An analysis of the use of Twitter has found nearly a third of posts are directed at travel professionals.
The research by Allianz Global Assistance also found travel-related enquiries come from the most followed users of the micro-blogging site – those who average 900 followers.
In total 66% of requests for assistance are related to tourist activities and trip organisation.
Lee Taylor, chief sales officer of Allianz Global Assistance UK, said: “Every year, Allianz Global Assistance provides medical assistance and travel insurance to millions of travellers across the globe, offering valuable support in the event of an emergency.
“But as the popularity of social media channels grows, so does the need to better understand its importance in supporting travellers and the travel industry as a whole.”
Twitter claims to have more than 200 million active users generating 400 million tweets per day worldwide.
The Allianz research found general tweets for assistance are commonplace, while emergency assistance requests are extremely rare.
Twitter was found mostly to be used to help organise a trip and to ask typical tourist advice, with 38% of Tweeters asking their network for recommendations regarding a destination, a place to visit, or an activity to do when they arrive at their destination.
A further 26% use Twitter to help organise their travel plans, such as choosing a hotel or calculating travel costs.
Question Subject Matter
Example of Question
1. Find an activity.
”What’s there to see in Stockholm?”
2. Ask for advice when organising a trip.
“Should I go to Bermuda or Corsica to scuba dive?”
3. How do I get reimbursed for an airline ticket?
“I missed my plane, how do I get my money back?”
4. Find directions.
“Do I turn right or left for the Eiffel Tower?”
5. Find a place to sleep.
“Looking to spend the night in London. Where should I go?”
6. Exchange rate.
“Does anyone know the value of 1000 Bolivar in Japanese Yen?”
7. What to do tonight?
Anyone have an idea about something fun to do in London tonight?”
8. Find a hotel.
“I need help finding a nice, inexpensive hotel in Buenos Aires…”
9. Choose a destination for the next trip.
“I have $500 for a two-week holiday. Any ideas where I can go?”
10.The eternal visa problem.
“Do I need a visa to go to Paraguay?”
The one third of all tweets analysed directed at tourism and travel professionals were aimed at airlines, tour operators and hotels.
These primarily asked for advice or for help to resolve a problem. Allianz said although Twitter is not yet a mainstream channel for communicating with professionals, it’s becoming more and more of one every day.
On average, one third of the tweets that were analysed received at least one response, but it was not possible to determine whether or not all of these responses were satisfactory.
However, analysis did find that 46% of tweets receive a response if they are sent to a particular person or company.
Only 20% of Tweeters use hashtags to send a general tweet that can be identified by one or more key words.
Taylor added: “We will continue to analyse how social networking affects the different markets we work in – travel, automobile, health and home assistance – so that we can truly understand the issues and needs of those who embrace social media to support their daily life.
“With millions of active users on Twitter, Facebook and other emerging social network platforms, now is the time to explore how we can innovatively enhance the communication process both in terms of general advice and in the longer term, supporting a travel assistance or medical assistance scenario.”