My last post on why I think Twitter is extremely valuable apparently resonated with a lot of people. Several people showed their agreement in the comments section, Do It For the Points wrote a great follow-up, and I even received a positive mention on Travel Blogger Buzz for the article. All these responses made me realize that there’s so much more value to Twitter than I covered in the original post, so I feel the need to write a follow-up of my own.
I made a passing mention at the end of the post about being able to win free stuff. As much as you might think that it’s impossible to win anything, let me tell you outright that it’s NOT impossible. One of the comments noted that he himself won two substantial prizes on Twitter. I personally won tickets to a Tennis match in Las Vegas that I ended up giving away to someone else. Ben from One Mile at a Time is currently running a promotion to win an extremely valuable 25K SPG points. Even I had a contest to give away Avios not too long ago. The best part is that it’s all random and requires no more than 10 seconds of your time! A simple “re-tweet” or one sentence is enough for an entry. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain!
To make it even better, Twitter is a place where you can actually make friends. As strange as it sounds to be able to build a relationship online with someone you’ve never actually met, it’s amazing how far those 140 characters will teach you about someone.
A perfect example of this was FTU. I hadn’t met a single person at the conference because I’d never been to one, but I knew lots of Twitter handles. To my surprise, that was more than enough for me to figure out who people were (and you can read my post on how surprised I was that people knew me at all). In fact, Vinny even suggested that we all write our Twitter handles on our name tags since that’s how we knew each other…and that’s exactly what we did. Parag of Frequent Flyer University even said that next time he’s going to bring the picture on his Twitter account and glue that to his name card, just to make it a little easier for people to recognize him.
Try doing that with Facebook or any other social media website. It’s very unique to Twitter that you can actually meet people online and get to know them to the point where you can pick up a conversation when you do finally meet in person.
The next point actually provides tangible benefits to us as Twitter users and travelers. I mentioned in my last post that The Points Guy had all kinds of issues with an award ticket after he got to the airport (I posted the entire series of Tweets in my last post if you want to check it out). That particular case was unfortunate because United’s Twitter team is, well, useless. But that’s not the case with many other Airline and Hotel companies.
The consensus for the top travel Twitter team is @AmericanAir, and it’s not even close. Not only do they get things done, but they’re actually fun to talk to sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched them help out people that are in a jam, whether it be re-booking them on a flight, finding an item that a passenger left on a plane, explaining rules, etc.
Today, for example, George was flying American Airlines with a friend. George’s friend was on a flight 7 hours earlier than George’s was, so he thought he’d just standby for the earlier flight. He did, but the American Airlines employee he spoke with insisted that he’d have to pay a $75 fee to move up to the earlier flight, and wouldn’t budge. George checked on Twitter and some friends mentioned it should be free. George contacted American’s Twitter team to see if they could help:
Seriously, how awesome is that? The guy would have had to wait 7 hours and be on a different flight than his friend, but the AA Twitter team saved the day. They are empowered to get things done, and very few others are as effective.
Delta Points pointed out to me that @DeltaAssist is also an extremely useful resource if you’re flying that airline. I’ve never had to use them personally, but if Delta Points recommends them then it’s probably useful.
When it comes to hotels, I’ve personally found that @SPG is extremely helpful. Whenever I have a question or problem, they’re there to help. I recently tweeted that I didn’t get upgraded to a suite even though they were available online, and I was promptly given a call by the front desk to upgrade me. Jamison pointed out the @HiltonHelp team is also pretty responsive, though I don’t think they’re as empowered to get things done as the other accounts are. Thrifty Tourist had a terrible experience with Hilton earlier this year and the Twitter team wasn’t really able to help, though that could easily have been a one-off occurrence.
You get the idea. Twitter is an extremely valuable resource for a variety of reasons, and I highly encourage you to get in on it. You can learn, win free stuff, make friends, and in some cases get things fixed when they’re not right. You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain from it, so just do it!