Social media has allowed almost everyone to add their insights, ideas and even reviews to trip planning and travel, while that often means some not-so-nice comments and photos about hotels and airlines, it's also helpful when it comes to getting consumer-to-consumer feedback on popular destinations, cities, hotels and restaurants.
Twitter and TripAdvisor seem to be the most popular when it comes to travel sharing information. But Pinterest, the popular photo sharing -- pinning -- website is taking a hold of travel plans. Travelers are using Pinterest boards to plan their trips and share with friends and family. Now, one hotel group is joining travelers in their trip planning Pinterest purposes.
Four Seasons just launched their Pin.Pack.Go concept - a pretty cool concept from the luxury brand that gives future Four Seasons guests some insider information from hotel and city experts.Here's how it works:
You're planning a trip to Hong Kong. As you're nearing your leave date, you start to plan all the things in Hong Kong you want to do: sightseeing, shopping, restaurants to dine in, food to try, local customs to engage in. You'll find photos that correlate with your interests and create a Pin.Pack.Go board on Pinterest.
Then leave a comment on the board ( http://pinterest.com/fourseasons/pinpackgo
) letting the Four Seasons know what property you'll be visiting, and the Four Seasons hotel you're visiting will follow you back and pin recommendations to your board with fun things to do and see around the city.
The goal, according to Four Seasons, is to help travelers put together a truly individualized itinerary, using local experts in that area.
"Photo sharing platforms like Pinterest are transforming the way our guests plan their trips, share ideas and select travel destinations," Elizabeth Pizzinato, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the hotel group, said in a statement. "Pin.Pack.Go extends the Four Seasons culture of service far beyond our property walls creating new opportunities to provide guests with personalized recommendations and insider knowledge well before their trip begins."
Whether or not people will actually use Pinterest as a form of communication, versus Twitter or Facebook where conversation is the core of the social platform, remains to be seen. What is nice, though, is that Four Seasons is educating their staff on all the different social media platforms so when any guest asks a question or needs some help in any virtual environment, there's no reason a Four Seasons employee shouldn't respond.
My hope is that the responses are real, tangible and informational, and not promotional or self-serving to the specific hotel. There's potential in this new program - let me know if you use it and what you think! This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com