Thanks to last week’s controversial travel ban, many travel industry firms are unexpectedly finding themselves at the center of the debate. That’s creating a variety of unintended marketing consequences, both positive and negative.

Whether we’re talking about the current social media backlash facing Uber, or the dilemma facing hotels that have not yet spoken out, or the uncertainty facing airlines as they figure out how to adapt, nearly every sector of the industry is left with a tricky choice. Do they publicly come out against the actions in their advertising? Or do they stay silent and ignore it, pretending it’s not happening?

Whatever action they choose to take, the pressure is going to continue to rise from both critics and supporters, a situation that may force travel companies to get involved whether they like it or not.

How Travel Brands Are Responding to Trump
Royal Jordanian Airlines thought it was being funny last November when it posted to social media joking about Donald Trump’s plans to bar travelers from certain majority-Muslim nations. The joke turned all too real last week as the airline was forced to deal with the logistical challenges of enforcing the ban. The airline is just one of a number of travel industry brands like Uber, online travel agencies and hotels figuring out how to adapt to these new uncertain times. Read more

Uber Struggles to Respond to Rising Customer Backlash
Ride-sharing company Uber found itself at the center of the same travel ban controversy last week, thanks to an ill-timed Tweet that led many customers to delete their accounts in protest. The company is now in damage control mode as it figures out how to win back customers’ trust. Read more

In Midst of “Online Outrage,” Instagram Stays Politics-Free. Why?
Even as social media users take to Facebook and Twitter to argue about the latest outrageous political news, image-sharing network Instagram has managed to remain a mostly politics-free zone of beautiful travel photography and food snaps. This absence of political debate has some users (and brands) thinking more about why Instagram remains a much-needed zone of positivity during dark times. Read more

Finnair Trials China’s Alipay for In-Flight Purchases
Even though it’s largely unknown to many Western travelers, Chinese mobile payment company Alipay is massively popular with the country’s consumers. That’s attracted the attention of Finnair, who is testing a new service to enable Chinese travelers to make in-flight purchases using the service. Read more

How HotelTonight Uses Geo-Targeting to Promote Discounts
Location is a key factor in how consumers pick hotels. It’s no surprise then that travel marketers are doing more to incorporate geo-targeting into their marketing efforts to reach potential guests. HotelTonight is the latest firm to experiment with this approach, launching a new geo-targeted marketing campaign to appeal to fans of English soccer club Chelsea FC. Read more

 

Photo Credit: Protestors outside New York's JFK Airport last weekend. More travel companies are facing dilemmas about how, and if, they should publicly respond to the Trump Administration's travel ban. Luminary Traveler / Flickr