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Special Project

Special Project
From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

Etihad Airways | Taking Online Engagement to New Heights

Entered in Online Community


We are a global airline that connect travelers from all parts of the world. Our followers required support in their own native languages especially during their flying experience and managing their booking.

Community engagement is especially challenging when attempting to speak to a global audience while remaining locally relevant. The UAE and Arabian Gulf markets in particular consume social media in a unique way. They have, for example, a penchant for consuming news on traditionally visual channels like Instagram. Influencers are generally also followed on channels that allow more individual privacy and anonymity, such as Snapchat.

The further challenge is, of course, speaking to an Arabic language led audience via dual-language content or stories that have global appeal that are told visually rather than verbally.

So much more is also expected of the online team – solutions to real world problems in real time. Equipped with the right tools to combat issues head on, we will be able to resolve guest queries directly on social platforms.

Strategy and Execution

We monitor and respond to 10 primary channels to monitor (including the Chinese weibo and wechat). But our day-to-day community management goes beyond responding to comments online:

We serve as a first step towards building a community

We are a customer-centric team

We provide oriented solutions in a timely manner

We aim to build up meaningful relationships with our audience

We approach our messaging with the following rules of thumb:

Amplifying positive messages

Transforming negative messages to positive ones

Communicating a very personalized and empowering message to each guest

Furthermore, we use active listening to identify potential conversations with people talking about Etihad and engage them on public forums to amplify brand reputation.

Our team has a 2-week training before going live on our social media channels. They also go through both empathy and tone of voice training, as groups and indidually as well, with refreshers every 12 months.

Expanding our team and providing language courses annually means the team and equipped to provide support in English, Arabic, German, Italian and Mandarin languages. In addition to maintaining our multilingual solid response rate and SLA records, we ran a number of social media driven marketing initiatives and social-first content.

Our presence allows guests to communicate in the languages they are most comfortable with and on the channels of their preference. With a multilingual, diverse team of 16 online community specialists, of 10 different nationalities and communicating fluently in 5 languages, we are able to provide 24/7 support on social media and beyond.

We are also here to assist our guests in times of crisis. The team goes above and beyond the call of duty by helping with anything from with booking tickets, to call centre and airport ground services support. All while maintaining a strict SLA of 15 minutes.


2018 has been a challenging year for Etihad in general and to the Online Community team in particular; who rallied though the launch of our new brand platform 'Choose Well' to the launch of the WhatsApp for Business & the re-launch of our Social Media Channels in China.

With all the changes the company went through, the Online Community team was the front line to help our guests understand the facts behind the changes and maintain their loyalty. While these changes lead to an increase of 26% on the conversations compared to last year (to a total of 1.2M messages), the team has evolved and grown in confidence. We have reacted to our social media channels increasingly being used as the go-to source for accurate and reliable information. Our Officers have become SMEs in many areas of Etihad and forged great working relationships with key stakeholders.

The team managed to respond to a whopping 304k messages - more than 850 messages per day. The overall SLA was nevertheless maintained at just under 15 minutes.

Of the responses, the team managed to handle 173k queries and complaints with a solution rate of 83%.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Etihad Airways


Entry Credits