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Why aren’t UK travel companies using Twitter?

October 16, 2008

This post is partly inspired by a recent These Digital Times post and Peter Kim post that looked at businesses using social media to market themselves.

The topic this time though is this: Why aren’t UK travel firms using Twitter? I had wanted to create a list of those that did, imagining I’d find quite a few companies embracing Twitter – especially the online agents. (If there are any, please let me know in a comment). But as it turned out, not much came up…

US leads the way
In the US, major airlines are using Twitter. There is Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, British Airways and probably a few more…

What use could Twitter bring then? A post by Mack last year sums it up. He revealed that Delta Airlines was using Twitter to not only send out special deals, but also to communicate with annoyed passengers waiting for delayed flights. The airline could then get feedback on its service, as well as the industry as a whole.

The rationale that, with a lot of times on their hands, these annoyed passengers were logging onto to Twitter to pass the time etc…

OK. Two key words here. Airports and delays. In the UK, we are perhaps the kings of airport delays. Not to mention queues, cancellations, missing baggage etc.

So, if Twitter does grow in the UK (which I suspect it will in a major way), then now is the time for UK airlines to jump on this. And perhaps airport operator BAA also could do this.

Can you imagine the Twitter traffic if easyJet or Ryanair set up Twitter accounts. Bizarrely, accounts do exist, but these are just people squatting the names.

UK travel firms
So, back to UK travel companies – and there appears to be few using Twitter.

After some time spent searching, there appear to be no airlines, cruises lines, operators or travel agents using Twitter (apart from Lastminute, which also blogs on the Blogger platform).

Tour operators and hotel chains are being encouraged to interact with their customers, to reply to criticisms etc.

UK travel agents could use Twitter to promote deals, and communicate with customers.

As blogging grows in the UK, so too will Twitter and I’m predicting travel companies will jump onboard in the next few months. Meanwhile, watch this space.

UPDATE: UK Travel firms using Twitter

more to come..

(*thanks to Kevin May) (**thanks to Josh)

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2008 9:41 pm

    Interesting post, Matt.

    Of the 350-odd followers Travolution has on Twitter, there are a few UK travel-related companies.

    These include Metrotwin (the new BA social network), STA Travel, Select World Travel, Apartotel, CHeapholidays, Devon Hotels, and lastminute.com (which you mentioned), and a couple of dozen more.

    It is the smaller, niche travel providers who are looking at niche marketing methods such as Twitter to spread their brand.

  2. matthewparsons permalink*
    October 17, 2008 7:15 pm

    Thanks for those, will update the list and keep an eye our for the smaller travel firms…

  3. October 17, 2008 8:35 pm

    Nice read. Thanks for commenting on the Downing Street / Twitter post on NDNL.

    It’s remarkable perhaps, but I’ve been seeing a lot more of the “look before you leap” style posts. True, companies can and ought to engage in the online conversation, but only if they are serious about it and are ready to face both sides: pros and cons, advocates and adversaries. That is basically the main idea of your and my posts.

    Here in Belgium, this kind of use of Twitter – or social media / networks – is only beginning to seep through, with mostly tech people engaging. I do expect to see a rather rapid rise in the number of local Twitter users though, both privately as from companies. A recent small business marketing conference I attended focused heavily on the topic and people are beginning to understand.

    Oh, and if you like, feel free to pop round again, but at my new site and URL, Dotcomslashblog.

    Cheers.

  4. October 19, 2008 2:11 am

    There is a list of hostel-related companies on Twitter here:
    http://wiki.hostelmanagement.com/wiki/Twitter_and_Hostels

    UK-based travel companies on the list include Hostelbookers, Hostels247, and the Hatters hostels.

