I’m back! I know everyone missed my updates on iPhone and iOS 7. I’m sure you’ve all read and experienced everything and me talking about my experience would be useless. Therefore, I’m going to talk about a thought I had while on vacation in the beautiful Canadian Rockies.
While traveling, you’ll come in contact with lots of different companies providing services, from airlines to hotels to restaurants. In the olden days, one would go to a travel agent who would plan an entire itinerary for their clients. Once the internet exploded, clients became their own travel agents, and now with social media, that process is so much easier. Followed is a list of a few examples of my own experiences during our latest trip to Banff, Alberta.
Booking our flight seemed easy, straight through the WestJet website right? Yes…but then it crashed half way through. I called the 1800 number, and they helped me out. It just took a very very veryyyyy long time, with a few rude people during that time. I thought, I’ll reach out to their twitter account to express my frustration. They were very good in replying, much faster than a formal e-mail, and I instantly felt like I had a personal connection. This to me is very important, and the reason I like social media so much. Although Westjet is a big corporation, a tweet back from them made it a personal connection between business and consumer. They replied to me instantly, showing they wanted to help me out. They quickly made up for the short comings during the booking process, and they helped me regain my confidence in their airline.
After settling my airline booking, I set up our hotel room booking. Being a concierge, I had some connections and that was a breeze. Not wanting to bother my colleagues at the hotel, I reached out through twitter, to ask about different things. I could have e-mailed them, but I found that a quick tweet sums up things quickly, and it makes things easy. I feel when writing an e-mail, it has to be formal, and directed to a specific person. I also searched through TripAdvisor to read up on others experiences. TripAdvisor is another form of social media that makes the travel experience a more personal one. You can read personal details on others trips to that place. This is different than reading reviews that are carefully selected and placed in travel magazines, or quotes placed on the company website.
Once we were on our trip and taking in all the scenes, we tended to get hungry a lot from all the hiking. We then of course had to research restaurants. Where’d we turn to? Social media of course! Yelp! helped out when we needed something to eat, and learned what others thought of the place. Just like TripAdvisor but for the restaurant industry specifically. After our meal or if we needed a quick response to when they were open until, Facebook or Twitter solved those problems.
Overall, on our way home from an amazing vacation, I thought to myself how much the travel industry has hanged thanks to social media. It creates a personal connection between business and consumer, that differs from the travel industry magazines and company websites. Social media also offers information and access to smaller lesser known restaurants and companies that don’t have the marketing potential of those larger companies. This allows for a level playing field where consumers can discover hidden gems in terms of restaurants, tour companies and hotels.
I’ll leave my readers with one question. Now that you see how social media has impacted my travel experience, how has it impacted the way you travel and experience new things?