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THESE DAYS, it seems easier to get travel perks from Twitter and Instagram than from hotel and airline loyalty programmes. Travellers active on social networks have scored airport lounge passes, deals on hotel rooms, free drinks and late checkouts. And a new hotel-booking site is aiming to go even further: Hotelied.com promises customised deals for travellers who join the site and link their various social media accounts.
With hotel listings in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and more cities on the way, Hotelied is perhaps the most ambitious addition to the growing number of opportunities targeting travellers with social network followings. In 2011, the Radisson Blu Edwardian brand gave guests of its Manchester and London hotels late checkouts if they checked in on Facebook or Foursquare. Last year, American Airlines offered one-day lounge passes to travellers with a score of 55 or higher on Klout.com, which measures people’s digital influence (the average score is around 40). This summer, InterContinental Hotels Group asked travellers to use Instagram and hashtags to try to win a trip to New York City. And the perks continue to proliferate. With social media now as much a part of the vacation experience as sunscreen, freebies and discounts are also being offered through networks such as Instagram and Pinterest.
The more followers you have, the more robust your social media presence, the more alluring you are to hospitality brands. But the truth is that you don’t need to have legions of followers to be eligible for many of the perks being dangled today. However, you do need to consider whether you want to do what’s required to receive those benefits. Often it means sacrificing privacy not only by broadcasting where you are or sharing a photo of yourself, but also by allowing a third-party site like Hotelied to have access to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Also, be careful how frequently you’re posting content in exchange for a perk, or risk alienating followers who might begin to think of you as a brand’s mouthpiece. And one last caveat: it takes time to tweet and check-in frequently enough to earn significant rewards. Do you have that time to spare?
The answer may not be yes, but for many people, points and perks are an irresistible game. If you love to play, here’s a guide to some of the latest offerings:
When you sign up for this newcomer to the hotel-booking