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A Look At The Travel Industry On Twitter

09/10/2009| 10:10:04 AM| 中文

Search Engine Land's article on Twitterville takes a closer look at the travel industry, which according to the publication has a very high level of engagement on Twitter.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to use Twitter, only a way that helps you meet your goals. However, when most companies use Twitter they fall into three general categories:

· Community engagement and customer service

· Broadcast channels for news, articles, and information

· Dedicated sales channel

It’s not surprising that the accounts with some of the highest follower counts, in some cases over a million followers, are those that fall into the “community and customer service” category, examples of these would be @jetblue, @southwestair, and @alaskaair. Traditional publishers such as @LATimestravel, @nytimestravel and @TravelMagazine use Twitter as a broadcast channel for their articles. An interesting variation of this method is used by @EmiratesAir, who tweets links to  publications and articles about Emirates Airlines. Examples of sales channels include @Expedia and @SpiritAirlines.

It’s worth noting that very few people use it purely for community engagement, broadcasting or sales; instead, most use a hybrid strategy, with the majority of tweets falling into one category, but having some tweets of each type. In some cases, it makes sense to create a separate dedicated channel. An example of multiple channels comes from @jetblue who recently introduced @JetBlueCheeps specifically for discounted fares. Some companies also use Twitter to extend their real world marketing efforts  and specialty campaigns such as the Travelocity Traveling Gnome @roaminggnome and Priceline’s William Shatner Price Negotiator @TheNegotiator.

As Twitter becomes a “breaking” news channel for many, the importance of having a presence on Twitter can’t be understated. For a small but vocal part of the population, Twitter is a primary news source, a prime example of this occurred during the US Airways Flight 1549 emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York City. Some of the earliest reports and photographs from the incident appeared first on Twitter. US Airways scrambled during a crisis to get an account working to push out official information @USAirways. The account has become dormant now, but the key point is if your customers are looking information here, you should be there too. The use of Twitter isn’t limited just to commercial and private organizations, for example the US State Department issues travel information via @TravelGov, as does the US Forest Service @forestservice.

While the majority of the organizations that get most attention on Twitter are larger national groups, there is a growing and active local travel component as well. Local but well known tourist destinations such as the Queen Mary in Long Beach have a presence on Twitter, @QueenMary. However smaller travel groups and companies such as Ohio Travel Association @OhioTravel, St. Louis Hilton @HiltonSTL, Tuscon Radisson @RaddisonTuscon, Alcatraz Cruises @AlcatrazCruises, and Air Ship Ventures @AirShipVentures are also on Twitter.

One of the biggest resistance points about using Twitter or social media in general, is the fear of negative press and negative communication. However, hiding from negative feedback isn’t going to make it go away, remaining mute only makes you a bystander in the communication. One of the most disliked organizations in the world- the TSA, has a blog and presence on twitter @TSABlogteam, and should be case study for anyone concerned about negative feedback. For companies who still decide not to participate, the problem of fans or someone else developing a presence in their absence still exists. Case in point, the @AmtrakNews is an unofficial news feed for Amtrack. The @Amtrack profile is a non-malicious brand squat, it appears she’s securing “AM Track” and not trying to pretend to be the company. Sometimes a brand advocate or fan can also start up a profile, such as this fan from KLM Airlines @klmfan. The worst case scenario is if one of your detractors sets up a profile such as the @IHateEasyJet profile.

For companies who decide to participate but aren’t sure how and when to engage, the best suggestion is proceed slowly and with caution until you feel comfortable. Larger companies may find benefit in having more than one person doing the actual tweeting. In most cases, it’s best to let people know there are multiple people responding and to identify who is responding with initials or some other easily identifiable abbreviations. Some profiles such as @FrommersTravel link their twitter profile to a page with information about who is tweeting. If your organization is uncomfortable about how and when to engage others directly, you should review the US Airforce Social Media Response Chart (PDF) for guidance.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that participating in social media can amplify the voice and exposure of people or organizations who would normally have a very small reach. One social media advocate, @AdventureGirl has in excess of 1 million followers. There are a handful of travel bloggers @everywheretrip, @ecointeractive, @kathika, and @WeBlogTheWorld who each have between 50,000 to 100,000 followers, and yet, aren’t well known brands.

Below you’ll find a list of over 100 different noteworthy Twitter profiles from the travel industry. In the interest of full disclosure, there are a few (<5%) companies listed below which I have had working relationships with.

