Social Media: Implications for the Travel Industry (Part 1)

When a volcano erupted in Iceland several weeks ago, clouds of ash were blown over much of Europe. Because of these clouds, airports in many countries were forced to shut down their operations.

Once upon a time, that would have left passengers with little recourse to find a way out of their predicament. Thanks to social networking, however, they quickly started tweeting.

Social Media

While stranded travelers were tweeting to friends and relatives and looking for an alternative means home, airlines used Twitter to keep them informed. Singapore's Changi Airport went so far as to use its Facebook and Twitter accounts to encourage its fans to offer places to stay to passengers that could not get home.

“In a crisis situation like this, social media becomes an invaluable communications tool,” says Robert Bailey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Singapore based Abacus International.

“It allows people to share information, provide real-time updates and provides an exchange platform for those seeking a way home and those who had a solution to get home.”

Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity.

By turning to social media, airlines were able to turn a crisis into a textbook study of turning a challenge into an image building marketing opportunity.

“What the airlines did well was to use Twitter to communicate that they were doing their best to handle a situation that was basically out of their hands. The result was a more forgiving group of passengers.”

To Be Continued



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