"Don't roll your eyes like an old person," wrote New York Post travel editor David Landsel in yesterday's paper. "Twitter isn't just teenage girls and empty-headed, feelings-sharing celebs; it's also the latest-slash-greatest advance in how travel information gets dished out. It's interactive, you can connect quickly with reporters, with industry types, with the hotels you love to love and the airlines you love to hate."
Usually the Halloween mood doesn't strike me till the end of October, but this year it's already struck, thanks to Marriott Resorts' over-the-top "Trick or Tweet" promotion. Like most innovative, fun, money-saving hotel promotions these days, it's happening on Twitter.
Every day throughout October, a group of nine Marriott resorts
in the Caribbean and Mexico will post a twitter message (or "tweet") announcing a different giveaway at one of the resorts. The giveaways will range from a free night's stay to $100 in meal credits to
room upgrades to spa treatments to rounds of golf. Follow Marriott Resorts on Twitter and you can collect all 27 giveaways, in the form of vouchers that you
download and then redeem at the specified resort any time
through December 20, 2010.
If you'd like to know who else to follow on Twitter, I listed 21 essential twitterers to follow -- for travel deals, perks, and advice you'll find either only on Twitter or on Twitter first -- in my Perrin Report column in Conde Nast Traveler's October issue (on newsstands now).
Want to learn what it takes to be a responsible traveler? Find out which travel companies are the most responsible--meaning, which are greenest and do the most good when it comes to helping the local communities in which they operate? Eavesdrop on conversations among the most forward-thinking travel industry C.E.O.s who have gathered to share their hard-earned wisdom regarding how to operate sustainably? Suggest ideas of your own for how travelers and travel companies can make a difference?
You may know Twitter only as the butt of late-night comedians' jokes,
and if you haven't spent much time on Twitter, it's easy to dismiss it
as a silly social-networking fad for narcissists telling one another what they ate for lunch. But I've been on Twitter for more than a year
now, and I'm here to tell you that the perks you can glean from it are
no joke. Ignore it and you'll miss out on significant travel benefits,
including deals you can't find elsewhere.
As for me, I've now got two Twitter pages: I cover travel deals and advice at @perrinpost and my personal travels and musings at @wendyperrin.
Got a travel information source you think should be added to these lists? Please
let me know by clicking on "Comments" below and sharing the company's
or person's name and Twitter page URL, so that everybody else can click
on it and check it out. Thanks!
Not sure how you can help save the world when you travel? Then tune in toConde Nast Traveler's 3rd annual World Savers Congress a week from today. Leaders of the travel industry will convene in New York City, at the Morgan Library & Museum, to discuss how we all can limit environmental impact and improve
the health, education, and economic well-being of the communities worldwide in which we leave our footprints.
Me, I'll be moderating a panel called "The Committed Consumer: Engaging Your Guests Now." We'll focus on how companies that are committed to sustainable travel can best articulate their message to travelers. The panelists? Carmen Baker, VP for Responsible Business, Carlson Hotels; Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman Public Relations; Niki Leondakis, COO, Kimpton Hotels; Gregg Michel, President, Crystal Cruises; and Bruce Poon Tip, CEO, Gap Adventures. (As you can tell from the photo above, I had fun moderating last year's consumer panel. That's Adam Stewart, CEO, Sandals Resorts and the Sandals Foundation, at right.) Anything you want me to ask the panelists? Just click on "Comments" below and let me know your questions.
Can't join us at the Morgan Library? Then join us on Twitter. From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, next Monday, September 21, you can follow live coverage of the World Savers Congress both on Twitter and on a brand-new Conde Nast Traveler blog. I'll be back later this week to tell you how and where.
Speaking of blogging . . . we've got a limited number of seats left
at the Congress for NYC-based travel bloggers. Interested? If so,
please email Megan Montenaro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we at Conde Nast Traveler force a blogger to fly tens of thousands of miles within the space of one month -- remember last year's Airport Layover Contest? -- our goal is to get him out of the airport as much as possible during the down time between flights. Not so over at Wired.com. The stunt-loving sadists at Wired's Autopia blog won't let their guinea pig -- nicknamed "Terminal Man" -- leave the airport even once!
Remember those $599 JetBlue unlimited travel passes that were on sale last month? Our friends at Autopia bought one for 28-year-old blogger Brendan Ross, a.k.a. Terminal Man. He now gets to fly every day for the next month, endure as many as 68 flights in total, and never leave the airport unless it's on a plane. This is one journey I can't wait to follow. Brendan will soon begin blogging about his adventures, and he's already tweeting up a storm on Twitter.
Autopia has invited readers to suggest where Brendan should fly and what he should do during his layovers, so if you've got recommendations, share them here. (We've provided a handy-dandy JetBlue route map to help you out.)
