Hotel complaints on Twitter/Facebook; a good way to be heard...Air prices rise
Really good item in the Wall Street Journal online today about how savvy folks are using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to maximize their hotel deals or improve their experiences.
It makes perfect sense. I'm getting more and more stuff from Twitter (you can follow me under the username jbyers11) these days, and lots of hotels and airline companies are using it to launch last-minute deals or announce changes. Ditto for Facebook. So what the Journal story is talking about is turning that around and using the fact that hotels are using Twitter and Facebook to your advantage. Among the suggestions:
- After you've set yourself up on Twitter and Facebook (yeah, that would help), look for your hotel. Remember that Residence Inn and Courtyard might be found under Marriott, and Hampton hotels under Hilton and Westin under Starwood, etc...Then you can let them know you'll be coming. It sounds goofy, but apparently the big hotels have people who crawl about in cyberspace looking for their company name on Twitter or Facebook. If they know you're coming, who knows, maybe you get that upgrade you wanted.
- Be constructive, or at least specific. It doesn't help if you simply write "The Hotel California sucks." It would be better to say, for example, that your pink champagne wasn't on ice or that they promised mirrors on the ceiling and didn't deliver.
- Use your real name so they know who you are in the reservation system.
The Journal story included a bit about a guy who checked into the Orlando Marriott World Centre and posted a note on Twitter saying he got a lousy room. Soon afterward, the hotel spotted his tweet (I HATE that word) and moved him to a room by the swimming pool.
"During a recent technology conference at the hotel, an attendee who moderates and edits an influential website about BlackBerry news mused about his desire for a cold beer over Twitter," the Journal reported. "Already identified by (hotel staffers)...as an active blogger with more than 1,000 Twitter followers, the hotel responded over Twitter, "Can I buy you a beer? Stop by the "actual" Front Desk and ask for Sarah!"The recipient, 29-year-old Chris Parsons from Halifax, Nova Scotia says, it "kind of took me by surprise. I've never had that kind of customer service—just out of the blue." The hotel bought him a bucket of 10 Coronas to share with friends on the hotel's outdoor patio.
Quite interesting stuff, I think. And definitely worth a try.
I've seen a fair bit on Twitter from Marriott and also from the folks at Fairmont, so keep them in mind.AIR PRICES ON THE RISE
The good news is the economy in North America seems to be improving still. The bad news? Yeah, that means higher prices. WestJet said the other day that they're abandoning their constant sales in favour of a more standard fare approach with what they assure are reasonable prices. And analysts say they expect more of that sort of thing. Damn!
A Raymond James airline survey found that it cost $229 to book a one-way ticket in mid-June for Toronto-Calgary (an off-peak, WestJet flight six weeks off), compared to $189 a year earlier. That's a round-trip difference of $80, plus taxes. So it's actually pretty significant.
I'd suggest booking now if you have a specific trip in mind. Or wait for the very, very last-minute deals if you're willing to take a bit of a risk.SPIRIT AIRLINES IN HOT WATER OVER OIL ADS
Hoo, boy. Cheeky Spirit Airlines down in the U.S. has put out an ad that shows well-lubricated, overly tanned folks sitting by the water with the phrase "Check out the oil on our beaches."
Not everyone is happy, of course, so Spirit put out a press release.
"It is unfortunate that some have misunderstood our intention with today’s beach promotion. We are merely addressing the false perception that we have oil on our beaches, and we are encouraging customers to support Florida and our other beach destinations by continuing to travel to these vacation hot spots."
Nice try, guys, but your ads talk about sending people to beaches in Cancun, Atlantic City, San Juan, and Ft. Lauderdale; none of them in the affected oil areas at this point and only one on the actual Gulf of Mexico. And only one in Florida.