John Mayer tweeted his adverse experience onboard a Qantas A380 flight yesterday and demonstrated the real time damage a single tweet from Twitter can cause an airline. Mayer was on board a LAX bound A380 service ex Sydney when fuel issues forced a return to Sydney… and was then diverted into Melbourne.
Mayer’s initial tweet showed a snapshot from the aircraft’s In-flight Entertainment Sydney showing the diversion, and then he later tweeted his disdain with the hotel room Qantas provided for him (and 329 other passengers).
“This hotel smells like the carbon paper in a coroner’s report. (I’m tired, go with it.)” Mayer said.
Qantas wasn’t specifically mentioned but the A380 was – so it’s really uncertain who he was having a go at – but it doesn’t really matter (Is it any wonder the call the A380 the A180?). Mayer has over 3 million Twitter followers that read his dissatisfaction with both the flight and the overnight accommodation, all that was later followed up by adverse attention from both traditional media and bloggers.
Regardless of whether organisations believe that celebrities deserve any kind of special treatment or not, their potential reach and influence really has to be considered when dealing with them since the immediacy of social media has created a marketing opportunity (or a PR nightmare) each time they reach for their iPhone. If Mayer was treated differently, perhaps his tweet would have commended Qantas on their handling of the diversion rather than resorting to whinging about the smell of the hotel room – potentially turning the negative situation into positive online exposure.
Qantas (Australia) doesn’t have an established Twitter presence and are yet to fully embrace the global reach and marketing opportunities that Twitter (and other social services) has on offer. Some of the more established airlines that use Twitter as more of a people tool may have engaged in a very public dialogue with the singer and potentially turned the negative publicity into more of a customer service win. Hopefully this incident will encourage Qantas into establishing more of an online social presence.
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