Eurail.com offers the Best Social Media Customer Service in European Rail Travel

Next time you’re planning a trip to Europe, why not plan ahead with Eurail.com, a company based in the Netherlands, this rail travel guide website has the best public relations strategies and even won the Best Social Media Customer Service Mashable.com award in 2011.Eurail.com has been the best way for overseas visitors to explore Europe for over 50 years; it’s easy, and they have the best social media team on the job.  They are a 100 per cent e-Commerce company, with a continuously growing business by expanding and providing their quality service to customers through not only their own website, but also by using the best of what social media can provide.

Eurail.com serves customers from over 175 different countries with renowned quality service by reaching out to a wider audience with links and pages to bigger social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter with a team of four agents handling and updating their customer relations on a daily basis.  There are only two agents however, who personally answer to each customer’s inquiries, concerns and they are entirely responsible to maintain and update the entire Eurail.com website  Social media is the best way to reach a travelling audience who are always on the lookout for better deals for their travel plans and eurail.com is a company that runs solely off the Internet, utilizing its best feature, a global market.

Eurail.com’s Facebook page has a continuing success rate, since being active in 2008, the fan count in 2011 was 11,000 with a growing average of 500 a week, currently standing at 121,000 likes.  Paulien Pierik, Eurail.com’s managing director, says that Facebook, “is a great platform to bring together travelers from all over the globe.  It works even faster, more effective and much more personal than e-mail support.  Our Eurail Passes offer so many travel options that assistance in planning is often welcomed. Communities like Facebook and Twitter make sure travel knowledge and experiences can be shared.”  Eurail.com’s Twitter page, which has over 7,000 tweets and 4,500 followers, offers assistance and information to its customers while monitoring attitudes towards the products they offer.  The YouTube page, with only 393 subscribes, isn’t used as much for communicating to customers as much as it is mostly used for supporting Eurail.com’s content and excellent customer service.

Rick Steves’ Europe is a successful American touring company in Washington State, U.S. and they use Eurail Passes for their American tourists during international travel.  Rick Steves’ website has a Eurail page which shows what they have to offer in terms of fares, destinations, how it works and even special promotions are displayed on the same page with a direct link to buy Eurail Passes on Eurail.com.  Rick Steves’ Europe is a popular touring company that is very active on a social media level. Their Facebook page has 160,000 likes, Rick Steves’ personal YouTube channel, which heavily promotes the touring company, has 36,300 subscribers and his Twitter page has 36,300 followers, continuously promoting what eurail.com has to offer to the American audience. rs-europe

Nomadic Matt is a travel blogger, his website not only looks for the best deals for his travels, he also wrote a blog about Eurail Passes and how much money he saved.   While he explains the Eurail Pass may not be right for everyone, it is generally a good fit if you’re young and looking for a reasonably priced trip.  Two years ago, he claims to have saved over $175, when his trip should’ve cost him about $975, he paid only $800 through Eurail.com.  “A Eurail pass is great value if you use ALL your segments and you are travelling long distances on high speed or overnight trains,” says Nomadic Matt.

Lonelyplanet.com is a forum website, where users can start discussions about absolutely anything and any other member can reply sharing their opinions and insight into whatever topic is being discussed.   A Thorn Tree Forum was started by user SuzannaMekenkamp asking about the Eurail Global Pass, she asked if it was worth buying for a 30-day trip in five countries.  While some other users advised against such a rushed trip, SuzannaMekenkamp assured that it was the trip she wanted and other users gave great advice on planning with a Eurail Pass and turns out it was the choice she decided to go with.  Advice included travel with domestic trains and first versus second class passes, while others shared links to other travel websites, eurail.com had the better deals for a fast-paced trip like the one SuzannaMekenkamp wanted.  Word to mouth is the best form of marketing strategies and as we can see it was very well worth the discussion, because  SuzannaMekenkamp received great advice from plenty of points of view and eurail.com still came out on top.

