Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Part II: Why 35 Travel Industry Gurus Love Twitter

If you read yesterday's blog post, you saw 32 leading Travel Brands' tweets on how and why they participate in Twitter.

They felt that this medium holds much promise, but for now, most are listening and engaging with their customers.

18 of the 32 brands used "communicate" or "dialog" in their 140 character message, while 11 brands included "offers", "promotions" or "sweepstakes" as part of their Twitter strategy.

The takeaway is there are three primary uses of Twitter, based on responses by these major travel brands - Engagement (listening/communicating/responding); Attracting passionate brand advocates as followers; and Selling at low marketing costs (promotions/deals/sweepstakes/offers).

It's not surprising that these three goals explain why travel brands tweet, my question is, how much does strategy play a role in their success? Are these companies measuring brand lift, increased customer satisfaction or sales through the Twitter channel, as a matter of course? Or, are they now merely getting their feet wet as they experiment with this new channel?

In order to rise to a level where management "gets it" and puts additional resources towards social media in general, you need to show what "good" looks like. Since brands are focused on communication, building a fan base and promoting offers, how is all of this measured and presented to senior management?

After looking at Travel Brands' current use of Twitter yesterday, I wanted to focus on the 35 bloggers, writers, and leading travel industry influencers, including analysts, CEOs, and entrepreneurs. I asked each to DM me on Twitter, @susantravels - in under 140 characters - how and why they tweet. Here are their posts:

1. @TravelEkspert: Having a Twitter/blog combination has fundamentally changed my methodology and timing for delivering my messages.
2. @travelingmamas: We use Twitter to form valuable partnerships with travel publishing companies (Uptake, Fodors, Fairmont Hotels, etc). They find us 
3. @tripwolf: I use twitter to meet other great travel bloggers - it's more personal, like sending a text rather than an email.
4. @elliottng: Best use of twitter: "Peripheral vision" on your topic of interest; your own personalized "presidential daily brief"!
5. @gbrockway: Invaluable for finding news related to niche topics, sharing info about my projects, esp TripIt, and sating my Narcissus (yes, I admit it)
6. @rickseaney: We think twitter is a perfect vehicle for timely air travel deal information, potentially better than email
7. @denschaal: I use Twitter 2 break & distribute travel news & analysis, & as vital tool to interact with & learn from industry braniacs.
8. @elliottdotorg: Thanks -- I'm here to help travelers, so that's what most of my twitter activity is about.
9. @karasw: I get the latest travel news/trends; troll for story sources; network with travel PR peeps/writers; learn from live-tweeted conferences.
10. @JohnnyJet: Drive traffic to my site.Create brand awareness.Stay on top of travel trends/news.Gives me a pers/prof connection w/readers in real time.
11. @wendyperrin: I share travel tips & deals, & answer readers' travel questions, in order to promote CNTraveler.com and PerrinPost.com. I watch how travel companies use it as a customer-service tool, & then I use it myself as a journalistic & marketing tool.
12. @awtravelweekly: I use it to learn from a community I might not otherwise hear from, to pass along news and insights and keep up with travel friends.
13. @JEBworks: Sorry to be late-unswiss! Use it as an effective tool to enter the stream, observe and feed the conversation, express my opinions and share.
14. @HappyHotelier: Just show and be myself and sometimes spread the word about Haagsche Suites.
15. @TravelEditor: I use Twitter to get breaking travel news and story ideas, publicize our new articles, and meet and seek insight from other travel pros.
16. @hharteveldt: I use Twitter to share useful information, learn/share relevant industry news, & build Forrester's credibility & influence
17. @TravelSocial: Expand social media knowledge/skills; Share insights/info w/professional peers; Monitor competitors & innovations
18. @pappas: Niche discovery & distribution-relevant info exchange-vet ideas & gauge interest-realtime-Opps from twitter data are ridiculously, wonderful!
19. @barbdelollis: major#twitter fan. use it to convey news & insights from HotelCheck-In & other sources. also use to find ideas, inspiration
20. @JensThraenhart - To share interesting articles, and learn from innovators and influencers in the tourism marketing space, globally and in China
21. @EliteTravelGal Have 2k+ followers after 2 weeks & now they all know what I do. all potential clients. All luv 2 travel/need help
22. @Marilyn_Res: I work at NatGeo & there's a treasure trove of amazing stories & photos on our sites that people don't know abt, so I link 2 them on Twitter
23. @aschonland - Twitter is the network effect in real-time. I share info and get back at least double back. I announce a podcast and see listenership grow from Twitter links and leads. I have also linked with really smart people.
24. @stuartma: twitter provides human connections, dialogue & awareness that's instant, cheap & fun
25. Douglas_Quinby: Learn from industry thought-leaders, share insights from PhoCusWright research, engage with our customers, and have fun!
26. @ValynP : Twitter lets me keep up with interesting people, engage a certain audience, raise awareness of OpenTravel, plus it's fun!
27. @tweet2travel: We r launching a travel related biz in the summer & twitter is going 2 be a major component of how we work with our customers
28. @travelrants: I use twitter to raise awareness of my blog/brand and network with people from all over the world who enjoy discussing travel.
29. @SEKeener: Every staff member at BootsnAll, has a Twit acct. Community used 2b a "walled garden", now, it is everywhere, Twitter being 1 signif place.
30. @scotthyden: Single source for getting and giving industry knowledge/insight. Give custs inside look into how we think aboutour brand.
31. @brucerosard: I use Twitter as a search engine for relevant content, a way to build the PhoCusWright brand and to establish myself and my company as a thought leader
32. @AdamHealey: tx 4 thinking of me. I follow our company, industry visionaries like yourself, "hotel" + "hotels"
33. @HugoBurge twitter satisfies my curiosity for new stuff, people's activities, conversations, following sites I'm involved in & occasional propaganda ;)
34. @laurably: Keeps me on the pulse of travel industry developments; helps build awareness for USA Today travel brand; connects me w/new readers & sources
35. @HHotelConsult: Collaboration, networking, research, & "nownews", w/ topical & impacting conversation relevant to each individual's tastes,needs & interests

