A big benefit of Twitter is the chance to engage with people who share your interests and meet potential customers and industry influencers. Following Twitter hashtags is an easy and effective way to find these people on Twitter. Plus, since many hashtags function as chat sessions, it provides a perfect setting to engage in a conversation.
For travel public relations pros, there are a few travel hashtags on Twitter that I recommend checking out, either for your personal Twitter account or for a hospitality client account. These hasthags provide a great opportunity to meet travel media/bloggers, hotel and hospitality operators and travel enthusiasts, while giving you a great source of information on travel trends and news.
Below is a brief list of some of my favorites travel hashtags on Twitter:
• #travel - This is a generic hashtag for all things travel. It is not very focused or organized, but is a good way to get a general sense of what is happening in travel in real-time.
• #TMOM – This is a hashtag for the very active Travel Mom Blogger Network. They have regular Twitter parties on Mondays at 9 PM EST where they discuss a specific travel topic using the #TMOM hashtag.
• #TNI -TNI stands for Traveler’s Night In. This hashtag was started by Zip Set Go and occurs every Thursday from 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM EST. Every week they discuss a different travel theme. They also give away cool prizes and special #TNI discounts for participants.
• #TravelTuesday (also sometimes used as #TT) – Every Tuesday is Travel Tuesday, and anyone who shares travel related info uses the hashtag on this day. It is a perfect opportunity to connect with other travel aficionados and give a shout out to some of your travel favorites (similar to #FollowFriday, but specifically for the travel world).
• #satw and #tbex and other specific trade shows and organization hashtags - Whenever there is a trade show or conference, there is generally an accompanying hashtag to help people at the conference connect and let the people at home follow along. SATW is the Society of American Travel Writers. Some members use the hashtag throughout the year, however the best time to follow the hashtag is during its yearly convention, which generally falls in October. TBEX is the Travel Blog Exchange and it also hosts an annual event for new media travel writers. TBEX 2011 will be June 11 -12, 2011 in Vancouver and the hashtag is sure to be active during these two days. TBEX also hosts regular meet ups around the country year, so this is a hashtag that can be followed year round.
Once you start using these hashtags, you will find people with similar interests to engage with in a conversation and find interesting travel information. Even better, you can also use these hashtags to help grow your Twitter followers. A win-win, if you ask me.