From hilarious YouTube videos (WestJet surprised travelers with a fleet of airport elves) to jaw-dropping Instagram photos (see everything from kangaroos to the aurora australis on Tourism Australia’s feed), travel companies are putting major effort into their social media campaigns. In celebration, Travel + Leisure has announced the winners of our second annual SMITTY Awards, recognizing the innovative ways airlines, hotels, cruise lines, bloggers, and more are interacting with their online audience.
We received hundreds of entries from around the world for our Social Media in Travel + Tourism Awards, with 28 winners and 10 runners-up emerging from our 27 categories. These winning companies—chosen by our eight expert judges—boast the most fun, informative, and engaging social media strategies, paying close attention to their followers wants (stunning Pinterest boards from VisitSweden) and needs (live tweets from Visit Bucks County during Hurricane Sandy). This year, we also honored independent travel journalists and bloggers, whose first-person voices, both local and abroad, often inspire the greatest wanderlust.
While a strong following and consistent tone are must-haves on any social network, our 2013 SMITTY winners go above and beyond to connect with and provide for their followers, fans, and subscribers. Click through to our slideshow to see all 39 honorees—and be sure to “like,” “follow,” or “favorite” them all.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.