It's easy to gripe about negative changes in the airline industry, from cramped seats to subpar food to excessive baggage fees. But for all of those things, we also have something to be thankful for: the Internet. The surge of social media has forced the hand of practically every major airline and hotel in the world, enabling patrons to directly contact them via Twitter or Facebook. Here, some of do's and don'ts for leveraging social media to engage with travel brands.
Utilize Direct Messaging
Both Facebook and Twitter allow users to privately message brands, and we suggest always using this whenever possible. No one wants to be publicly shamed, including the folks behind the social feeds of Delta, Uber, American Airlines, or Marriott. By engaging via a private method, you're starting the conversation from a place of respect, which is apt to get you better results.
Include Pertinent Information
Don't make the customer service representative ask for vital information. When issuing a question or complaint, be sure to include your confirmation number, your frequent member number, important dates, and a very specific request. Also, make sure you spell things correctly, leaving no room for misinterpretation.
Assume The Best (and Be Kind!)
It's easy to get flustered when travel goes awry, but cool heads have the best luck in salvaging the journey. Take a deep breath before firing off a grievance, and be sure to thank whomever is on the other end for hearing you out. Remember, you're dealing with real people with real emotions. If you make it easy to get along, you stand a better chance of a positive outcome.
It can feel refreshing to make a smart-aleck remark about an airline losing your luggage on Twitter for all to see, but remember this: the Internet never forgets. Even if you delete your post a few hours later, caching systems can make them resurface if searched for. Don't say anything on social media that you could regret later, including remarks aimed at brands that most would say deserve all the flack they get.
Make Irrational Demands
Asking to be re-routed due to an impending snowstorm in your connecting city is reasonable. Asking for a private jet place of your delayed commercial flight is not. It's important to understand the difference between a reasonable request and an unreasonable one. Customer service agents exist to serve, but be thoughtful about what you ask for.
Social media isn't the place to make threats. If you've been seriously wronged by a hotel or airline, keep calm and privately document the entire situation. Then, take things up with the company via phone. Social media is a place where minor issues get ironed out. If you can tell that it's going to be a prolonged discussion, you're better off calling.
Any other tips for making the most of social media when it comes to travel? Let us know in comments!