On a recent flight from Seattle to Phoenix I did something that has become more common. My flight was delayed and I conversed with the airline via Twitter to see if there was anything I could do to make my now-25-minute connection. Â Had the airline not had a presence on Twitter, I could have been stranded. Â This was not a first though for me; I often deal with the airline social media teams to get situations handled, or to help with a booking. Â Social media and airlines seem to go hand-in-hand lately, but what airlines have the best social media presence?
October saw a selection of travel social media heavyweights all gathered for the 4th Annual SimpliFlying Social Media awards in Amsterdam. Over 37,000 votes were collected for the eveningâ€™s events to choose the winners.
SimpliFlyingÂ isÂ a consulting firm that believes in thinking differently about aviation marketing and states that their awards promote the exchange of knowledge in the sphere of social media by inviting winners to present and share their successes with the rest of the world.
Since 2010, the best airlines and airports on social media are celebrated for their contributions to the aviation industry through this ever-broadening form of communication.
â€œThe age of the connected traveller is an exciting one for the airline marketing industry, and is constantly evolving,” Â said Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying.Â “One third of travellers already carry more than two devices when traveling.” He continue by saying that the awards, “raises the bar for innovative airline marketing, in the age of the connected traveller.”
When asked about how the award wins would benefit the passenger, Shashank explains that a common aspect that he finds with the winners is that they never stop innovating. They also are able to successfully use data to see what passengers want. “Airlines can use this data to analyse and improve their marketing efforts with results that map back to their business goals,” Nigam explained. “With real-time data, airlines are equipped to focus on what really interests passengers, while de-cluttering everything else.”
KLM, for example, Â has two staff members in the social media team dedicated to only monitoring messages from passengers waiting to depart. This allows KLM to concentrate on a specific type of customer and address their concerns before they depart, making sure they enjoy their flight and arrive happy.Â Strategies like these are what caused KLM to win the Best Airline on Social Media this year.
Best Airport went to Amsterdamâ€™s Schiphol Airport, which is also where KLM is based. Â The Best Emerging Airport/Airline on Social Media (it is a combined category) went to Qatar Airways. Â There were a number of US-based companies among the runners-up, with American Airlines and Miami Airport taking positions in Best Airline and Best Emerging Airport/Airline, respectively.
The awards look at airlines/airport who have a strong presence on all social media platforms, not just one (ie just looking at Twitter).
An airline who uses all available means of social media to connect with their passengers, be it to share a great photo, help someone fix a flight connection, or even to work out the best available offer for their next vacation, should be praised.
These winners are really the leaders in the social media realm, using the practices that they have developed and implemented to lead the way forward for the entire industry.