Habitual tweeters often use the network to prepare for their travels, whether to find good deals, choose which sights to see and local activities, get directions or complain to local travel professionals, according to the findings of Allianz Global Assistance's first #HELPME observatory.
People use Twitter most frequently to organize their trips and get tourist advice. Thirty-eight percent of the network's subscribers trust their own "friends" to help them pick destinations, sights worth seeing or activities to enjoy on location. Twenty-six percent use Twitter to arrange travel logistics, i.e., choosing a hotel, transportation etc.
Very few of them tweet questions about the minor hassles of traveling, such as problems with visas, money, baggage or getting in touch with the embassy. Problems getting reimbursed for plane tickets in particular, and to a lesser extent for medical expenses, account for 7 percent of tweeted requests.
Nearly half of targeted tweets get answered
On the whole, a third of travel-related queries are tweeted directly to travel professionals, most of them concerning requests for advice or help solving a problem. One third of these tweets receive at least one answer, although the observatory couldn't quite figure out whether the responses are satisfactory or not. In any case, the best way to obtain an answer is to "point your question directly to an identified contact" (46% response rate).
It should be noted that those who use Twitter to request help before, during or after a trip are generally frequent tweeters with nearly a thousand followers on average (the "basic" Tweeter has about 50 "friends"). Only 20 percent of them use hashtags to "send a general tweet that can be identified by one or more key words (#HELPME; #PARIS or even #LOST)."
This social networking observatory was carried out by The Metrics Factory for Allianz Global Assistance, based on a list of 25,000 tweets in English concerning travel situations and requests in March 2013.