Twitter is the fastest growing search engine in the world and many people are using it to get a jumpstart on news, deals and trends - I'm one of them. If you want to find out about what's happening in the travel industry before everyone else, then follow these 10 travel Twitterers. Some of them provide links to travel news, deals and tips while others share their experiences and live pictures of their travels around the globe.
Almost all the airlines now have a Twitter account but JetBlue was not only one of the first but they've been doing it right and their hard work has paid off as they have the largest following of over 1.5 million. JetBlue has two Twitter accounts - one is @JetBlue for the airline and @JetBlueCheeps is for their Twitter-only deals. In almost every interview I give about online deals, I seem to mention JetBlueCheeps because every Tuesday, they offer fantastic and exciting offers. The deals only last a few hours and have limited availability so you have to act fast. Recent deals included $10 seats between Syracuse (SYR) and New York (JFK).
I might be Airfare Watchdog's biggest fan. I jumped on their bandwagon back when founder George Hobica started the company years ago. George is still running the company and its Twitter account, which alerts followers of unpublished airfare deals and helpful consumer travel tips.
I logged on to TweetStats.com to learn all about my Twitter behavior and their graphs showed that the one person I retweeted the most frequently was @Heather_Poole. I wasn't surprised because Heather is fascinating to follow. She's a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier and is always traveling somewhere. She also speaks the truth about what's on her mind and what she witnesses in her airplanes. If you're interested to see what it's like to be a flight attendant and juggle a family at the same time, then follow @Heather_Poole.
If you like to keep on top of what's going on in the travel industry, a great person to follow is Henry H. Harteveldt. He's vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research and he covers airline, hotel and travel industry marketing. His research helps travel industry professionals worldwide understand and anticipate how technology will affect the way they market, sell and distribute their products and services. He's also a regular commentator in broadcast and print media.
Wendy Perrin is one of the country's premier travel authorities since she's been Conde Nast Traveler magazine's advice columnist and consumer news editor for years. Wendy is in high demand these days since she's intertwining print with social media. Her tweets are often links to her monthly column or daily blog posts, which are all great to read because more often than not, they are full of important travel information. She's more than worthy of a follow.
Not many travelers realize that the U.S. Government Travel State Department has a Twitter account. They don't tweet often but when they do it's usually to share important travel alerts and warnings. One of their latest was a travel alert for Russia due to fires and their impact on safety, air quality and transportation. Following @TravelGov might seem boring but it's wise.
USA Today's travel Twitter account is run by Ben Abramson who does a great job of keeping on top all the latest travel news and deals. However, it is a little annoying that the only links he posts are of USAToday's articles. And he seldom retweets and when he does it's of one of the paper's staff members who are touting their consumer features about flights, hotels, cruises and destinations. Obviously it must be company policy because no one would be that shortsighted but thankfully they cover almost everything happening in travel.
A chief researcher with National Geographic Traveler, you would think that all she would be tweeting about are her company's articles but that's not the case. Marilyn tweets a ton of great travel tips and provides lots of pertinent information and insight. If you want to be in the travel know, follow @Marilyn_Res.
I learned about these guys after they were featured on The Today Show for their plane spotting group but these aviation geeks do so much more. They are on top of aviation news, history and flight delays.
That leaves us with just one more Twitterer to feature and it's going to go to ... moi. Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to be a self-promoting, pompous a*s but I think I do a pretty good job on Twitter. I not only retweet good deals and travel news but I share my travels from start to finish with a ton of Twitpics.
So there you have it. I know there are many more great travel Twitterers out there but these are the ones I follow the most and find the most informative and beneficial. I'll share more in the coming weeks; I will post the top 10 airlines, hotels and travel writers to follow on Twitter. For now, please let me know who you would have liked or not liked to have seen in this list.