Expedia Launches Travel Giveaway Supporting St. Jude

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. In response, Expedia.com®, the world’s leading online travel company, introduced a month-long campaign featuring travel giveaways and exclusive travel coupons to raise funds in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. In its 50-plus year history, treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 percent to 80 percent. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade.

Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from public contributions, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of their financial situation. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Expedia has created several ways for the travel community to lend its support. Beginning September 1, 2013, consumers can visit http://stjude.expedia.com/ to enter more than 150 giveaway sweepstakes to win aspirational travel packages. Each entry comes with a suggested donation of $5.00, 100 percent of which goes directly to St. Jude.  Consumers can select as many trip options as they like, with the ability to enter each giveaway once a day for the entire month of September.

Expedia Launches Travel Giveaway Supporting St. Jude

The options include:

  • Bali, Indonesia: Five nights at the stunning Conrad Bali in a Deluxe Garden Room including breakfast, a couples massage and a $500 Visa gift card.
  • Vegas Dream Trip: Three nights at the chic Aria Resort & Casino, two tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana, a $200 F&B credit to any MGM resort restaurant, a Rockstar Club Crawl, 2.5 hour Vegas Sights & Lights Limo Tour, a flight on Maverick’s ECO-Star helicopter and three pairs of tickets to Vegas on Spirit Airlines.
  • Maui, Hawaii:  Four nights at the seaside Fairmont Kea Lani and a sunset catamaran cruise plus snorkel or eco-adventure to Molokini with Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Adventures.
  • Marrakech, Morocco: Four nights in a palatial Pavilion room at the Four Seasons Marrakech, including breakfast and a couples spa experience.
  • Montana Outdoor Adventure: Four nights in a spacious Big Sky, Montana, Moonlight Mountain Homes luxury cabin and a $1000 Expedia gift card towards air fare or car rental.

At the campaign’s conclusion, a winner will be selected at random for each trip. No donation is required to enter the giveaways and an alternate method of entry is available.

“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a miracle – a thriving, successful organization that provides pioneering research and treatment at no cost to patients. We’re proud to help channel the collective energy of millions of travelers to support it,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer, Expedia, Inc. “We already know that travelers are passionate people who know how to make every moment count. We’re hoping they’ll make their trips count even more by making a donation to St. Jude that will help save children. We are so grateful for the many generous partner properties, airlines and tourism boards from all around the world that stepped up to join this campaign. So please, join in. And thank you.”

“The support of incredible corporate citizens like Expedia helps fuel our mission of finding cures and saving children,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “This campaign offers travelers a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience, while helping St. Jude provide lifesaving care to children from around the world. We feel fortunate to be associated with this campaign and thank everyone who participates for their support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”

Beyond the dream trip giveaways, there are several different ways that consumers can join this campaign. For example, they can:

  • Donate directly to St. Jude to get a hotel coupon. Consumers who donate $25 to St. Jude on this site may choose either a 10% off coupon good for select hotels on Expedia.com or a 20% off coupon good for select hotels via the Expedia mobile app. To get the coupon and donate to St. Jude, click here.
  • Donate your rewards. Expedia® Rewards points can be turned into a monetary donation to St. Jude as well. Expedia Rewards points-holders who wish to participate can do so here.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has treated children from all 50 states and countries around the world. It is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. And research findings from St. Jude are shared freely with doctors and scientists worldwide, so the good work that begins in Memphis, Tennessee, ends up helping children and families everywhere.

Cool Mobile Tools for International Travelers

Whether you’re splurging on a dream trip to Paris or planning for cheap holidays in Benidorm this summer, take the time to download a few of the awesome smartphone apps out there that can help make your European trip smoother – and more fun for you and your loved ones at home who enjoy your adventures from afar.

There are, of course, a lot of smartphone travel apps that help you choose nearby accommodations according to your budget and preferences, but there are also some that are far cooler and offer varying services.

Many, many travel apps offer fun, useful tools to enhance your vacations. (While many are cross-platform, be sure to see if the ones you want are available for your phone’s OS, or just search for their “other-phone” counterparts.)

Postagram 
Who doesn’t love getting postcards in the mail? Especially these days when so much written communication has gone digital. This clever app lets you take a photo with your smartphone camera, type in a postcard-length message, enter the recipients’ address, and imagine their faces when they get your one-of-a-kind card in the mail. It’s 99¢ for U.S. delivery, $1.99 for international – not a lot more expensive than postal rates. The app itself is free.

