Cruise Lines, Airlines and Hotels Look to Social Media, Online Outlets

Carnival, Delta and Viceroy offer new online programs and applications By: Deanna Ting
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More travel companies are turning to social media networks and online membership sites to generate bookings, offer rewards and assist with travel planning.

Carnival Cruise Lines recently teamed up with Razorfish, a digital marketing agency, to launch a new Facebook application that allows cruise passengers to view, compare, select and share Carnival cruises with their Facebook friends. Through the new application, which is available at Facebook.com/Carnival, Facebook users can use their
social network to assist them in the vacation planning process and even invite friends to book the same cruise. Application functions include the ability to sort cruises by date, duration, port of call and accommodation type.

“A Carnival cruise is a very social experience and this application is a natural extension of our efforts to engage our nearly 250,000 Facebook fans in a unique and exciting way,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer. “By allowing our customers to share their cruising plans with Facebook friends, we are making it easier for them to plan group trips and encourage others to join in the fun.”

Delta Air Lines is the newest airline to begin using social media to communicate directly with its customers. The airline recently launched a new “ticket window” feature on its official Facebook page which allows customers to book flights directly on Facebook, a first for a major U.S. airline.

Viceroy Hotel Group recently partnered with Topguest, a new online members-only service that provides users with reward programs for virtual “check-ins” at hotels, restaurants and lounges. Topguest members will receive a 20 percent discount at Viceroy’s restaurants, bars or spas after making five check-ins with any major location-based services application, such as Foursquare, Twitter and Gowalla, at Viceroy’s properties in Santa Monica, Calif.; Miami; Palm Springs, Calif.; Snowmass, Colo.; and Anguilla.

“We’ve seen an increasing number of visitors to our properties checking in on Foursquare, Go-walla and tweeting about their experiences with us,” said Michael Doneff, vice president of marketing for Viceroy Hotel Group. “Partnering with Topguest provides a great way for us to recognize and reward these guests, helping us enhance loyalty with both local and overnight visitors.” (www.carnival.com; www.delta.com; www.facebook.com; www.topguest.com; www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com)

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