While the weather causes chaos across much of the United States, many of us folks in New England are starting to become submissive to the nasty winter weather. We have started thinking that snow is part of our weekly routine and an unfortunate expectation. And as we are required to travel for work, school, and basic needs, we often look for guidance in what was traditional media (as I define television, newspaper, and radio outlets). Huddled away from what seems to be thousands of inches of snow, my thoughts now turn to social media, smart phones/devices, and how organizations in the travel industry are harnessing the power of these communication methods.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are by no means “new”. Neither are copious choices of iPhone or Android applications. What is interesting, however, is the sheer number of people that because of these outlets are informed simultaneously of an event or decision. One great local example is Boston’s Logan International Airport on Facebook. They update the status on traffic accidents getting to or from the airport, weather conditions with estimated flight delays, and changes in aircraft boarding gates due to construction. People are then able to adjust travel plans and arrive or depart the airport based current information. Bravo also goes to the airlines that also use social media to broadcast travel waivers and allow customers to be proactive in changing flights before the weather arrives.
The positive impact social media is making on travel industry operations helps to ease tension for consumers and employees alike. No one wants to miss their Caribbean cruise due to a snowstorm, but sitting in an airport for hours hoping to fly just makes the travel process more difficult. A simple text message notifying of a cancelled flight and then another of automatic rebooking makes all the difference to everyone concerned.