Travel App Box
Billed as the Swiss Army knife of travel apps, it converts currency, tracks flights, translates, calculates tips, and much more. Travel App Box also has offline maps (including public transportation layouts in 40 cities worldwide) – very helpful if you’ve forgotten your foldout.

Weather Apps
Once again, there are a lot to choose from here. Download the best you find and take advantage of being able to plan your trip on the fly around good beach days and rainy museum ones.

aMetro
One hundred and eighty of the world’s major transit maps consolidated in one place. This app is gold.

Tipping Bird
This one’s a good one to have, traveling or not. Tipping Bird lets you select a country and tells you how they tip in various scenarios. You can also convert currency to your own so you have a sense of how much you’re spending – and how well (or not!) the service industry makes out in the countries you visit.

Trip Splitter
If you’re traveling with friends, this app is another great find. It keeps track of who’s paid what, so you don’t have to work things out all over again at the table, market, or the bar.

So have fun with these super helpful apps and check out the many others that are out there – heck, think of one of your own to invent. (But when you’re on the road be sure to spend more time looking up and around than at your phone!

This post was contributed by Natasha Simons. Natasha is currently trying to visit as many countries as possible while writing about her experiences to support her journey.

5 Time Saving Tools for Vacation Rental Management

As rewarding as vacation rental management may be, it is also very time consuming. From guest management, availability calendars, housekeeping staff management to marketing, it seems a vacation rental manager’s task list is never truly completed. As the vacation rental market grows, the work load is only going to increase as more and more competitors enter the market forcing many of us to increase our marketing efforts even more.

However, the forecast is not all doom and gloom; there are fantastic ways in which vacation rental managers can save time from their day-to-day tasks:

1. Save Time Managing Inquiries with an Online Reservation System

Responding to inquiries, sending check-in/check-out/review reminder emails, managing the schedule of housekeeping staff, end-of-month reporting and utilizing dynamic pricing for seasonal changes can all be automated using an online reservation system. These valuable tools not only save a tremendous amount of time, but allow you to respond to guests around the clock, even when you are not working. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm, and being the first to respond to a guest inquiry has a higher likelihood of turning the inquiry into a booking.

2. Save Time Managing Your SEO with Moz

If you have an independent vacation rental website to compliment your portal listings, you will most likely be spending time on search engine optimization (SEO). For those of us who are not tremendously tech-savvy, this can be a time consuming task to manage sitemaps, researching errors in titles, meta-data descriptions or whether we are effectively using the keywords in individual pages. This is where Moz comes into play (formely known as SEOMoz).

SEOMoz allows you to create a crawl diagnosis on your website, checks your landing pages and scores them based on your keyword usage, and also shows you what you should be doing next to improve your SEO.

3. Save Time Managing Your Phone Calls with Phone-Tag

Answering phone-calls and listening to endless voice-mails, can be a tedious task, especially when your to-do list is overflowing with other tasks. A great tool is Phone Tag. Instead of having to listen to your voice-mails you can have Phone Tag convert your messages to text and deliver them to you by email or text message.

4. Save Time with Content Creation with Online Readers

Content creation is a great way to target long-tail keyword searches and helps increase search engine ranking. Coming up with content ideas can surely be tricky when you are already busy with other tasks. A great way to get inspired is reading other vacation rental blogs to see the variety of topics that are available. Simply select to track any new articles that talk about vacation rentals, holiday tips, family vacation tips etc. With your reader you can view all these articles in one place, and get inspired by the ones that would be useful and relevant for your blog guests. For example maybe there is a blog post written about “the Best Family Activities in Miami”, you can write a blog post about “Best Family Activities in San Diego”.

There are a variety of great online reader tools available, Feedly is popular. And remember, the key is to be inspired, not to duplicate content (duplicate content hurts your search engine ranking).

5. Save Time Managing Availability Calendars with Channel Manager

Availability Calendar management is not only time consuming but a mistake can lead to a costly double-booking. If you have multiple listings available on multiple portals, a great tool to use would be a Channel Manager. Channel Managers help you to update availability calendars, pricing information and property information from one centralized point and then it automatically pushes it he updated information to all of your other listings.

