Monthly Archives: July 2010

Social Media gaining popularity with corporate travel professionals

Mid-Size Companies Largest Adopters of Social Networking Support for Travel

New research by American Express Business Travel found that corporate travel professionals are increasingly using social media to communicate with travelers and to stay on top of latest travel industry information. Respondents also reported high expectations regarding their companies’ future social media usage plan, reporting that within the next year forums, webcasts, and online video are the most likely to be implemented by businesses.

The latest research report “Social Media in Business Travel Management” outlines the evolution of social media tools and sites from consumer use to business-to-business use, and illustrates how social media supports managed business travel today. The research also includes survey results conducted in the beginning of 2010 to reveal how individuals as well as their companies are currently embracing social media technology and how they might use these tools to support managed travel in the future.

Social Media Finds a Role in Corporate Travel

Social media has evolved to play a role in business travel programs. While half (50%) of respondents said that they use social media to some extent to support travel management today, mid-size companies ($3M to $10M USD in air volume) were the largest adopters (59%) of social media to support business travel management to date.

Many respondents indicated that the primary benefit of social media in supporting managed travel is educating themselves or their organization about the market. In fact, 44 percent indicated that staying on top of the latest travel information was the most important social media benefit. This response was followed closely by the interest in using social networking to learn and communicate best practices and reduce business travel costs (43%). Other findings include:

— 42% use social networking to look for preferred vendors and services from travelers

— 34% seek to uncover travel patterns that could lend to better vendor rates and services

— 27% look to gain visibility into traditionally siloed business functions/departments

— 26% use social media tools to encourage travelers to network with each other

— 18% network with other travel manager/procurement officer peers

Customization and Oversight Desired For Expanded Social Media Use

Of those survey respondents who do use social media to support travel management, when asked specifically what features or functionality would they add if they could design their own social media tools for professional use, the majority (61%) indicated they wanted flexibility to accommodate business travel management processes. Other top ranking features/functionality include:

— Real time updates such as mobile application, the ability to push out notifications and alerts (39%)

— Supervision of the entire social media sharing process and specific monitoring of those who are using social media tools (35%)

— Reporting ability — notification to website abuse, comments and security issues (29%)

Corporations Apprehensive About Implementing Social Media Tools

Even though the global economic crisis curbed spending, financing was not the main social networking adoption barrier. In fact, only six percent of respondents cited lack of funding as the most significant barrier or challenge to adopt social media tools.

The most significant barrier to adoption of social media as an organization has been the lack of direct benefits realization. Twenty percent found the business case for social media tools and usage within travel management programs unclear. Lack of strategy or understanding and lack of support from upper management each followed at 15 percent respectively.

Notably, only five percent of respondents indicated that they have had no barriers or challenges to adopt social media tools as an organization.

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Voluntourism

So you want to get away and try something different, but you’re also on a tight budget. Well, summer is not over yet! Be a socially responsible traveler and try voluntourism. Here’s some sites that will help you organize your travels, so you can hit the road and give back to the community while you’re at it:

1) Jaunted.com has some great domestic ideas from rebuilding a trail in Vail, Colo., to working with the National Wildlife Federation to help wildlife effected by the BP Oil Spill.

2) ResponsibleTravel.com has thousands of listings for a more sustainable vacation which respects the environment and local inhabitants. Responsible Travel is searchable by budget level, region, country, and even type of holiday and activities. Travelers are encouraged to review the tours they take, so you can also see others’ feedback on the trips you might be interested in.

3) Ecotour Directory currently lists 95 different eco holiday and responsible travel options, searchable by continent.

4) TrekAmerica hosts tour programs focusing on appreciating and respecting the natural environment throughout North America. You get the opportunity to experience some unique environments while simultaneously having a positive impact on the land.

5) Charity Guide’s Volunteer Vacations offers a number of 1-4 week vacation options from helping at children’s clinics to preserving wilderness trails to teaching math to kids in developing countries.

6) Global Volunteers is a clearinghouse of volunteer international service programs. While you do have to front your own travel costs, they offer assistance qualifying for discounts or fundraising the cost of your program fee.

P.S. Take note- you can be a “voluntourist” any time of the year. Giving back has no time limit! Have fun and be a global citizen!

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Is Santa Cruz City Council on the right track with new proposed ID law?

According to in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, police coping with an influx of criminals selling drugs and sex in motel rooms have turned to city leaders for help.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider a law requiring hotel and motel operators to verify the identity of guests, to help police track down those committing crimes in the city.

Many of the problematic guests hail from nearby cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and Salinas.

Current law requires guests list their name and address when registering but does not require official ID like a driver’s license. It also requires innkeepers to notify police of any guests younger than 16 who are not accompanied by an adult.

The law did not prevent a recent homicide in a Beach Hill motel room.

Robbie Reynolds, 18, was stabbed by another teen in a room at a hotel on Second Street in October 2008. The room was rented by a 14-year-old girl using a fake ID. Paradise Inn staff later said they believed she was an adult.

The proposed ordinance would also mandate that hotel and motel operators show the registration information to police.

With basic identification, officers can check a guest’s criminal history and gain an idea of what they are dealing with if they have to respond to a complaint at a hotel, instead of walking in “blind”.

Mayor Mike Rotkin said he believes the ordinance is reasonable.

Merry Crowen of the Santa Cruz County Hospitality and Lodging Association agreed, saying the language on acceptable forms of identification is broad enough so that it should not be a problem for hotel operators.

“If someone doesn’t want to provide ID, perhaps there’s a reason, and perhaps they are not someone we want staying there,” Crowen said. “It’s best for everyone and will allow the police department to enforce the requirement for some of the motels which are perhaps not being conscientious about identifying guests.”

The ordinance would require hotel clerks to record which identification was provided. Failing to do so would constitute an infraction. It would also be an infraction to use false identification to rent a room or try to rent a room.

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