For the world’s largest consumer-facing sector, you would think that the travel industry executives would be very social and outward looking. This is, after all, an industry built on hospitality. Think again.
Turns out among the legions of big travel companies across all its subsectors, the CEO and leaders of these companies very rarely go off track from traditional corporate channels of communication. A select few of them are on social media, and even fewer have a meaningful presence — communicating with and responding to customers and peers in travel — in the various social channels.
» One Related Link You Really Should Read After This: SkiftSocial, the Social Media Data Dashboard for the Travel Industry
Part of it has to do with the top leadership among top companies in travel: it still is an old white-boys club, for most part, at least in U.S. and Europe, and very few of them are tech savvy themselves. The more practical reason is that most of the large travel companies are public companies, with lots of financial regulations inhibiting the free form of communication that social media allows.
That said, the exceptions are below, Skift’s Top Travel Industry CEOs on Social Media.
Some observations on the list:
- Only the top 10 or so on this list would qualify as actually being active in social media. Rest have nominal presence.
- Richard Branson is everywhere. He has advice on everything. You can’t escape him, anywhere. If he wasn’t so creative, insane fun and game for anything, he would as well be Donald Trump.
- Donald Trump. Ugh.
- Tony Fernandes is the epitome of a big time travel CEO who actually is very active on Twitter and causes controversy, interacts with customers and generally is out there as Air Asia continues to grow into the pan-Asian company that it aspires to be. His AirAsia X counterpart Azran Osman Rani is in his mold.
- Tech CEOs are native to social, primarily because of their backgrounds. That explains Yelp, Foursquare, Airbnb and Uber CEOs. Most of them actually talk very little about travel, more about entrepreneurship and general startup culture.
- Travis Kalanick, CEO of car service startup Uber, is the only executive who actually truly does customer service through social media, in this case through Twitter.
- Surprisingly, or maybe not, CEOs of online booking giants are either non-existent, or just have nominal presence in social media.
- Some of the CEOs have never tweeted, but since they have followers, they’re in here, though only by a technicality.
- The small LinkedIn crowd is mostly advice givers writing on LinkedIn Today, one way street there.
- Very few women in this group, including Niki Leondakis, CEO of Commune Hotels, and Harriet Green, CEO of Thomas Cook, symptomatic of the larger issue of very few top women execs in the travel industry.
Who did we miss to put on this list? Let us know below.
|Name||Twitter Followers||# of Tweets||LinkedIn Influencer Followers||Facebook Likes||Klout|
|Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group||@richardbranson||3329664||3757||2207726||442643||91|
|Donald Trump, CEO, Trump Organization||@realDonaldTrump||2287284||11229||n/a||n/a||85|
|Tony Fernandes, CEO, AirAsia||@tonyfernandes||340809||8608||n/a||100360||78|
|Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp||@jeremys||155892||946||n/a||n/a||61|
|Micky Arison, Chairman, Carnival Corp||@MickyArison||117333||5423||n/a||742||82|
|Dennis Crowley, CEO, Foursquare||@dens||67907||34773||n/a||n/a||85|
|Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber||@travisk||22762||4477||n/a||n/a||59|
|Brian Chesky, CEO, AirBnb||@bchesky||15569||1524||n/a||n/a||62|
|Azran Osman Rani, CEO, AirAsiaX||@azranosmanrani||14858||3896||n/a||n/a||69|
|Adam Stewart, CEO, Sandals Resorts||@AdamStewart||8687||1661||n/a||n/a||59|
|Niki Leondakis, CEO, Commune Hotels||@Niki_Leondakis||5574||4163||n/a||n/a||53|
|Dave Barger, CEO, JetBlue||@DavidJBarger||5123||1846||n/a||n/a||59|
|Rob Katz, CEO, Vail Resorts||@RickysRidge||4098||3927||n/a||n/a||46|
|Sam Shank, CEO, HotelTonight||@samshank||3309||1108||8392||n/a||67|
|Sandie Dawe, CEO, VisitBritain||@SandieDawe||2270||2452||n/a||n/a||49|
|Barney Harford, CEO, Orbitz||@barneyh||1803||148||n/a||n/a||43|
|Harriet Green, CEO, Thomas Cook||@HarrietGreen1||1800||187||n/a||n/a||49|
|Stephen J. Cloobeck, Chairman, Diamond Resorts International||@StephenCloobeck||1618||116||n/a||n/a||42|
|Scott Griffith, CEO, Zipcar||@SWGriffith||1446||1041||n/a||n/a||45|
|Stephen Kaufer, CEO, Tripadvisor||@kaufer||1388||99||n/a||n/a||44|
|Steve Singh, CEO, Concur||@SteveSSingh||1255||1219||n/a||n/a||47|
|Darren Huston, CEO, Booking.com||@Darren_Huston||1087||164||n/a||n/a||48|
|Brett Tollman, CEO, The Travel Corporation||@Bretttollman||1043||197||n/a||n/a||38|
|Larry Pimentel, CEO, Azmara Voyages||@larrypimentel||1024||634||n/a||n/a||55|
|Joel Petersen, Chairman, JetBlue||@JoelCPeterson||968||27||22325||n/a||49|
|Deep Kalra, CEO, MakeMyTrip||@deepkalra||717||0||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Adam Goldstein, CEO, Hipmunk||@adamjgoldstein||589||22||n/a||n/a||35|
|Raul Leal, CEO, Virgin Hotels||@VirginHotelier||507||303||n/a||n/a||41|
|Steve Hafner, CEO, Kayak||@shafner||492||0||n/a||n/a||0|
|Bill Walshe, CEO, Viceroy Group||@wwalshe||431||682||n/a||n/a||40|
|Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Expedia||@dkhos||383||10||n/a||n/a||29|
|Gary Mendell, Chairman, HEI Hotels||@gary_mendell||356||103||n/a||n/a||26|
|Brian Sharples, CEO, HomeAway||@briansharples||304||19||n/a||n/a||36|
|David Scowsill, CEO, WTTC||@DScowsill||91||59||n/a||n/a||0|
|Michael Gross, CEO, Morgans Hotel Group||@Mikeoffduty||62||5||n/a||n/a||14|
|Raymond Bickson, CEO, Taj Hotels Group||@rbickson||44||0||n/a||n/a||0|
|Tom Klein, President, Sabre Holdings||@tomkleintk||35||6||n/a||n/a||0|
|Jennifer Fox, President, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts||@JenniferGFox||3||68||n/a||n/a||0|
|Arne Sorenson, CEO, Marriott International||n/a||n/a||n/a||7888||n/a||n/a|