13 comments:

Roberta said...

GREAT list!! I thought I was following travel experts already, but had only been following 4 on this list! I now follow them all.

Marilyn_Res said...

Thanks Susan for giving me more folks to follow!

Troy Thompson @travel2dot0 wrote a post on his blog yesterday about how the travel industry could/should use Twitter, with ideas for Disney, cruise ships, ski resorts etc:
http://travel2dot0.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/how-the-travel-industry-should-use-twitter/

Barbara Benham said...

Thanks!
I love this!
I saw it on Wendy Perrin's tweet.
Sign me,
@TravelSweeps

Authentic Seacoast Resorts said...

Great post, Susan. Your three primary uses are a nice summary of why travel brands use Twitter. We think Twitter challenges organizations to look at how much value they put on relationships. As @tripwolf says, Twitter is a very personal medium and this makes it hard for marketers to fake an interest in relationships with people, especially over the long term. We're still getting our feet wet on measurements, not wanting to put emphasis on metrics over people in a desire to keep it real and demonstrate our genuine interest in the conversations we have with people. We look forward to reading your insights on these challenges.
@AuthenticCoast

Jonathan @ CityListen said...

Thanks Susan for pulling this list together. Great to hear the perspectives of others.
CityListen uses Twitter as a promotional tool - but more often we use it much like others on your list: to establish a connection and dialogue with like-minded folks in the travel space; share ideas; pick-up on trends; and, on occasion, to find links that are nothing more than a brief entertaining diversion.

Elliott Ng said...

GREAT list and some enjoyable advice from the other members of the list. Thanks for including me.

In addition to having a ton of utilitarian value, Twitter is like a massive, distributed, virtual 24-hour cocktail party. I'd love to have a meetup with the 30 people on this list sometime, that would be a ton of fun! Thanks again.

What a Trip said...

Yet another great Travel Industry Twitter list. I'm enjoying the fact that our San Francisco, California community has created travel industry Twitter meetups in the Bay Area.
Twitter is excellent for social networking, but face time has value, too.
@Nancydbrown

Annika Hipple said...

Thanks for compiling these great lists, Susan! I was already following a number of these people but now I'm planning to check out the rest. That's one of the things I love about Twitter - it's such a wonderful tool for finding people and information I would never have known about otherwise. I use it to keep up with news in the fields I write about (travel, environment, international development), to share articles and useful information, and to connect with and learn from interesting people.
@annikahipple

Roseanne Landay said...

Susan,

Count me in on the NY Tweetup! You did a great job of gathering useful insights from the "knowns" & from the previously "unknowns". These insights collected from active gurus combined with yesterday's collection of insights from travel industry players has filled a void in the twittersphere.

Roseanne @TravelSocial

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Susan-

The Travel Twitterati seems to grow with every passing day.

You've certainly compiled an excellent list of popular tweeters to follow and a great start.

I think a missing segment of the Travel Twitterati are travel consultants, of whom there are several great ones out there.

If you'd be so kind, I'd love to share with your readers that I tweet about luxury travel, exotic destinations/hideaways as well as the best (many unknown) boutique & design hotels in the world.

Thanks for a great list.

John Clifford (@LuxTravel)
International Travel Management.com
www.InternationalTravelManagement.com

Fishbits said...

truly.. thank for including me! This list is so incredible, and Elliott is write... I would love a meetup. We have so much in common, while so many of us work away on laptops in dimly lit makeshift offices or public wifi areas during travel. It would be a treat to actually commune with the people I spend much of my time with as virtual "office" friends, with out industry chat. You rock Susan... well done.

Jeff Talajic said...

Great list, I followed them all :)