Travel Tech

With recent discussions about the negative side of social media and consumer complaints about Twitter abuse arising, marketers worldwide should have a think about how social media can backfire in tourism. Many tourism providers worldwide recognise the importance of social media for their organisation and are actively engaging on a range of social media channels. However, there are not  lot of stories about social media campaigns backfiring and tourism organizations being in trouble over things they have said or consumers’ sometimes very negative or offensive reactions towards things tourism providers are saying on social media channels. This article will look at some recent examples of social media campaigns backfiring and causing major troubles for the image and brand of the tourism organisation (The Guardian 2013).


A recent Twitter campaign by the Maldives Tourism Authority backfired and brought a darker side of the popular tourism destination to the surface. After being awarded as the most romantic destination in the world, @myvisitmaldives launched a Twitter campaign, using #SunnySideofLife” promoting the beauty of the destination. The tweet and hashtag got soon picked up by locals and used to raise awareness of the currently criticized human rights situation in the country. Residents of the Maldives tweeted about the police brutality and lack of democracy using #SunnySideofLife. Soon the hashtag was trending on Twitter not only because of positive tweets about the destination’s beauty but also because of tweets about the more negative side of the destination and ongoing political issues.


Social media campaigns need to be monitored closely by the tourism providers in order to ensure they run smoothly. Very often, social media campaigns backfire due to issues or environmental catastrophes going on somewhere in the world and tourism providers posting something that could be considered as offensive or insensible due to specific events such as a hurricane. Social media managers are therefore needed in any organisation to supervise posts very closely and react to current events and crises in a very timely manner, avoiding to upset any consumers following the organisation’s social media.

The same is applicable for negative comments posted on social media. Comments on Twitter for example require organisation’s very timely reaction. Consumers that are not happy with an experience, product or service need to be heard and a human response is crucial. No doubt that this can be quite difficult to manage, as it often requires almost 24/7 availability of somebody who can reply to such comments appropriately but examples have shown that companies that are not answering might actually end up with wider damage to their brand and overall image in the industry. Consumers reading other consumers’ negative comments want to be assured that a tourism company does react and try and resolve any issues. In the past, unanswered negative comments have been shared by consumers and left companies with thousands of comments stating the anger of consumers about this inappropriate way of reacting to complaints. The reach of comments on social networks can sometimes be extraordinary, so companies in tourism need to ensure they can tackle any issues that might occur when the power of social media is actually backfiring.

Crisis management for social media is very important and needs to be addressed in any organisation worldwide. Positive comments and consumers engaging with organisation’s content is great but negative comments will happen at some points and these need to be dealt with appropriately in order to sustain an organisation’s success on social media. Think about plans, guidelines and strategies now, as once negative comments are coming in, it might be too late to think about how to handle these to minimise damage to the company’s image and brand!

More from #DTTT

  • In May we present:
    What’s the appetite for Travel? with Beautiful Destinations – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 11
    DTTT · What's the appetite for travel? with Beautiful Destinations Recovery is now in sight for many destinations and much is being done to improve destinations to make them safe and ready for travellers when they arrive. Whilst the focus has been on the impact to destinations for much of the pandemic, this has now [...]
    #recovery #COVID-19 #beautiful-destinations #industry #tourism #travel
  • In May we present:
    Sustainability Opportunities for Destination Recovery with Dr Cara Augustenborg – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 10

    Sustainability is a key issue for the industry as it prepares for recovery. The fast-moving pandemic has been severely disrupting tourism and its impact will change the industry, academic engagement, and customer behaviour. The question many destinations are now asking is how can we be sustainable post COVID-19? We dedicate our tenth Tourism Impact call […]

    #ecotourism #recovery #COVID-19 #sustainability #industry #tourism
  • In May we present:
    Digitalisation and Sustainability solutions for recovery – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 9

    As part of our efforts to react and support the industry, the #DTTT began hosting our popular Tourism Impact calls 2 months ago. Now going into the ninth consecutive week, we reflect on what has been an interesting and insightful journey so far. In many lively discussions, we’ve shared perspectives about COVID-19 impact, destination strategy […]

    #recovery #COVID-19 #sustainability #digitalisation #industry #tourism
  • In May we present:
    The Nordics COVID-19 Response

    How have the Nordic countries responded to the crisis? At the #DTTT, we have seen different approaches throughout the Nordic region and wanted to find out more. In a highly insightful interview we brought together the Tourism boards representing the capital cities of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark to discuss their response to the COVID-19 […]

    #The Nordics #Response #COVID-19 #DMOs #marketing #strategy
  • In May we present:
    What travel will look like in the future with Doug Lansky – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 8

    In our highly anticipated eighth Tourism Impact call, we discussed the different approaches of destinations who are at various stages of the recovery process. Recovering destinations are now looking for innovative product solutions as restrictions begin to ease and businesses start to re-open. Whilst for other destinations their recovery plans are still at the research […]

    #Doug Lansky #COVID-19 #DMOs #industry #strategy #tourism
  • In April we present:
    Designing the Future of Tourism – Weekly Tourism Industry Impact Call : Week 6

    At the #DTTT, we are working closely with destinations to find out what’s going on behind the scenes. A different week brings different perspectives. This week on the #DTTT’s sixth Tourism Impact Call, we discussed the role of technology and innovation as a solution for the industry, as well as featuring innovative community initiatives, and […]

    #COVID-19 #industry #product #strategy #technology #tourism
Show more
© 2017 Digital Tourism Think Tank