Do you have any tools you would like to share that help save time managing vacation rentals? If you have any questions about the tools, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

This post was contributed by Francesca Nurlu. Francesca is the Digital Marketing Manager for Kigo Vacation Rental Software. Kigo provides all-in-one vacation rental software and channel management solutions for vacation rental managers. she creates a wide variety of educational articles and ebooks to help property managers increase their bookings.

10 Great Travel Apps for People on The Go

Technology has changed the way we travel. Mobile usage while on the go is constantly rising, and many new apps have emerged to make the travel process more seamless. Here are 10 great travel apps to check out:

1.      Tripomatic

Have you ever set off on the road not knowing what to do or see? Had a few hours to spare in a new country and not known how to spend your time? With Tripomatic, it does everything for you in seconds. As soon as you put in your location you will receive a list of nearby attractions, suggested trip plans and even trips planned by other users!

The simple interface makes it easy to use and will be valuable on days out.

2.      Dropbox

The ultimate tool to connect your mobile phone to your computer, laptop, netbook and any other tablet device with an internet connection, Dropbox is all you need. Want to share a picture, video or even some music? Put it on Dropbox and within minutes you can have access to that file on any other device.

It’s the perfect sharing app when you’re going on a long journey.

3.      Wi-Fi Finder

Ever needed the internet overseas but were concerned about charges made to your phone? With data roaming fees bordering on ridiculous, a Wi-Fi connection is essential for saving you money. Wi-Fi finder will help you hunt down the nearest source for a Wi-Fi connection anytime.

Best of all, if you download the location maps before your holiday, you can use this app offline, meaning you don’t need to use any mobile internet at all.

4.      Tipulator

Whichever restaurant, bar or diner you go to, it is common courtesy to leave a tip. Of course you don’t have to but the diverse rules in different continents can be tough to keep up with at times. In Asia, it is considered odd if you tip any money at all whereas Europe and North America encourage this.

With Tipulator, you can decide how much to give based on your overall spend.

5.      Fuel Monitor

Perfect for a car journey, this monitors how much fuel you’ll need for your trip. You can also edit the journey and add extra destinations, meaning you’ll know when and where to fuel-up your vehicle. The best bit about the app is the price, as it determines how much you will pay at a certain gas station.

It’s definitely worth checking out to save money.

6.      Google Maps

Google can be handy for pretty much everything and with their relatively new Google Places app for mobiles; your hunt for locations is made that much easier. It’s also a great alternative for a GPS, when coupled with Google Navigation.

For instance, when I was driving in France I was looking for a parking spot for a nearby restaurant. The trouble was, with new laws stating my GPS system cannot track speed cameras in the name of the law, I hadn’t taken mine with me. With a quick Google Places search, not only could I find the location of the restaurant, I could also find the route and nearby parking area.

7.      TripAdvisor

Written by users for users, the TripAdvisor app allows you to see exactly how the attraction, hotel or restaurant is perceived by previous visitors. With a more trustworthy opinion made by real people, you can always rely on TripAdvisor for the best information for tourists.

8.      FlightTrack

Worrying about remembering to bring all your essentials as well as ensuring your suitcase is not full of unnecessary things is hard enough. Having to remember your flight time, gate and plane number just makes it a whole deal worse. With FlightTrack, you can receive up-to-date, real-time flight plans as well as information on departure gates, delays and (hopefully not) cancellations.

Worry about one less thing this holiday.

9.     WhatsApp Messenger

Already regarded as the mobile substitute for Microsoft Messenger, WhatsApp has been taking the world by storm. By allowing you to send and receive messages for free, or for iPhone users a one-off payment; you can talk to family and friends across the world. Just requiring an internet connection, this is the best alternative to texting, which can cost a lot when in a different country.

10.  PhotoSynth

What’s a holiday without taking any photos? Your mobile camera may have a good enough camera but when there’s amazing sights that need to be seen in style, you could be left disappointed. PhotoSynth has all the added features of a digital camera but for your phone! Take panoramic shots all the way around and share your photographs on Facebook instantly.

There are many more travel apps you can find just right for you but for the very best, make sure you try out the list above. Happy holidays!

