Mixed results for travel firms on Twitter

A detailed analysis of how 140 brands from a variety of sectors use Twitter offers a wealth of advice and best practice examples, with the simplest distinction being whether brands should use the micro-blogging site for engagement or broadcasting.

Immediate Future released the 200-page white paper ‘The Truth About Twitter’ this week.

The most effective “engagement” site comes from the hospitality sector. @hyattconcierge is ranked as having 100% engagement, based on the percentage of @replies which feature on the feed. “The clue is in the name,” as the study says of Hyatt Concierge. Its role is to respond to queries from its customers.

Other hotel Twitter feeds looked at in the report perform less well in terms of engagement, although the feeds from Marriott (@MarriottIntl) and Macdonald Hotels (@MacdonaldHotels) provide more deals and destination content, performing better in terms of broadcasting.

@visitbritain also covers both disciplines, with a good rating in terms of its engagement and the volume of tweets it posts. Immediate Future considers its conversational tone as appropriate.

In terms of size, @Expedia has the most followers of the travel feeds with around 10,000 at the time of the study. @lastminute.com has a relatively modest 2,700 followers, although it deserves a mention for having joined Twitter before the other brands. Its Twitter profile was launched in July 2008.

The speed with which Twitter has gained traction is reflected by Immediate Future’s observation that “we have passed the early-adopter phase and are edging into the mainstream adoption of Twitter by organisations”.

For mainstream adoption – there are five areas of best practice which it recommends businesses consider: frequency of tweets, level of interaction, following, tone of voice and content.

Elsewhere, Twitter has relaunched its homepage this week, in a move which many industry observers are seeing as a big change in its approach, moving away from a micro-blogging service towards a real-time search engine.

Visitors to twitter.com will be able to search ‘tweets’ without having to register for the site.

Observers have suggested that travel businesses might be able to use this to distribute deals to a wider audience than just their registered followers.

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