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Trip Planning Using Social Media

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Looking for a travel deal for the Spring or Summer?  If so, you may want to check out Twitter and Facebook.

Hotels, airlines and cruise lines are turning up the volume on social media channels to help consumers plan, organize and even book their trips.

When frequent traveler Christine Kirk books a trip, she typically heads to Twitter looking for recommendations to great spas and restaurants near her hotel.

"It's just a really convenient way for me to communicate with the hotel," explained Kirk.

In fact more and more hotels, airlines and cruise lines are using social media to make sure your stay is a good one. Loews hotels recently launched social reservations where people on Twitter can book rooms during a secure chat conversation with an agent.

Big brands are responding to travelers on a one-on-one level on everything from Facebook to Instagram. They're following your tags and the money.

According to Rich Beattie of Travel and Leisure, "One study showed that customers who engage with companies on social media spend 20-40% more than customers who don't. So, travel companies realize there's a huge upside now to engaging with customers on a very direct one to one level."

Carrie Mitchell is the Public Relations Director for a Four Seasons property. She said their popular Pin-Pack-Go program on Pinterest has proven results.

According to Mitchell, "It works as a collaborative exchange between property and guest, so before they're coming they create their own boards with the destination they would like to go to so it really helps us with customization."

At some hotels, you may even find a digital concierge to help customize your stay, or get rewards if you check-in using Foursquare. That's something to look into as well.

So is there a downside? Beattie said consumers give up some of their privacy in exchange for the tips.

"But that's what social media is, is sharing. And, if you don't want to share anything, you shouldn't share it," said Beattie.

Meantime, he believes the benefits to travelers are only going to get better.

"Where travelers are on the ground, the opportunity to reach them at that time with specific offers in destination, I think is going to be the next big thing in social media," said Beattie.


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