This article was contributed by Hiten Patel. Hiten is a travel enthusiast who has been to a handful of countries but has always wanted to explore the most exotic places. He has seen some wonderful things but I would love to experience more, allowing me to create my own unique travel stories. Follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

Expedia Launches Viewfinder Film Contest for Bloggers

Expedia.com®, the world’s largest online travel company, today announced the Expedia® Viewfinder Film Contest, open to travel bloggers. In partnership with the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), one winner will get the chance to travel to one of five pre-selected destinations with a NFFTY filmmaker.

Expedia worked with NFFTY to determine five iconic cities often seen on the silver screen, including: Australia, Paris, Morocco, London, and Seattle. The Expedia Viewfinder Film Contest starts today, June 5 and the entry period will close on June 30, 2013.

expedia viewfinder film contest

Expedia’s partnership with NFFTY continues to evolve and the Expedia Viewfinder Film Contest is the newest phase of the growing relationship. To enter the contest, participants will write a blog post on their respective sites, mentioning the Expedia Viewfinder Film Contest, and specifying which destination they would find most ideal to shoot a Find Yours™ video.

Introduced last year, Expedia’s Find Yours campaign illustrates putting personal relevance and emotion back into the travel space. The footage is real, unique and told from the viewpoint of individual travelers.

To enter the contest, travel bloggers must write a blog post on their own blog about how they would “find theirs” in one of the locations above if they were chosen for the star of a 2-3 minute film  then share their blog post URL on the Expedia Viewfinder blog.

After the entry period closes, a panel of judges will evaluate the entries based upon the following criteria before selecting and announcing the winner in July:

  • Incorporation of the contest elements (chosen destination and Find Yours)
  • Creativity
  • The Focus or theme of the entry (for example: culture, adventure, food/wine, family-friendly travel, budget-friendly travel, luxury travel, etc.)

One blogger, along with a NFFTY representative and an assigned NFFTY filmmaker, will win an all-expense paid trip to the winning destination to create a “Find Yours” video.

Visit the Expedia Viewfinder blog for official terms and conditions.

About Expedia.com

Expedia.com is the world’s leading online travel site, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel.

Expedia, Expedia.com, Expedia Viewfinder, Find Yours and the Airplane logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2013 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2029030-50

About NFFTY:

NFFTY is the largest and most influential film festival in the world for filmmakers age 22 and under. NFFTY 2013 sponsors include Volvo Cars of North America, Expedia, vitaminwater®, Chipotle and more.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Gavin                        Jodi Bragg

Expedia.com                      HL Group (for Expedia)

(425) 679-8917                  (646) 460-8908

sgavin@expedia.com       jbragg@hlgrp.com

 

Use Your Klout for Access to the Admirals Club

Klout and American Airlines (AA) have announced a partnership that allows social media influencers access to AA’s exclusive Admiral’s Club.

A Klout score over 55 will allow you to gain access to 37 of the airline’s lounges in 22 different cities, and you don’t have to fly American to be eligible, as would normally be the case. Guests reap a variety of benefits, ranging from complimentary wine to shower suites at select locations.

If you fall a little short of 55, don’t worry! You are entered into a drawing for the potential to win prizes including all expenses-paid trips to Seattle, along with products from other brands that have partnered with Klout such as Sony, Chevrolet, and Microsoft.

Klout utilizes social media analytics to measure your online social influence. Upon analyzing 400 variables throughout your multiple social networks, it determines a score between one and 100, with 100 representing the most influential.

It’s become more apparent that the hospitality industry has a lot to gain from social media influencers. Getting the right people into their exclusive lounges means more traffic to their websites via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, along with increased brand exposure.

Other airlines in need of significant image boosts would greatly benefit from partnering with Klout to gain insight on what kinds of amenities an individual takes into consideration before booking their next flight. Other mobile apps that ease flyers and create a more positive association with their airliner have already seen some headway.

With the decline of amenities in most airlines due to economic restraints, companies must resort to other avenues of representation or else suffer complacency. What better way to strengthen bonds between brands and their influencers than to put them in the cockpit of their initiatives?

What kinds of airline perks would you like to see offered next?

Social Media and Hotels: Four Seasons Leading by Example

Four Seasons has done an exceptional job integrating social media into their website and general marketing, and constantly continues to expand its social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Weibo and Pinterest as well as TripAdvisor.

