travelgrove the Travel Enthusiast

  • Harnessing Social Networks for Great Travel

    Most of us who travel a lot are looking for great ways to save money on transportation, accommodation, and doing cool stuff in unique destinations like taking tours and seeing important cultural and historic sites. Not to mention finding the best places to relax and enjoy the view.

    twitter at the beachWhenever I go to a destination, I am looking for things that are out of the ordinary, things that will enhance my travels, and things that will save me money. It is only recently that I’ve come to understand that social networks offer a great opportunity to find travel bargains as well as give me information about wherever it happens to be that I am going.

    Using social networks to enhance your travel experience is an idea that a lot of people never think of. It’s a funny thing, because most of us use social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all the time but when it comes time to travel suddenly we start to think that big broker sites or travel agent conglomerates are our only option.

    I stumbled onto the idea of using my social networks to make my travel better completely by accident. I follow quite a few travel industry experts to see what destinations are hot, what the latest trends in the travel industry are, and whether the political situation in any given region is favorable for a trip or not. What I started to notice was that I was seeing better fares on Twitter and Facebook than I was finding on the major travel sites. In fact, many airlines and cruise operators are now offering Twitter only and Facebook only bargains and specials.

    When I noticed this, I quickly started to follow all the companies I prefer to travel with. Companies like Virgin Air, Ryan Air, and Hilton all offer social network promotions that are usually around for just a short amount of time. Some of the companies will set specific days to release specials and promotions while others will announce them “on the fly”. The catch with these bargains is that usually they are on a short term basis and once the specific number is sold, they no longer exist. What that means is that you need to catch the deals when they are available, so make sure you are monitoring all the right sources.

    Nearly every hotel from the big chains to the small boutique hostels offer up either a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or both. By contacting the hotels, you can often find great promotional rates or find out when the ‘off season’ is. While this can be hit or miss, the occasional hit makes for some great savings and enjoyment of your time on the road.

    One thing that differentiates between social media and email is the time lag. Social media tends to have faster responses and to be more up to date than an email which can sit in your inbox for weeks without being read. When you find something on Twitter or Facebook, chances are that it hasn’t expired or been closed for renovations.

    So, when you are traveling, don’t forget to check Twitter and Facebook once in a while about wherever you may be.

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