In the last 6 months I have come to really appreciate twitter as a valuable travel resource. This weekend I finished our booking for Hawaii when we go to the Big Island in December. I called the hotel (Hilton Waikoloa) directly because I wanted to make a request for a crib and a microwave. Unfortunately, the phone rang and rang and rang for 5 minutes before someone answered. I was then transferred to another phone tree. It was quite annoying, while the phone was ringing I decided to complain to the hotel’s twitter feed. It turned out to be a really good decision. Here is the exchange:
Within a few minutes of sending a DM to @hiltonwaikoloa I got a call from the front desk manager, Charlie. He was very helpful and apologized for no one answering the phone. He took care of the request for the crib and microwave and put a reminder on his own calendar near our arrival to make sure we have those things. He even gave me his email address to email him if we have other needs that come up. He went above and beyond what I was expecting. The experience got me thinking about how much I love twitter and how it was so much easier to basically send them a text message then calling and dealing with a phone tree (or two).
Hilton Waikoloa is not the only company I have tweeted and gotten quick responses and or assistance. American Airlines has a great twitter feed that is very responsive and helps out as much as they can when you have an issue. I tweeted American Airlines when our flight was delayed leaving Chicago to Madrid and they were pretty responsive.
Twitter is also a great tool for information. I sometimes follow an airports twitter feed if I have concerns about delays. Most destinations have a tourist information feed that can also be helpful. News organizations will tweet traffic delays, weather, local news, etc… There is a plethora of information out there on twitter. More often than not news organizations will tweet something before the story even shows up online.
Another great way to use twitter is to connect with locals for advice. I regularly respond to people with questions about Portland. Have a question where to eat? Just ask and include a #Portland or #PDX. You will get plenty of responses. Lastly, I am always more than willing to respond to tweets so feel free to tweet me directly with any Portland related questions. You can follow me on twitter here.
Bottom line, if you are not on twitter, I would suggest joining. When you go on a trip follow your airline, your hotel, and ask for advice on twitter. I think you will be really impressed by the responsiveness.