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The battle begins: Abta election and social media

May 21, 2009


So this is the story the entire UK travel industry is talking about – who will become the next Abta president.

In today’s issue of Travel Trade Gazette (including this nice boxing-style illustration from art editor Nick Bartolucci), there’s plenty of coverage on the contenders.

On the left we have Daniele Broccoli, boss of Britaly Travel (interview here) and on the right is John McEwan, boss of the Advantage consortium (interview here).

So where does new media fit into this? Well, the two candidates have taken different approaches.


Broccoli has opted for this YouTube message (1.48 minutes), and has an election campaign website.


McEwan, meanwhile, has just started a Twitter account – click on the picture to access it.

There may be other social media applications involved, but following a chat in the office this is what I’ve managed to find. There were rumours about a certain Facebook page being used to direct viewers to a certain “straw poll” on a magazine website, but haven’t been able to find out more…

UK travel agents/operators and social media
Increasingly, the UK travel industry is getting to grips with social media. I’ve noticed this on my Travel/Twitter list, and seeing the number of Facebook fan pages cropping up, as well as individual companies just jumping in and embracing as many platforms as they can (like ThinkSicily, for example).

Abta’s magazine is also using Twitter to good effect, and the UK’s major tour operators are onboard as well (Thomson and Thomas Cook) although consumer blogger Travelrants is unsure just how effective these may prove to be.

Finally, for any readers of this blog who are unfamiliar with Abta, or the way it works, here’s an excerpt from TTG about the voting process (below), and a good editorial piece from editor Lucy Huxley. But in the meantime, check out this microsite for all the coverage.

So how does the election work?
Election packs were sent out this week by Abta to designated contacts in each of its 1,391 members, around 400 of which are tour operators. Each company/member is allocated one vote. Large firms with multiple memberships have more than one vote. Tui , for example, has 15. Members have until June 10 to return their voting form.


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