  5. matthewparsons permalink*
    October 19, 2008 8:57 am

    Thanks for the post Nils. You’re right about the ‘tech’ angle. It’s still tough to make sense of all of these new social media websites (I’m finding anyway), so that would explain the higher take-up from online travel firms, such as Lastminute etc. But yes, I think it is seeping through, especially as more companies realise debate is a good thing (and ‘comment is free’, as The Guardian says). Will have a look at http://nilsgeylen.com/blog

  6. matthewparsons permalink*
    October 19, 2008 8:58 am

    Josh, thanks for the post, and I will update the list…

  7. Darren Cronian permalink
    October 23, 2008 8:56 pm

    It’s not just Twitter though where UK travel companies are lagging behind. Social media in general seems to be an obsticle that many cannot get over. My opinion is that CEO’s of these big companies are not interested in anything that does not generate them revenue.

    It’s a blinkered view.

    They forget that social media (twitter included) can build brands, attract potential new customers, and probably more important shows that they are experienced in the product that they are selling. Oh, and builds trust.

  8. October 23, 2008 10:07 pm

    Metrotwin.com and British Airways who own the site both give good Tweet

  9. matthewparsons permalink*
    October 26, 2008 2:25 pm

    Tim – definitely. How come other airlines are not doing this though? Even simple things like destination tips would be useful, or travelling tips, special offers…

  10. November 19, 2008 11:59 am

    Interesting post!

    What I would be interested in seeing is some demographic stats for Twitter. I think, at least anecdotally from my experiences talking to people in the UK, that Twitter is mostly used by younger people working in the tech/online industry.

    I’ve talked to many people and most simply don’t know what Twitter is. Some more techy people have heard of it, but don’t understand it.

    Given the company I work for is aimed at a niche market (horse riding holidays) of people who traditionally aren’t that techy, it doesn’t seem there is that much benefit. However, for us, there doesn’t seem to be that much to lose either, so we have recently started Tweeting a little (FarAndRide). Will see how it goes!

  11. January 19, 2009 1:07 am

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for putting this list together. It’s a lot to sort through.

    We made Elliott Ng’s list of 200 travel twitters on Friday, but I don’t think I saw the Authentic Seacoast Resorts on your list http://twitter.com/AuthenticCoast

    Perhaps on your next update?

    Thanks again,

    Authentic Seacoast

  12. January 22, 2009 4:24 pm

    Hi Matthew,

    Great post. You are right, UK travel companies are slow to wake up to Twitter. Most of the ones I spoke to are unsure of how to use it in a business context, hence are reluctant to embrace it. We have launched a couple of Twitter accounts (admittingly, without being sure how to use Twitter either, but are learning through experimentation):

    http://twitter.com/WhichBudget
    (WhichBudget = flights search engine, staying in touch with members)

    http://twitter.com/TravelMagazine
    (The Travel Magazine = mainstream travel magazine, twitting about travel news and special offers)

    Regards,
    Martino

  13. February 3, 2009 7:31 pm

    Guys we are also on twitter šŸ™‚ please spread the word http://www.twitter.com/lowcostdeals

  14. February 24, 2009 10:17 am

    Explore are using Twitter

    http://www.twitter.com/explore

  15. March 3, 2009 11:09 am

    Holidays 4 U, website http://www.h4u.co.uk, are on Twitter

  16. waltersamuel permalink
    February 16, 2011 4:11 pm

    2 years later and Twitter is huge.. I’d be surprised if there aren’t any companies not using it, especially travel agencies and airline companies where customer complaints can be dealt with quickly and directly online. There’s also a lot more integration with social networks such as Facebook and new social tools like Find a Flight Buddy which are free and they encourage connectivity with passengers, surely this can only be advantageous to these companies?

Trackbacks

  1. A list of companies using social media to market themselves in the UK « These Digital Times
  2. Three reasons to relaunch a list of companies using social media to market themselves in the UK « These Digital Times
  3. The travel industry and Twitter, part 2 « Journeys through travel
  4. Twitter marches on - but who has the most marketing mojo? « Journeys through travel
  5. The Travel Industry on Twitter «

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