Their corporate Facebook page has over 150,000 fans, while their Twitter feed has over 60,000 followers. With a Klout score of 70, it’s evident the brand places a lot of focus on engagement with guests and those tweeting about their hotels.

Spring blooms at Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris

Spring blooms at Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris

In addition to corporate pages and handles, Four Seasons also maintains individual hotel, resort and restaurant pages and handles as well as interest-specific interactive blogs and sites that are also connected to social media, including YouTube, Instagram, Yelp and OpenTable.

The corporate Pinterest account is also a stand-out amongst other businesses, hospitality and otherwise. They use the opportunity to showcase a lot of personality with their boards, with names including “chill out” featuring winter-related items, “wish you were here” showcasing various locations, plus “pinspiRED” featuring a variety of pins with the color red.

Staff members are also reaching out in new ways. For example, the concierge team at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, recently launched their own website and Twitter feeds, with direct connections to individual team members through social media and email.

[Read more]

Using Social Networks to Influence Travel and Hospitality Bookings

Social networks continue to have a rising influence on travel.

The below infographic from Monetate Marketing Infographics highlights some significant figures related to how reviews, website traffic and travel decisions are all affected by social networks.

Using Social Networks to Influence Travel and Hospitality Bookings

 

Gogobot: Redefining Social Travel

Gogobot Logo

The web is full of social travel sites, though one in particular that’s setting a high bar is Gogobot. As on other sites, you can read and write reviews of hotels, restaurants and other establishments. And it’s totally free to sign up!

You can also keep tabs on your friends’ outings, find recommendations for destinations you plan to visit, and give advice on any travel topic, such as the best burger in San Francisco or what type of weather to expect in Paris in December.

Earlier this year, I was taking a first-time trip to June Lake and was looking for any must-visit stops on the way. I posted on Gogobot asking if anyone knew of anything worth checking out, and within minutes, received several productive responses.

Another unique component is that users can maintain a “passport” of travels and create digital postcards and scrapbooks of places you’ve been, supplementing nicely the ever-increasing magnetism of visual content.

Gogobot postcard

In May, the company announced it had passed 1 million registered users. Then, just two months later, they revealed they’d topped 2 million users, up 100% in just 60 days.

Gogobot is a San Francisco-based startup founded by MySpace’s former International GM Travis Katz and Ori Zaltzman, the former Chief Architect of Yahoo Search BOSS. The startup opened up its public beta in early December 2010 and its growth has been astonishing, with a new member joining the site every 15 seconds, on average.

After just 18 months since launch, Gogobot announced reaching the milestone of 1 million registered user as well as some additional competitive stats. Recently, Snoop Dogg signed up along with Tom of MySpace fame.

Since launch, more than 5 million places have been shared on the service, with Gogobot’s mobile app and a partnership with Foursquare cited as a major driver of this growth.

Since unveiling the iPhone app in October, the number of reviews submitted by users has doubled each day, the number of trip plans created has doubled each day and the number of photos uploaded by users each day has increased by a magnitude of 5x.

The brand also regularly runs contests to encourage participation. Currently, they’re highlighting the “In the Know Contest,” in which a lucky Gogobot member will win an exclusive Gogbot prize pack for writing a hotel review!

Sign up for Gogobot today!

How to Have Fun with Teens on Vacation

Are your kids are in their teens? Then you must be finding it hard to find out things that would be appreciated by them. It is a common phenomenon among teenagers to disapprove all the efforts parents are making to reinvigorate the magic that once existed in their relationship.

But don’t worry. We have a prescription that will ensure proven results, provided the users apply the right techniques.

Plan a trip to some exotic destination where your teen-age kids can indulge in some adventure and fun activities. This effort to bridge the gap between the two of you will be certainly appreciated by your kids and assist in strengthening the relationship.

First things first:

Parents have an in-depth understanding about the nature of their wards. While planning your next tour, you should first consider the nature of your kids and decide on a spot he or she will enjoy and engage themselves. If your kids are quite adventurous by nature, then you have plenty of options to choose from.

Hiking, bike riding trips, or to a destination where they can indulge in water sports will be ideal. If they are interested in the big metropolitan cities of the world and the urbane lifestyle, you can plan to hit some of the big metropolis of a different country. This will also help them to get an understanding of a totally different culture.

