Top 5 social media fails in travel of 2012

December has arrived and so has the time of endless lists of what was good and what was bad in 2012. Here’s our two cents in the countless end-of-year lists. Because schadenfreude is the best form of joy (and a good way to learn what not to do) we have gathered the five biggest social media failures in travel over the past year. Read, chuckle… and learn!

1. Visit Sweden?

In an effort to showcase Sweden to the world, its national tourism board thought it would be a good idea to hand over the @sweden Twitter account to a different citizen from week to week. However this worked out quite well in the beginning, it all went terribly wrong when Sonja Abrahamsson took over the account in June. She started asking a series of questions why some people didn’t like Jews and other controversial subjects, unsurprisingly caused a lot of negative publicity. You can read them in more detail on this Storify by Mashable.

2. #QantasLuxury hijack

In November Qantas Airlines launched a competition for its Twitter followers who were encouraged to share their ‘dream luxury inflight experience’ using the #QantasLuxury hashtag. Qantas did not realize their brand was still suffering from negative feelings with its followers regarding its grounding of the fleet earlier that month. Within minutes the hashtag was hijacked by angry customers sharing their gripes.

3. Thomas Cook vs. Thomas Cook

This story is as much a succes as a failure. Thomas Cook, a 26 year old guy from York, posted a bold request on the Facebook page of the travel agent he shares his name with. Thomas had been fooled for years by his friends asking him whether he was getting free holidays from them. So he decided just to ask them for a trip to Paris. [one_half][/one_half] [one_half_last][/one_half_last] Click the left image to see his request and how Thomas Cook failed to see an opportunity in Cook’s request. The right image shows how a clever marketing girl at took full advantage of this and offered Thomas Cook his desired trip to Paris. Of course, the story went viral on Twitter.

4. British Airways blushing with shame

British Airways by accident retweeted a racist message of Gordon Qiu: “Go back to your f…ing country you gook”, forcing them to make the embarrasing apology above. Mr Qiu later told his tweet exchange was one between friends and a reply to Asian BA customer Jae Ladd who earlier used Twitter to vent his frustration at the airline after his flight was cancelled.

5. Jetstar Facebook Hack

Australian budget airline Jetstar found itself victim of a Facebook page hack. A hoaxer started a fake profile and named it Jetstar Australia and used the official company logo. With this profile he started to rudely respond to customer complaints:

“Hi Frank, have you ever heard of giving up? We have a lot of complaints and unfortunately can not process them all within the allocated. Please stop acting like a spoiled brat and grow up. Thanks.”

This was the response to Frank, a Jetstar customer who asked why his complaint to the airline had not yet been dealt with yet. Jetstar reacted fairly calm to the situation on their own Facebook page and lots of their customers just found the situation hilarious.


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