#CheckIn: Hotels Cater To The Social Media Obsessed

Some people just can’t break away from their networks when they travel — and hotels are catching on. The social media-obsessed can update their statuses (complete with pictures of themselves) at Facebook kiosks set up around the Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel, and at the Sol Wave House in Majorca, a special web application only available on the hotel’s Wi-Fi network allows guests to share pictures and message with one another.

But even if you aren’t looking to go to Spain, there are plenty of tools to help you connect with fellow travelers and tap into discounts and deals. Friends of Friends Travel is a free social network that helps people share everything from hotel rooms to martinis with friends and friends of friends. And travelers — even the ones who want to put their smartphones down — should be on the lookout for hotels that encourage guests to “like” and tag them. The Radisson Edwardian chain offers guests the option of a late check out if they check-in on Facebook Places or Foursquare, and chains like Caesars gift loyalty points when users share Twitter and Instagram posts. All these marketing ploys may seem gimmicky, but what’s a tweet or two when it can lead to a more enriching travel experience?

An App For Apps Makes Travel Easier, Maybe Too Easy

Apps
Joe Lanman/Flickr

In the world of travel apps, we’ve seen geo-based, crowd-sourced and sharing technology that has opened up a lot of possibilities for travelers. We can automatically create a travel log with one, find a hotel on the fly with another and map our way through unknown lands with ease. The result? A home screen full of apps that demand to be sorted, modified and updated to be useful. But now, in a new generation that leverages a bit of artificial intelligence, app developers have a plan to make that easier. Gaining a mind of its own, your smartphone can do much more than we ask of it.

Tempo is a calendar app that uses learning algorithms to figure out what information you’re looking for, if not anticipate your needs. It’s a first generation of artificial intelligence applied to smartphones that considers all information sources available to present relevant information.

“After you grant Tempo access to your email and calendars, the app searches for all the tidbits of schedule-related information you have stored in your accounts, gathering it together and presenting it cleanly inside individual calendar events,” notes a Wired article.Going to a meeting across town? Given authorization, Tempo will take that calendar note to “meet client for lunch” and add access to recent email, relevant documents for the meeting, provide parking information at the location, information about the restaurant and check you in on Facebook or Foursquare, automatically.

Right now, we would need to open multiple apps to make that happen. In the future, we may just be along for the ride.

Passengers Refuse Startup Millionaire’s $100 Offer To Switch Seats

Facebook

Would you switch seats on a transatlantic flight if someone offered you $100? Jason Goldberg, founder and CEO of online shopping website Fab.com, can’t seem to understand why someone refused that same offer.

The startup millionaire asked surrounding passengers to trade seats so he could get work done with his business partner on a flight from Sweden to the United States. The passengers, who had already forked over more than $7,000 for the 9.5-hour ride, all declined his offer. One passenger said he wanted to be close to his family, while the other simply said “he was too comfortable to move,” according to a string of Facebook posts by Goldberg. Looks like when sitting in business class, Goldberg might need to up the ante on his offers.

Goldberg’s posts have gotten a lot of tongues wagging. Business Insider even broke out a seating chart to explain that its obvious why the passengers refused the offer.

Will Instagram’s New Embed Function Change Travel Blogging?


Instagram just announced users now have the ability to embed photos and videos, a move that has the potential to change the face of travel blogging. Now, even novices will be able to bypass fancy editing software and the hassle of YouTube or Vimeo uploads. Short clips can be composed, edited, uploaded and pasted to websites in a matter of minutes — while simultaneously being shared across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Seriously, it’s a shameless self-promoting traveler blogger’s dream come true.

Watch what a potential Instagram travel vlog (that’s a video blog, in case you didn’t know) could look like above, where McLean Robbins shows off a ghost town in Jerome, Arizona.

Of course, the downside is it’s highly likely there will be a lot more “cheating” by posting filtered photos online. And there will probably be more cliché photos — toes in a sandy beach, latte art, etc. — popping up on blogs. You win some, you lose some.

And by the way, follow us on Instagram for a constant feed of travel inspiration (how’s that for a shameless plug?).

What Would You Do With One Million Loyalty Points?

Loyalty
the Italian voice/Flickr

That’s the question 10 lucky winners will need to decide in Best Western International’s Loyalty Millionaires promotion, a part of their 25th anniversary celebration. Two randomly selected winners will be chosen each week through July 14, each winning one million bonus points to redeem in any way they like, and not just on hotel rooms either.

“Whether it’s a trip with the family or that special something you’ve been saving for, we hope our 10 lucky loyalty millionaires get their summer off to a great start,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International in a Broadway World article.
With more than 60 redemption options starting at 8,000 points, including free hotel nights, retail gift cards like Starbucks, Target, Home Depot and Amazon, BWR members have countless options to redeem their rewards points. One BWR member recently redeemed their points for retail partner gift cards and used them to buy a tractor.
Redemption options include free hotel nights as well as retail gift cards like Apple, Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Busch Gardens.

But what, exactly, might one million Best Western points get you? We did some calculations for a variety of stuff Gadling readers might want to have or do.For starters, a million points will get you about four months in a Best Western Hotel. But it will also enable buying 200,000 air miles on American, Delta, US Airways or Alaska Airlines. You could also get $3,846 in gift cards from Starbucks, Disney, Outback Restaurants or Dunkin Donuts. Want to spend those million points on gear? You could walk away with a Canon PowerShot A2600, some Beats by Dre Studio High-Definition Headphones, a Samsung 8GB Galaxy 2 Tablet 7″ Screen and tickets to see 400 movies at an AMC Theater with some change leftover.

Read more about Best Western Re
To enter, sign up for the free Best Western Loyalty program then register on the Loyalty Millionaire tab on their Facebook page.

New Loyalty Perks for Smartphone Shoppers