If you thought social media was all tweeting and tagging and had no place in the serious world of business, think again.
Delayed at passport control at O.R. Tambo, one business traveller recently tweeted the airport saying “urgently need officers at passport control Terminal A”. Minutes later, O.R. Tambo tweeted back: “We alerted passport control, hope you saw an improvement”.
In this digital age, business travellers interact with social media in different ways throughout their trip, according to a recent study by Deloitte: Social? That’s for consumers. For travel companies, social means business.
In the planning stages of travel,digital channels provide a source of inspiration. Although one could argue that inspiration and corporate travel may not be mutually inclusive, business travellers do admit to turning to social media to research their destination. They use Facebook to solicit ideas for the best restaurants, oruse their LinkedIn profile to generate sales leads. They turn to Twitter and can follow @Amadeus_Africafor intel on news or follow the Amadeus blogs for analysis on the latest developments in corporate travel.
During the trip:
Travel companies, airports and airlines use digital channels for real-time customer interaction. For example, airlines often use digital channels such as Twitter to inform about delays andschedule changes.
Companies can use social media to track their employees in times of emergency. Those of you who woke up to a Facebook feed with notifications from friends or family that they were safe following the earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador will know that Facebook has a safety check feature that helps you track people after natural and man-made disasters.
For any business traveller, the follow-up after a trip is vital. They use social media platforms like LinkedIn to update their contacts, Twitter to follow thought leaders, customers and colleagues they’ve met whilst travelling and social media platforms to review the hotels and restaurants they frequented during their trip.
This exchange of ideas and informationis what social media is all about. So when next you get berated by your friends, family and colleagues for being glued to Facebook you can simply tell them you’re on important business.
Paul de Villiers, Vice-President Amadeus in Africa