We are extremely excited to announce the 20 winners of our inaugural Skifties social media travel awards.

There were 15 main categories that focused on awarding the best travel brand by platform, by sector, social media customer service and most socially engaged travel startup. To us Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are the key platforms that most brands are using as a sounding board for their audience. With that said, we also took Pinterest and Vine performance into account.

Each entry was carefully reviewed, and we made an extra effort to reach out to brands for more data in order to make a fair comparison. We took our position very seriously because we truly value data and editorial context.

Most of the categories were very competitive, and for some we went through five rounds before we narrowed it down to the final winner. To us, acquisition of users was not enough to make a brand stand out, it was about how their content engaged the community, and how present and genuine the brands were in their attempt to inspire and convert their audience.

The process was time consuming, but it was well-spent. We are extremely grateful to have this opportunity and all participants should be proud of what they have accomplished.

The Skifties awards are sponsored by our valued partner American Express.

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Skifties 2014 Winners

  • Best Branded Facebook Page: TripAdvisor
    TripAdvisor’s page leveraged review features and native apps to build engagement. The #WhyWeTravel campaign on Facebook celebrated its community by asking its Followers to share reasons why they travel and turned their answers into inspirational and shareable images.
  • Best Branded Instagram Account: Lonely Planet
    The guidebook brand published diversified and engaging content created by its staff — authors, photographers, and team members — and curated selections from user-generated content. They also turned photos and videos into a conduit for community building.
  • Best Branded Twitter Account: Hotels.com
    The online travel agency rewarded consumers for brand loyalty with weekly retweet contests, i.e., RT to win, or RT to unlock, and also held monthly Twitter chats with relevant topics to actively maintain brand presence and engagement.
  • Best Branded YouTube Account: Visit California
    The destination marketing organization created a deep cultural experience that positioned California as a state to “dream big” through inspirational video stories of its most prolific and active residents. It provided a viewing experience that was visually immersive and organized by lifestyle. In addition, it did a YouTube takeover for a day.
  • Best Social Media Customer Service: Gogo
    Facebook / Twitter
    The in-flight connectivity pioneer provided 24/7 social customer service and aimed to have a less than 10 minute response time to consumer inquiries. Its proactive approach helped them attain a social customer satisfaction average of 90% as measured by Lymbix.
  • Best Social Media Presence – Airlines: Turkish Airlines
    Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Instagram
    The airline giant published localized content on a global scale with round-the-clock and multi-lingual coverage. It tapped into its audience’s tendency and social behavior by encouraging selfies and introducing exotic places. It also looked to both international sports icons on and its country’s biggest Instagram influencer to connect with potential customers.
  • Best Social Media Presence – Airport: Changi Airport (Singapore)
    Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Instagram
    The airport everybody loves to love pushed social media awareness and adoption through “Social Media Month.” It reminded its audience with life-sized horticultural displays on-site and flash contests. Created and consistently participated in conversations with smart hashtags that ended up trending.
  • Best Social Media Presence – Booking Site & Tool: Airbnb
    Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Instagram
    The apartment- and home-sharing platform turned its social media platforms into a sounding board for its entire global community. Meaningful and high-volume conversations on Posts to Page and comments on Facebook; replies on Twitter; comments on Instagram; and views on YouTube video series on hosts.
  • Best Social Media Presence – DMO / Marketing Association / Tourism Board: Tourism Australia
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube
    Australia effectively scaled a long-term approach to acquisition and engagement activity, and drove activity not only to its own respective platforms but to the regions and local ambassadors that it served through #SeeAustralia.
  • Best Social Media Presence Ground Transportation: Avis Budget
    Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Instagram / Pinterest
    The rental car company built a strong Facebook presence through a three-part campaign and targeting mobile customers by leveraging nearby functionality. Answered 100% of customer tweets both positive and negative within one hour during the hours of 7am-10pm.
  • Best Social Media Presence – Hotel Brand: Kimpton Hotels
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube / Pinterest
    Monitored its content effort through sentiment and meaningful engagement for its campaign activations across all platforms, while also promoting individual properties and insider knowledge of destinations.
  • Best Social Media Presence – Individual Hotel Property & Resort: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai
    Facebook / Twitter/ Instagram / YouTube
    Targeted key social media influencers and high net-worth individuals with an integrated social media strategy to overthrow perceptions that its brand is unapproachable. Hosted an epic Instameet and ongoing campaign to engage locals via #MyDubai.
  • Best Social Media Presence – Tour & Travel Provider: Viator
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube / Pinterest
    The tours and activities company used cohesive branding and content across all social platforms to engage its audience through an insider’s perspective. Went the extra mile to utilize Vines and Maps feature on Pinterest to inspire and assist in trip planning.
  • Best Social Media Presence – Travel Media: Matador
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube
    Across all platforms, it has more than doubled its engagement with awe-inspiring imagery, highly relevant stories and influencers that deeply resonated with its community. It prominently promoted its brand call to arms hashtag #travelstoke.
  • Most Socially Engaged Travel Startup: Rocketmiles
    Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest
    Took advantage of the beginning of the year with an opportunity to earn miles. Built a system of rewarding audience for their engagement. Strategically collaborated with United Airlines on a contest that voted on branded Vines.

Editor’s Choice Awards

  • Best Integrated Campaign: Expedia’s #ThrowMeBack
    The online booking giant incorporated a ubiquitous social media behavior and repurposed the use of #tbt to broaden brand awareness through user-generated content and increase engagement with a contest and a TV commercial.
  • Most Engaged Community: Walt Disney World Resorts
    Sure Disney is big, but across the board — on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube — acquisitions and engagement have stayed on the Top 10 for social metrics.
  • Best Underdog Travel Brand: U.S. Department of the Interior
    Although, it is not ubiquitously known as a travel brand, its content appeals and engages nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to experience America’s natural resources and heritage. And to think it can do this amidst government bureaucracy.
  • Best Innovative Use of Social Media: Promote Iceland’s #IcelandSecret
    The tourism board made a country-wide effort for its locals to share intimate stories at obscure locations. The content was compiled online and offline into an interactive art exhibition at Keflavik Airport.
  • Best Travel Startup on Social Media: Hotel Urbano
    The three-year old Rio de Janeiro-based bookings and tools company highly leveraged the ad tools of social platforms to target fans with branded and engaging content.
Photo Credit: Skifties Award. Skift