5 Ways to Find Travel Deals Using Social Media
By Erica Swallow 2012-02-07 08:49:57 UTC
Finding travel deals on the Internet seems to get easier and more fun each year.
It used to be that you’d have to book directly through airlines and hotels, and then came the aggregators. Sites like Orbitz and Priceline made prices more transparent — and deal seekers rejoiced.
Now, there are tons of web and mobile applications that specialize in travel, and social media is making easier than ever for travelers to plan, book and share details about their travel itineraries.
The world of social media travel deals is ever-changing, so we’re glad to present you with the latest information on how to find travel deals using social media. Read on for five hot tips, and let us know your deal seeking strategies in the comments below.
1. Stay on Top of Twitter Deals
Finding travel deals on Twitter is all about following the right accounts, utilizing search and acting fast when the right deal pops up.
For starters, follow — or make a Twitter list of — the airlines you often fly and the hotels you often book. Wanderlisting is a great resource for finding not only airlines and hotels on Twitter, but also travel bloggers, publications and tips. Just a heads-up, JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic are known to tweet out some pretty sweet deals, too.
But you don’t always have to be on Twitter to reap the rewards of its service. FareCompare.com enables users to receive real-time tweets when airfare prices drop from their home airport — or you can simply browse its web app for deals.
If following isn’t working out for you, try searching Twitter. A quick search for “NYC travel deals,” for example, yields a number of relevant tweets, including one from Travelzoo. promoting NYC hotel deals, and another from the L.A. Times promoting a Valentine’s Day dinner deal in New York.
If you’re really not sure where you’d like to go, the hashtag #traveldeals is always a good fallback.
2. Use Facebook for Loyalty Reward Programs
While you could follow airlines, hotels and deal sites on Facebook. we don’t recommend clogging up your stream with travel deals. The occasional “like” for your favorite travel companies is enough.
In general, Facebook doesn’t offer many good experiences for finding deals and booking travel. While a number of airlines — including Alaska Airlines and Malaysia Airlines — have Facebook apps that help you book flights, you’re not going to get the best deals if you’re searching just one airline.
If serendipity presents you with a great deal, that’s wonderful. Otherwise, keep your Facebook travel deal searching to a minimum. You’re better off using the usual web apps of choice — Kayak. Orbitz. Hipmunk and Airbnb. among others.
That being said, Facebook does come in handy when you’re a member of a hotel or airline’s loyalty membership program. If you are a Hilton HHonors member or Starwood Preferred Guest. for example, it’s a great idea to “like” the program’s Facebook Page and sit back while offers roll in.
If you’re seriously addicted to Facebook, though, you should try out Airbnb’s Facebook app. which enables users to find and rent homes around the world.
3. Get Social Recommendations
There are a number of apps — such as Gogobot — that enable users to pull travel advice from their social graphs.
Check out the latest on the block, Trippy. It lets you get your friends’ recommendations for places to visit and things to do when you’re planning a trip. After all, it’s great to get a recommendation from a friend who has already traveled the road you’re about to take. Once a trip is planned, the user can even check rates or book the trip right from Trippy’s platform.
This strategy should be used in tandem with other deal searches, though — while it could lead to finding the best recommendations from your friends, they may not be the cheapest.
4. Forums Still Count
While you don’t hear about forums much anymore — mostly due to the fact that they’re horribly designed and difficult to navigate — they can still be useful, especially for the travel-deal hunter.
For all the latest news and gossip regarding loyalty reward programs and travel deals, check out FlyerTalk. which deems itself “the world’s most popular frequent flyer community.” This savvy group of travelers will have you snatching up great deals in no time.
5. Last-Minute Lodging Deals
If you fly by the seat of your pants and have arrived in your destination city without a place to stay, there are a number of options for booking last-minute lodging. For starters, check out HotelTonight. an app that enables you to book a room at discounts of up to 70%.
Likewise, you could try using Airbnb’s iPhone app. which has a button appropriately labeled “Help! I need a place tonight!” You could also try the standby feature if you can’t find an Airbnb spot — this prompts local homeowners to send offers your way, usually at lower rates than they usually charge.
And lastly, don’t forget Foursquare. While it’s unlikely that you’ll find discounted hotel prices, you could discover some other sweet perks. I did a quick search for on Foursquare for hotels within 10 miles, and I found a special for 1,000 Priority Club Rewards Bonus Points for checking in three times at the Crowne Plaza in Times Square. For the right person, loyalty points could be a better deal than a discounted bill. Not too shabby, right?
What’s your strategy for finding travel deals using social media? Let us know your best tips in the comments below.
Series supported by join.me
The Social Travel Series is supported by join.me. the easiest way to have an online meeting. Named one of Time magazine’s best websites of 2011, join.me lets you share your screen so you can instantly get together, collaborate, demo, show off, and more. Plus, it’s totally free. How will you use it? Check it out today .
Image courtesy of Flickr, Fatty Tuna
Posted In: NEWS