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The holiday travel season can be a stressful one if you’re flying across the country, encountering winter travel delays or hanging out in overcrowded airports filled with people trying to get back home. And that’s where airlines like Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have turned to social media to help them with customer service. Here are just a few of the tactics they are using:
Southwest Airlines is using a special hashtag – #TakeoffTips – to create content that can help travelers during this busy travel season. For example, recent #TakeoffTips have included advice on how store luggage in the overhead bin and how to get a better boarding position.
This is the type of simple, lightweight advice that’s extraordinarily useful in handling common customer service inquiries. It’s the same strategy as posting an FAQ on websites, just adapted for social media. Inevitably, the same questions come up over and over again, and using #TakeoffTips is one way to make sure that airline personnel can get their planes off on time.
Updating winter travel advisories
Most people carry their phones with them everywhere, and so one easy way to keep passengers updated about delays and cancellations is via social media. Southwest Airlines has been sending out a series of Winter Travel Advisories that help passengers adapt to changing weather conditions.
On Twitter, for example, Southwest sends out messages warning passengers that “scheduled service may be disrupted due to wintry travel conditions.” Similarly, American Airlines posts “Winter Storm Alerts” using fun GIF images of snow blowing past a grounded airliner on the tarmac.
Running contests and promotions
Southwest Airlines used hashtags like #WrapOff and #Contest to promote a “Best Gift Wrapper” contest. All social media users had to do was send in a photo of a wrapped gift and use the corresponding hashtag, and they would be entered to win. Southwest also coordinated a one-day promotion with The Container Store to wrap gifts on December 22.
For its part, American Airlines hosted a wine glass promotion. For each tweet, you could like it, tweet it, or share it – and each action corresponded to a different entry. For example, if you liked a tweet, you’d be entered to win a different set of wine glasses than if you retweeted it.
Creating holiday-themed stories
American Airlines created stories on Snapchat and Instagram featuring its airplanes, crewmembers and passengers, all with a holiday theme. In much the same way, Southwest Airlines used the #SouthwestHeart hashtag to share stories of people at the airlines working during the holidays, especially in difficult weather conditions. Southwest also posted photos of passengers having fun during the holidays, such as kids posing for photos in the captain’s cockpit.
Flying during the holidays can be a difficult experience, but these social media hacks show that airlines are thinking of creating ways to connect with customers in meaningful ways to make that experience as stress-free as possible. Injecting a little fun and holiday spirit into social media updates can help to ensure that passengers really are flying the friendly skies.