Travel + Leisure Announces SMITTYS Social Media Award Winners
By Kate Rice
June 06, 2012 10:45 PM
Travel + Leisure has announced the winners of its first Social Media in Travel + Tourism Awards (SMITTYS). JetBlue Airways won for Best Use of a Social Media Platform by a U.S. Airline for its Facebook app, Go Places, giving frequent-flier points and discounts to users. Pennsylvania’s Visit Bucks County came out on top as the U.S. tourism board with the Best Single Social Media Promotion for its social media scavenger hunt on Foursquare. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts won for Best Global Hotel/Resort Chain for Social Media Promotion of Travel Deals by offering special rates at 11 properties exclusively on Facebook and Twitter.
Norwegian Cruise Line was awarded the SMITTY for Best Use of a Social Media Platform by a Cruise Line. Norwegian was selected for using Facebook during the launch of the company’s “Cruise Like a Norwegian” brand campaign in October, which increased Norwegian’s Facebook fan following by 159 percent during the campaign period.
Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line was honored with two additional awards: “Favorite Cruise Line” in Budget Travel Magazine’s third annual Reader’s Choice Awards and the 2012 South Florida Good to Great Award in the category of 1,000-plus employees by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Paul Gauguin Cruises was awarded the SMITTY for Best Single Social Media Promotion for its “Meet Me in Tahiti” campaign that allowed users to plan an imaginary trip, inviting Facebook friends, adding activities, and sending e-postcards.
"Pinterest, Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Instagram and a myriad of other social media sites have become powerful tools for sharing and recording our travels," said Nancy Novogrod, editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure. “The winners of the first-ever SMITTYS are companies that are using social media creatively to enhance the travel experience for their customers and clients.”
The 28 winners were selected by a panel of social media and travel industry experts, including Jonathan Crowley, director of business development, Foursquare, and Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social. The jury sifted through hundreds of submissions across three categories: Best Use of a Social Media Platform, Best Single Social Media Promotion, and Best Social Media Promotion of Travel Deals.
The SMITTYS will also be featured in the Travel + Leisure July 2012 Strategies section “How Social Media Will Change the Way You Travel,” available on newsstands June 22, and in the July digital editions.