Five ways you can screw with travel companies via social media

The travel industry is interested in what you have to say. Everything. I know this seems crazy. I mean, when was the last time you felt an airline employee was actually listening to you? Well, that sector is among the travel businesses paying close attention to you.

I saw on PRNewser yesterday that travel and hospitality companies are using online monitoring tools to keep track of what you tweet and post while you’re on vacation. This should come as no surprise, of course: it’s standard practice in any business to monitor online customer behavior (how do think Amazon generates such awesome product recommendations for you?). What you may not realize is that this is an opportunity with endless potential for mischief.

So, you have the travel industry’s ear … what are you going to do with it? Here are five ideas for you:1. Take it seriously: you could always start from the belief that you should tweet and share responsibly. After all, the folks monitoring you will do a better job of meeting your needs if you tell them what exactly they are.

Of course, there’s no fun in this …

2. Livetweet the most boring details you can find: imagine being the public relations jockey stuck monitoring a hotel’s @ reply stream as it fills with such observations as “the carpet is still beige” and “yep, that’s a mighty fine shower curtain”.

3. Say a thousand words the easy way: pictures, pictures, pictures! I suggest taking snapshots of every piece of silverware at every meal and asking for the travel company’s social media slave guru to comment on each.

4. Ask mundane questions: imagine the person on the other side of the computer growing red with frustration as you ask how to get from the pool to the bar … and you gleefully offer thanks packed with emoticons.

5. Complain: it’s the American way!