Alaska Air – @AlaskaAir
Allegiant Air – @AllegiantAir
Air Asia – @AirAsiadotcom
Air France – @AirFranceUS
Air new Zeland – @flyAirNZ
Aloha Airlines – @Aloha_Airlines
America Airlines – @AAirwaves
British Airways – @BritishAirways
Cathay Pacific – @Cathay_Pacific
Continental – @continental
Delta Airlines – @DeltaAirLines
Emirates Airline – @EmiratesAir
Frontier Air – @Frontier_Air
Iberia Airlines – @IberiaAirlines
Jetblue – @jetblue
 Kenya Airways – @KenyaAirways
Lufthansa – @Lufthansa_DE
SAS Airlines – @FLYSAS_com
Philippine Air – @philippineair
Quantas – @QantasUSA
Singapore Airlines – @SQairlines
Southwest Airlines – @SouthwestAir
Shrilanka Airlines – @SrilankanUK
Spirit Airlines – @SpiritAirlines
Swiss Airlines – @SwissAirLines
Virgin America – @virginamerica
United Airlines – @UnitedAirlines
US Airways – @USairways
Westjet – @WestJet 

Rental Car Companies

Hertz – @connectbyhertz
Dollar Rentals – @DollarCars 

Hotels and Hotel Chains

Diamond Resorts – @diamondresorts
Doubletree – @doubletreehtls
Embasy Suites – @Embassy_Suites
 Fairmont Hotels – @fairmonthotels
Hampton Inn Hotels – @HamptonFYI
The Queen Mary in Long Beach – @TheQueenMary 

Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruises – @CarnivalCruise
CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) – @CruiseFacts
Crystal Cruises – @crystalcruises
Cunard lines – @CunardLine
Disney Cruises – @DCLNews
Holland America Crusies – @HALcruises
Norwegian Cruises – @NCLFreestyle
Princess Cruises – @PrincessCruises
Virgin Cruises – @VirginCruises 

Travel Providers and Aggregators

Bing Fareologist – @fareologist
Expedia – @Expedia
Kayak – @KAYAK
Priceline – @TheNegotiator
Orbitz – @Orbitz
Oyster – @oysterhotels
Trip Advisor – @TripAdvisor
Travelocity – @travelocity
Travelocity Gnome the mascot of travelocity – @roaminggnome
Uptake – @Uptake 

Travel Magazine & Newspapers

Conde Naste Traveller magazine publication – @CNTraveler (magazine)
Coastal Living – @coastalliving
Cruise Log – @CruiseLog
Christopher Elliot reporter who covers travel industry – @elliottdotorg
Frugal Traveler NY Times travel columnist – @FrugalTraveler
Guardian Travel – @GuardianTravel
LA Times Travel – @LATimestravel
Lonely Planet – @lonelyplanet
MSNBC Travel – @msnbc_travel
National Geographic Traveler – @NatGeoTraveler
NY Times Travel – @nytimestravel
Times Travel – @timestravel
Offbeat Guides – @offbeatguides
Travel and Leisure magazine – @TravlandLeisure
Travel Magazine – @TravelMagazine 

Travel TV & Radio Shows

No Reservations Travel Channel TV show staring Tony Bourdain – @NoReservations
Samantha Brown Great Weekend – @GreatWeekends
Travel Channel – @travelchannel 

Travel News and Information

AAA American Automobile Association News – @AAAnews
BrilliantTips Travel Trends and trips- @BrilliantTips
Disney World Parks – @DisneyParks
Fodors – @fodorstravel
Forbes traveler – @Forbes_Traveler
Forest Service US Forest Service – @forestservice
Frommers – @FrommersTravel
Seat Guru airline seating information - @SeatGuru
US State Dept travel Adviseries – @TravelGov
PhoCusWright travel industry infomation – @PhoCusWright
Queensland tourism profile for Queensland Australia – @queensland
RandMcnally Maps – @randmcnally
Today in the Sky USA airline news – @TodayInTheSky
Zagat restaurant info – @zagatbuzz 

Travel Bloggers & Social Media

AOL Travel travel blogger – @aoltravel
Adventure Girl – @adventuregirl
Eco Interactive travel blogger – @EcoInteractive
Gary Arndt travel blogger – @EverywhereTrip
Heather Poole flight attendant travel blogger – @Heather_Poole
Gadling – @Gadling
Gridskipper – @Gridskipper
Jaunted – @Jaunted
Jim and Kelly Travel bloggers- @JimandKelly
Kathika – @Kathika
Luxury Travel – @Luxury__travel
Trazzler – @trazzler
TSA Blog – @TSABlogTeam
Vagabondish – @vagabondish
WeBlogTheWorld – @WeBlogtheWorld

TAGS: Twitter | social media
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