the Priceline Group, which once avoided Facebook, as proof of the industry’s shift.

But it turns out the travel industry’s embrace of social hasn’t been enough. Social media firms from Twitter to Snapchat to Facebook are increasingly aiming their sights higher. They no longer want to be considered “experiments.” They want to win the big multi-billion dollar ad campaigns once reserved only for television. And to do it, they’re trying to shed the “social” nickname. Will the rebrand work with advertisers? Read on for more details.

Why Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat Don’t Want to Be Social Any More
Social media has come a long way. As the medium has evolved, moving from Myspace to Facebook, today’s data-driven advertising juggernaut, social media has transitioned from a novelty to a must-have for many travel brands. But as social companies look to capture an ever-growing share of brands’ marketing dollars, many are worried the “social” label is too limiting. Read more

KLM Experiments with Artificial Intelligence-Powered Customer Service Tool
One of the hot topics at last week’s Skift Global Forum was artificial intelligence. As startups such as Lola suggest, there are opportunities for smart software to help travel brands handle customer queries and problems more efficiently. Another travel firm dipping its toes in the waters of artificial intelligence is KLM, which is testing ways to use the technology to assist with social media customer service queries. Read more

New Research Suggests Consumers Think Trip-Planning is Too Complex
How are consumers’ travel booking behaviors changing in the digital and social age? According to new research, many buyers feel the current trip-planning process has become overly complex. “Our research shows people are overwhelmed by the trip planning process but by and large they enjoy it,” said Peter Apple, VP of strategy at Blitz, which created the study. Read more

More Asian Airlines and Airports Develop Self-Service Experiences
A growing number of airlines and airports in Asia are launching self-service passenger services as passengers get more comfortable with the technology. Carriers like Hong Kong Airlines have deployed self-service bag drops, while the Star Alliance is unveiling a new automated check-in process and more than 100 self-service kioks at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Read more

How Hotels Can Profit from Offering Guests Free Wi-Fi
Earlier this year, Skift launched its trends report on the state of traveler connectivity, examining how travel brands were coping with the soaring demand, and expectation, for Internet access. As noted in the report, offering free Wi-Fi is increasingly the norm for many travel companies. However, even if there’s “no charge,”  hotels can still profit from offering the service. Read more

HotelTonight Launches New Loyalty Program for Its Instant Booking Platform
The last-minute hotel booking sector has a seen a series of innovations in the past few months as the hotel industry’s key players try to grow market share and increase brand loyalty. In September, Standard Hotels unveiled its new last-minute booking app for independent hotel chains. Now HotelTonight, one of the originators of the “last-minute” hotel-booking concept, is evolving its own platform as well, launching a new loyalty program to boost repeat business. Read more

Photo Credit: Social media platforms like Snapchat (its iPhone app pictured above), Facebook and Twitter are looking to evolve as they chase bigger media budgets from advertisers. Skift