• Social media changing the travel industry

    2013-06-27

    Social networks have infiltrated seemingly every aspect of everyday life. Whether it is an Instagram post of what you ate for lunch or a Facebook thread that helps you keep in touch with friends, it's hard to imagine a world where these popular websites don't play an integral role in society. This has increasingly become the case in the travel industry, as Facebook and Twitter have made it easy for travelers to offer real-time reviews of everything from airlines to hotels, and according to CNN this is posing a new challenge for companies in the industry.

    Increasing online presence
    The growing number of travelers turning to the Internet to voice their questions and concerns has led airlines, cruise companies and hotels to place a greater emphasis on using online channels to interact with their customer base. One of the companies that has been particularly adept at using this to their advantage is JetBlue, which employs more than two dozen employees whose sole job it is to respond to travelers who have issues with their services.

    "If there's a direct question, we try to respond within 15 minutes, and more often, it's under five minutes," Morgan Johnston, JetBlue's corporate communications manager and social media strategist, told . "This is real-time media. If I'm a customer, I can get out four tweets in five minutes."

    More than complaints
    Although social media has changed how quickly travelers can make, and get responses to, complaints, that is not the only way that it is revolutionizing the travel industry. According to Travel Leisure, it has also made it easier for travelers to get from place to place if they're in a jam. For instance, apps such as Gogobot can offer insight into how to find a flight, train or bus to a particular destinations if you're running into issues.

    No end in sight
    It's safe to say that the impact social media has had on travel is not going anywhere anytime soon, especially as smartphones and tablet computers become more common. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 56 percent of American adults own a smartphone, while 34 percent own a tablet, making it easy for them to head to the social media world whether in the air or traveling the U.S.

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