[REPORT] A Disconnect Between Senior and Middle Level Executives Regarding Airline Social Media

There is a disconnect between the Senior and the Middle level executives, especially regarding the challenges and the potential of airline social media. Middle managers need to be empowered.

For social media to realise its true potential, the senior management must lead the way. However our survey study conducted with 166 executives from over 78 airlines seems to show that the senior management is out of touch with the ever-changing social media landscape and its realities.


Lack of senior management’s support proves to be a key challenge

The lack of support for social media teams from an airline’s leadership is reflected in the fact that the top challenges that most airlines face would go away with an increased backing of the senior management.

Similar to last year, insufficient allocation of resources continues to be the top challenge, with consensus from 74% of all executives as compared to 59% last year.

However, the most prevalent demand this year is for more training. Almost 50% more executives this year believe that lack of training is one of the foremost challenges facing them.

Airline executives believe they need more training to deal with the rapidly evolving social media space, something they haven’t received senior management’s support for.


Source: Airline Social Media Outlook 2016


Empowering the middle level management

One of the key insights from the Outlook Survey 2015-16 is the need to empower the middle level management. This is because the middle level management is close to the ground realities while being distant enough to maintain a strategic outlook. This is best represented by the fact that 20% more middle level management, compared to top level management, recognise data and its analysis as a top priority. In a data driven future of social media (see Chart 6 below), deriving value out of data is critical.


Source: Airline Social Media Outlook 2016

In addition to this, the middle level management is in sync with the needs of the connected traveler. The middle and junior level management have listed customer service as their top priority in 2015- 2016, unlike the senior management who have listed brand awareness as their top preference.

Note: The above article is taken from a section in the Airline Social Media Outlook 2016 report. Further findings from the survey about challenges faced by executives concerning airline social media are available in the report. To download, click here.

Exclusive Webinar for Airline Managers on Jan 20 & Feb 3, 2016

Coming up in January and February 2015, SimpliFlying will be conducting a series of webinars where we share key findings from Airline Social Media Outlook 2016 and other research, covering the topics:

  • Business goals and optimal team structures for airline social media
  • Key differences among airlines in different regions
  • How to benchmark and map social media performance to airline business goals (e.g. route development)

Webinar Sessions:

  • Jan 20, 2016 – 10am (GMT)
  • Feb 3, 2016 – 2am (GMT)/ 10am (SGT)
  • Feb 3, 2016 – 7pm (GMT)/ 2pm (EST)

To register your interest, please click on the sign-up button below or email Guen at guen@simpliflying.com. Kindly note this webinar is only for executives currently working at airline organisations.

webinar signup

Download Full Report: Airline Social Media Outlook 2016

This article is taken from a section in the Airline Social Media Outlook 2016 report. To download the report, click here.


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Li Guen

Li Guen

Former Head of Communications and Marketing at SimpliFlying
Li Guen was the Marketing Communication Lead and Project Manager at SimpliFlying from May 2012 to May 2017. Prior to this, Li Guen was at Weber Shandwick working with clients including Rolls-Royce, Changi Airport Group and P&G. In her free time, Li Guen likes trekking mountains in Asia.
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