“We were surprised how easy it was to get from one country to the next…” Brett Howard & Tanya Hill, from Brisbane, Australia travelled with the Eurail Global Passes.  When you’re planning a railway trip to Europe, Eurail.com is the website to use, with personable staff on the job all the time and the best customer service guaranteed courtesy of the best social media mediums.   The Internet is a critical world, and if Eurail.com can operate throughout and be completely noticed, then wouldn’t you think they be worth trying out?

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Emilie Brenning

SeaWorld’s Murderous Cover-up

SeaWorld, located in Florida, U.S.A., is home to a 33-year-old killer whale named Tilikum. In 1991, he was responsible for the drowning of Keltie Byrne, a 20-year-old whale trainer employed at SeaWorld. Colin Baird, a fellow trainer, stated “it was an accident” and “it was not a malicious attack.”

Merely eight years later, Daniel Dukes, a homeless man living in the area, was found dead in the whale’s tank. SeaWorld’s official report states Dukes drowned, though many questions surrounding the situation remain unanswered.

In 2010, another death occurred. Dawn Brancheau, a professional whale trainer employed at SeaWorld, drowned; official reports state her hair was caught in the whale’s teeth. However, up to 50 witnesses claim they saw the 12,000 lbs whale bite her shoulder and drag her under the water. Chuck Thompson, the curator of zoological operations, stated Tilikum is “a good animal.”

After three murders, SeaWorld re-evaluated their situation and added safety changes to training procedures as well as protocols for the staff and the audience. Since Dawn’s death in February 2010, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommended increased safety protocols, though SeaWorld refused to make the changes publically known as the documents contained trade-secrets and are propriety business records.  SeaWorld was court-ordered in September 2010 to make their protocol changes public by October 2010, though they’ve still failed to do so.

In terms of public relations, SeaWorld did not handle these situations gracefully. They should have acknowledged the incidents, apologized, and made any changes they initiated public knowledge. A crucial part to good public relations is recognizing when mistakes have been made and letting the public know your plans on reversing the errors. However, SeaWorld did the opposite by covering up the murders, creating elaborate alternative scenarios, blaming the victims and releasing no information.

By doing so, SeaWorld only hurt their reputation. Blackfish, a documentary released in January 2013, exposes the truths behind the Tilikum scandal. The film ranked highest on CNN’s list, and #BlackfishonCNN was a popular trend on Twitter during its opening weekend. Since the release of the documentary, SeaWorld’s revenue has noticeable decreased. They have raised their prices, and a year-to-date report states:

Attendance for the first nine months of 2013 declined by 4.7% compared to the same period in 2012 from 19.9 million to 18.9 million guests.  Attendance was impacted by new pricing and yield management strategies implemented at the beginning of 2013 that increased revenue but reduced low yielding and free attendance.

Colleen Gorman, a recent spectator of a Tilikum show, stated “I didn’t see any new protective measures […] he’s a time bomb […] he’s been linked to three deaths already, I’m afraid that if anybody comes close to him he’ll do it again.”

One theory as to why SeaWorld is keeping Tilikum is due to his high source of revenue. He has sired over 54 per cent of the whales living at SeaWorld, and will continue to do so.   Fred Jacobs, head of communications for SeaWorld, states “Tilikum is a very even-tempered animal,” despite the three murders. Whether his aggressive nature is biological or environmental is unknown, though SeaWorld projects an image of being more concerned with the revenue he brings rather than the safety of their staff and tourists who come from all over the world to see the large whale.FreeTillyYet another example of poor public relations strategies coming from the Tilikum scandal on behalf of Sea World is petitions to free the 12,000 lbs whale.  The website freetillynow.org uses empathy, intensity, and rational thinking to connect with their audience by sympathizing for the 33-year-old whale who has been confined to a pool since the age of two.  The website also uses social media websites to communicate with the public, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google Plus and Pinterest.