Soliciting travel advice before or during a trip is a common practice amongst business and leisure travelers alike. The recommendation from a friend whose opinion one trusts holds much more weight than soliciting advice from strangers. Today, with the assistance of social networks, two new services have developed services that just made that process a whole lot easier.
Flip.to's Confirmation & Concierge FeaturesFlip.to, a social media service that converts travelers into engaged advocates for hotels and airlines is launching a "Concierge" component as an adjunct to its current popular "Confirmation" feature. When integrated with a hotel's Web site booking engine, customers that book online are incentivized to send the hotel's branding messaging out to their individual community of followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Incentives are at the discretion of the hotel and can vary from a guestroom upgrade to winning a free trip.
For every guest that engages with Flip.to, a personalized URL is created as a "Concierge" page. When friends and followers click on the links in their tweets and status updates described above, they are directed to a Concierge landing page. It is here where one's social network followers can provide a hotel guest with suggestions and recommendations as to what to see and do while they are in that destination. Additionally, since the hotel staff has access to these pages, they can also alert the guest to special discounted offerings within and outside of the hotel, as well as timely special events or points of interest.
TripAdvisor's "Cities I've Visited" Application
Similar to Flip.to, TripAdvisor, one of Web 2.0's earliest user-generated recommendation travel sites has recently partnered with Facebook to help travelers benefit from their friends' and followers' travel experiences.
Now when you visit TripAdvisor while logged into Facebook, the site's Cities I've Visited will become your personalized travel planner, complete with friend's reviews, a map showing places friends have visited, and a list of their most popular destinations.
Facebook's 'Request for Permission' however is a two-way street. While you can gain valuable information from your friends and followers, they can do the same from you at any time once Facebook permission is granted.
For example, when you're researching a location, hotel or restaurant, you'll see friend's reviews first, allowing you to make more informed decisions. In essence, TripAdvisor has become Facebook's latest new instant personalization partner, and similar to other partners like Yelp and Pandora, one's friend's photos will be visible on all the TripAdvisor city pages one visits online.
While privacy issues are still a concern for many Facebook users, the Flip.to option allows your information to stay within the confines of a customized URL, personalized for each individual. If you choose not to share the data recommended by your friends and followers, you are not obliged to do so. Or if you only want to reach out to a certain circle of your friends, Flip.to is probably more suitable.
On the other hand, using both of these services in tandem is probably the best option for travelers that are seeking to enrich their travel experience. Instead of destination advertisements and other forms of 'push' marketing, recommendations vetted by one's followers are certainly the better avenue for pursuit.
For other posts pertaining to Flip.to and TripAdvisor, check out my previous blogs.