Whether it’s an outage at Gatwick Airport, a cyber attack shutting down Bristol Airport or an adverse weather system in Florida, social media has changed the way businesses respond in times of crisis.
There are more than 2.4 billion smartphones in use globally and within minutes, an incident in an airport or on an aircraft can be tweeted, uploaded to Instagram or posted on Facebook before the corporate communications teams or airline operations are even aware of a situation. This poses an increasing problem for airlines who need to be on the front foot and communicate with their leadership team, operations, staff and customers in times of crisis.
Social media is the new wire
“Social media is the new wire”, stated Ross Feinstein, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications at American Airlines, commenting at the Aviation Festival during a panel session on the importance of customer experience, AI, chatbots and responding in times of crisis.
The panel highlighted how the demands on communication in aviation have evolved, with social media playing a key role in developing and defining an airline’s crisis response plan.
In fact, the panel revealed that social media teams are now sitting directly within the customer support and operations teams at an airline’s headquarters. Second to the customer support and operations teams, social media and real-time insights are the highest priority for airlines when managing a crisis.
Preparing for the unknown
With passenger safety and customer experience at stake, airlines are under increasing pressure to respond quickly to media enquiries, update the business and, crucially, to engage their customers at the centre of the situation. However, while businesses in the aviation sector will have crisis plans in place, in an airport environment, they must be prepared for issues that are outside of their control.
For American Airlines - and organisations across the aviation industry - having a real time information discovery platform such as Dataminr puts them at the front line of real-time information awareness. Crucially, Dataminr gives their public relations or crisis communications, as well as airport and safety organisations, the vital minutes or hours needed to prepare, assess and respond.
Real-time insight - protecting a brand in a time of crisis
The general consensus at this year’s Aviation Festival is that social media and real-time information awareness are at the centre of the aviation sector in every aspect of their operations - going far beyond helping brands as they build relationships with their customer base.
We have seen from American Airlines that real-time insights data and alerts from Dataminr are helping airlines and airports stay informed of events breaking around the world, giving them the time to act with confidence in times of crisis.