If, on the other hand, you're someone who prefers to spend layovers escaping the airport, check out the 180-or-so seriously creative layover suggestions, most of them international but many domestic, recommended by Perrin Post readers in our Airport Layover Contest. For easy scanning, we've copied and pasted the layover recommendations into this blog entry, after the jump:
"Want to know what Travel 3.0 will be like? You're soaking in it," wrote Henry Harteveldt, longtime travel industry analyst for Forrester Research, on the online water cooler known as Twitter. Henry is one of the many travel trend watchers and advice givers whose Twitter updates I love to read. Another strategist I follow is Rick Seaney, CEO of the airfare-monitoring site FareCompare. His Twitter tips notify you of airfare sales a few hours before they hit Orbitz, Expedia, and the like, enabling you to nab a deal before seats run out. I'm also a big fan of The Global Traveller, better known to FlyerTalk addicts as KiwiFlyer, co-author of the FlyerTalk blog The Gate. He practically lives on planes and uses Twitter to offer very useful snippets of practical advice to hundreds of travelers worldwide.
I know of no faster or more effective way than Twitter to have a real-time dialogue with other travelers. Personally, I love it as a communication tool because it enables me to have a conversation with readers that's impossible via email or even this blog. I can answer readers' questions quickly and easily, in a public way, so that all travelers--not just the individual reader, but anyone who's interested--can learn from the conversation, join in, and share tips of their own. This empowers us all.
It's fascinating to watch more and more travel companies adopt Twitter as a customer-service tool, to show they're listening and actually care. Some travelers say they get faster answers from JetBlue via Twitter than from JetBlue agents at the airport. American Airlines' Admirals Club is on Twitter, soliciting customer feedback and occasionally offering free one-day passes or $50 discounts toward Admirals Club membership. Marriott International and Fairmont Hotels answer all manner of questions from travelers and help however they can. Quikbook shares hotel deals before they're announced on its Web site, Farecast's Fareologist points people to the lowest airfares, Expedia helps people brainstorm last-minute vacation ideas, LuxuryLink gives away trips . . . .
Remember I was saying that the best part of my trip to Austin was the people I got to hang out with? One of the coolest moments was breakfast with Clay Shirky, the author of my favorite book of 2008, a wake-up call entitled Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. It's a riveting read about how the Internet is changing society. Its relevance to the world of travel? New technological tools are enabling travelers to share more information with other travelers than ever before, faster than ever before, thus empowering us all (well, those of us who are using the tools).
If you're interested in tuning in to my talk in real time and you're on Twitter (one of those aforementioned technological tools), you'll be able to read what's being said by twitterers at the conference here. Wish me luck!
And, if you have any recommendations for D.C., of course I'd love to hear those too. Just click on "Comments" below, and, if you like, include your URL in the text of your comment so we can all click to learn more about you.
You know how the best part of a trip is often the people you meet? I'm back from Austin, where I didn't get to see as much of the city as I would have liked (I was busy at the Convention Center), but I did get to meet some great people. One of them was the Twitchhiker.
Since March 1, British journalist Paul Smith (a.k.a. the Twitchhiker) has been testing just how far he can travel, relying solely on the goodwill and hospitality of the online community on Twitter, and raising money for charity as he goes. Yes, his journey is dictated by whoever on Twitter steps up to give him a room for the night or a plane ticket or car ride onward. Paul started out in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, swung through various European cities, hopped over the Atlantic Ocean to New York, zigzagged across the U.S. to Los Angeles, and will be flying to New Zealand tomorrow. I was lucky enough to catch up with him in Austin (right after his interview on Good Morning America Weekend) and donate a breakfast to the cause.
Travel companies, don't miss the boat on this one: Help the
Twitchhiker in his mission to reach the farthest point on the globe
from where he started. He needs to get there by the end of the month. To follow him on Twitter, click here.
Check out what's unfolding over at the online water cooler known as Twitter: U.K. Guardian travel writer Benji Lanyado is in Paris with no advance plans, basing all his travel decisions--where to stay, what to see, where to eat--on tips sent to him, in real time, by the people following him on Twitter. Yes, folks, it's the latest, greatest, most cutting-edge form of travel: the TwiTrip. Click here to follow Benji's progress and here to read the Paris recs he's been receiving.
Twitter is not just changing people's trips. It's changing people's lives. But I don't need to tell you what a big deal Twitter is because people like The New York Times' Clive Thompson and MSNBC's Chris Elliott already have. And I don't need to tell you who the travel twitterati are -- the people you should be following on Twitter if you want to know what's going on in the world of travel -- because several lists have already been published, including this one and this one.
So instead I'm going to list some of the non-travel-world people who make Twitter such a fascinating destination. Following their Twitter updates ("tweets") allows me to see inside the brains of some of today's most influential thinkers and find out what's going on in the world almost before it happens. Here are just a few of the "tweeple" every smart twitterer should know about: