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Fewer than half of the CEOs of influential travel brands are present or active on Twitter.
While the likes of Virgin’s Richard Branson and the Trump Organization’s Donald Trump wax poetic about their personal agenda, love, or politics, airlines such as American Airlines, Delta, and KLM boast about its social customer service times on Twitter but their CEOs don’t feel it necessary to dive in.
Mark Hoplamazian, the CEO of Hyatt, has roughly 2,500 followers but he’s ahead of many of his peers. Hilton Worldwide’s Christopher J. Nassetta, Accor’s Sebastan Bazin, Loews Corp.’s James S. Tisch, and IHG’s Richard Solomons don’t have Twitter accounts. Hoplamazian took to Twitter last week to express his solidarity with the landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
— Mark Hoplamazian (@MarkHoplamazian) June 28, 2015
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes continues to show his compassion and support for the victims and families of AirAsia 8501 in addition to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and 370. Fernandes was active on Twitter, communicating updates in the aftermath of the crash late last year of AirAsia 8501, and quickly became the modern model of a leader in crisis. He tweets about his personal life, including his daughters’ recent graduation, his Queens Park Rangers football team fandom, concern about Malaysia’s government, and a baby boy on board an AirAsia flight. His tweets are down to earth and personable.
— Johan F. Khairuddin (@jfkjohan) June 23, 2015
Micky Arison, Carnival Corp. chairman and managing general partner of the Miami Heat, has a predictable account. The tweets will either be about a Carnival ship or the basketball team.
If customers are interested in what is on the mind of Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman his account provides a glimpse in his news obsession and compassion for peers like the late Dave Goldberg.
Can't believe my friend @davegoldberg's is gone. Such a caring and kind human being, missing him dearly.
— Jeremy Stoppelman (@jeremys) May 2, 2015
Tourism Australia is the most proactive brand on social media in the tourism board according to SkiftIQ. Its CEO, John O’Sullivan said, “I’ve worked hard [to build my presence on Twitter].” He practices what his team does so well and tweets live photos of industry engagements he attends.
We have tracked the most active travel brands on Twitter over the past three years, and expanding our list from 40 to 75, and then looked at their CEOs to find out how active they are. CEOs from booking sites had the most followed and most active followers on Twitter. Hotels outnumbered airlines, while tour and travel providers outpaced tourism board leaders.
The brands we added to track were Kimpton Hotels, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Loews Hotels, Accor, British Airways, Quantas, Four Seasons, Hilton Hotels, Marriott International, IHG, Tourism Australia, Visit Philly, Thomson Holidays, Skyscanner, Cheapoair, Travelocity, Norwegian Cruise Line, Amtrak, Eurostar, Viator, Heathrow International Airport, Abercrombie & Kent, Momondo, Hyatt, Thomas Cook Group, Tourism and Events Queensland, STA Travel, Travelzoo and Contiki.
Among these brands, Geoffrey Kent of Abercrombie and Kent, Hugo Burge of Momondo, Peter Fankhauser of Thomas Cook Group, Leanne Coddington of Tourism and Events Queensland, John Constable of STA Travel, Christopher Loughlin of Travelzoo, and Casper Urhammer of Contiki have a presence on Twitter.
Since we compiled this list last time, there were shifts in management: Sally Balcombe replaced Sandie Dawe of VisitBritain; Robin Hayes replaced Dave Barger at JetBlue; and Pieter J. Th. Elbers replaced Camiel Eurlings of KLM. Of these three, none of the new CEOs have a presence on Twitter.
Nine of the CEOs grew their accounts by at least 50 percent from 2014 to 2015. Dara Khosrowshahi of Expedia increased his followers by 1,257 percent. Adam Stewart of Sandals Resorts, Logan Green of Lyft, and Raul Leal of Virgin Hotels saw their accounts more than double.
Skift’s Top Travel Industry CEOs on Twitter (2015):
|CEO||COMPANY||TWITTER HANDLES||TWITTER FOLLOWERS 2015||TWITTER FOLLOWERS 2014||GROWTH|
|Richard Branson (Founder)||Virgin Group||@richardbranson||5,976,736||4,344,750||38%|
|Donald Trump||Trump Organization||@realDonaldTrump||3,062,256||2,662,373||15%|
|Micky Arison (Chairman)||Carnival Corp||@MickyArison||220,492||170,204||30%|
|Adam Stewart||Sandals Resorts||@AdamStewart||156,821||57,601||172%|
|Bruce Poon Tip (Founder)||G Adventures||@brucepoontip||29,010||28,674||1%|
|Will Seccombe||Visit Florida||@TroutLine||9,154||7,867||16%|
|Gary Knell||National Geographic Society||@garyknell||7,834||6,886||14%|
|Niki Leondakis||Commune Hotels||@Niki_Leondakis||7,261||6,524||11%|
|Larry Pimentel||Azmara Voyages||@larrypimentel||6,319||4,295||47%|
|John O’Sullivan||Tourism Australia||@jnlosullivan||6,267||n.a.||n.a.|
|Harriet Green||Thomas Cook||@HarrietGreen1||5,935||4,727||26%|
|Rob Katz||Vail Resorts||@RickysRidge||5,109||4,718||8%|
|Joel Petersen (Chairman)||JetBlue||@JoelCPeterson||3,661||2,835||29%|
|Geoffrey Kent||Abercrombie & Kent||@geoffery_kent||2,573||n.a.||n.a.|
|Darren Huston||Priceline Group & Booking.com||@Darren_Huston||2,206||1,559||42%|
|Raul Leal||Virgin Hotels||@VirginHotelier||1,805||881||105%|
Revision 7/1/15: Included John O’Sullivan, CEO of Tourism Australia