The bottom line is that whichever place you are planning to tour, it should be in accordance with your kid’s nature, if you actually want them to let their hair down and enjoy.

teen travel

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/visionsservice/5260693323/

Booking in advance:

It is always best to book your tickets, accommodations, sightseeing tours and other such aspects well in advance. Major tourist spots are always crowded with vacationers and therefore good accommodations are always filled up. It is best to buy the flight tickets, book hotels well in advance as well as your mission is to build up excitement for your teen.

Budget car hire online services are available from where you have the option hiring a rental car as well. This will allow you to move along a foreign city in accordance with your family’s own convenience.

To do list:

It is best to look out for destinations where you can actually engage your kids in a lot of fun activities. Adventure trips to mountainous location where the teenagers can engage themselves in fun activities like biking, hiking, rock climbing, paragliding, bungee jumping, river rafting and other such activities are always the best option.

Moreover, a serene location amidst the beauty of nature will also help parents relax. But always remember to participate in the fun-filled activities that can help strengthen bonds. You can even try to hit some exotic beach destination where the teenagers can indulge in activities like scuba diving or other water sports.

Since your primary aim is to arrange for a fun and frolic vacation for your kids consider talking to them, to understand what their desires. Even if you want to surprise them, try to understand their wishes by asking indirect questions and thereafter plan accordingly. Your endeavors would not be wasted for sure and you are going to have a nice vacation if you keep in mind these factors. Enjoy!!

This post was contributed by Genelia Lopez. Genelia is a great travel enthusiast. She loves to travel abroad with her kids and spends most of her time writing articles on his personal traveling experiences.

Ways Travel & Tourism Can Use Social Media

Just what can a travel brand do with social media?

Here are a few thoughts to spark inspiration and evoke conversation. This is just the tip of the iceberg!

Manage your brand and image

  1. Listen for mentions of your brand.
  2. Crisis communication.
  3. Uncover and get to know the influencers of your brand.
  4. Listen when no one is talking.

Gather industry intel

  1. Listen to how ‘the other guys’ are doing it.
  2. Pay close attention to the language of your target audience.
  3. Use social media as a means to research the market.

Build a community

  1. Foster interactive safe spaces where fans and friends can comment and engage.
  2. Tell your story through a corporate blog.
  3. Find personal connections and engage.
  4. Identify with your customers.
  5. Take advantage of user-generated content such as pictures, videos, and guest posts.

Create a Peer to Peer environment

  1. Initiate social recommendations versus simply giving them.
  2. Provide space for a forum or facilitate a tweet chat.
  3. Don’t ignore the customer review.
  4. Encourage and lead in crowd sourcing.

Be fun and rewarding

  1. Create Facebook apps such as location-based maps, quizzes, and games.
  2. Loyalty reward programs just for ‘liking’ your page will be seen and shared by friends of your fans.
  3. A Social Media VIP program is a great way to reward your biggest fans.
  4. Competitions with prizes like airfare or a sunny getaway will get lots of traction and shares when done well.
  5. Check-ins on apps such as Foursquare and Yelp are fun and useful.

Stand out and be noticed

  1. Instagram pictures shared by your guests and staff alike give you a personal and visual touch.
  2. Create compelling YouTube videos.
  3. Organize pin boards on Pinterest of experiences you offer.
  4. Use SEO to ensure you get the most and best traffic to your site.

Provide exceptional customer service via social media

  1. Respond to customer service issues as they come up.
  2. Recognize and respond to inquiries using the platform your customers prefer.
  3. Uncover your brand evangelists.

Make money

  1. Utilize a listening platform for sales & lead generation.
  2. Use Twitter to post last-minute deals and sell off otherwise vacant spots on trips or rooms in your hotel.
  3. Use Twitter and Facebook to push special promotions that you can easily track and manage.
  4. Implement a paid campaign or take out an ad on Facebook.
  5. Use keyword searching/targeted listening to find would be travelers who are looking for the very service you offer and strike up a conversation.

Often we tend to complicate strategy and overthink the must-dos.

It’s helpful to take a step back, and simplify our plan of attack.

This post was contributed by Jenn Seeley. Jenn is a Community Engagement Specialist at Radian6 specializing in the world of travel. What that really means, is she monitors the happenings in travel and tourism where social media is concerned, watching for industry trends, and creating helpful content to share with an awesome community of professionals. You can read more of her content here and connect with her on Twitter.