3 On Your Side: Trip Planning Using Social Media

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Does the dreary winter weather have you thinking about taking a vacation? If so, you may want to check out Twitter and Facebook.

As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, hotels, airlines and cruise lines are turning up the volume on social media channels to help consumers plan, organize and even book their trips!

When frequent traveler Christine Kirk books a trip, she typically heads to Twitter looking for recommendations to great spas and restaurants near her hotel.

She says, “It’s just a really convenient way for me to communicate with the hotel.”

In fact more and more hotels, airlines and cruise lines are using social media to make sure your stay is a good one. Loews hotels recently launched social reservations where people on Twitter can book rooms during a secure chat conversation with an agent.

Big brands are responding to travelers on a one-on-one level on everything from Facebook to Instagram. They’re following your tags and the money.

According to Rich Beattie of Travel and Leisure, “One study showed that customers who engage with companies on social media spend 20-40% more than customers who don’t. So, travel companies realize there’s a huge upside now to engaging with customers on a very direct one to one level.”

Carrie Mitchell is the public relations director for a Four Seasons property. She says their popular Pin-Pack-Go program on Pinterest has proven results.

According to Mitchell, “It works as a collaborative exchange between property and guest, so before they’re coming they create their own boards with the destination they would like to go to so it really helps us with customization.”

At some hotels, you may even find a digital concierge to help customize your stay, or get rewards if you check-in using Foursquare. That’s something to look into as well.

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