Modern Marketing

Emirates, KLM dominate social media usage of all travel companies

By Nesh Pillay | Reporter

January 15, 2015 | 4 min read

Emirates has made great leaps in its social media engagement this past year, according to a study released by eDigitalResearch this month. The study, which tracked travel companies of all types – airlines, hotels, and travel agencies – monitored the usage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

KLM continued to top the Facebook charts, both in number of new followers and total number of followers, with almost eight million newcomers this year.

Emirates had the highest ‘talking about’ numbers with more than 12 million people mentioning the airline in posts, comments, and shares. Other companies that made the top five list include Air France, Expedia, and All but two of the top 20, Cathay Pacific and STA Travel, had more than a million followers.

Most of the companies posted about once a day, but Etihad led the group with an average of 2.75 posts a day. Most of its posts were updates regarding destinations and flight schedules. On average, all the companies posted more on Mondays and Fridays with weekends being the least popular time to post.

KLM also topped Twitter lists, with both the most followers and growth, being the only contender with more than a million followers. However, Emirates has made the biggest improvement of the group by jumping from the 15th highest number of followers to the 5th.

This is the first time the airline has been featured in the top five. It is believed that its huge gain is partly attributed to its global sponsorship deals, particularly those involving famous soccer clubs. Ryanair, which only launched an official Twitter account in 2014, now has 113, 896 followers.

In general, the top Twitter statistics are dominated by airlines, with only five non-airlines on the list. These include Expedia, EasyJet, Hilton, Four Seasons and Royal Caribbean.

Almost all companies researched tweeted about once a day, with Wednesday being the most popular day to post.

When it comes to Google+, airlines seem to hold back. This is the only category in which hotels and travel agents are more active. Expedia tops the list of follower numbers with more than three million followers. However, the company is second on the list of gains, beaten by

Meanwhile, Expedia has the best engagement, averaging more than 2.5 posts a day. Most other contenders typically post less than once daily. These posts tend to be relatively spread out throughout the week with the only dip in activity occurring on weekends.

For the first time ever, eDigitalResearch included Instagram in its research. It seems that Instagram is used much less by travel companies. Once again however, Emirates is the frontrunner. It has more than three times the number of followers than the next highest contender, British Airways, with 348,000 followers. Again, this may be because of the many photos with high-profile footballers.

Overall, Twitter is by far the most used arena, though all platforms are expected to see a boost in coming years as social media becomes a more popular marketing tool.

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