Monday, September 11, 2006

Complaint is the Mother of Blog Invention

Business travel bloggers do not have the numbers to make a substantial difference because their Business travelers can be a demanding bunch because their travel experience informs them what makes for a good hotel stay and what leads to a poor one. Steve Broback thought he negotiated a good deal on a hotel room in New York City until he found that Internet connection was not included in his bill, even though he had been assured it would be.

So he got out his computer and created a blog called starting with how annoyed he was at his experience. The hotel saw it and offered to refund the difference. VoilĂ ! A blog is born.

One blogger blanched at Northwest Airline’s proposal to slap a $15 charge on certain popular economy class seats a fee that would also be applied to its elite-level. Travelers. Mark Ashley, who writes Upgrade: Travel Better , as well as other bloggers, criticized the move. The outcry led to an about face by the airline which hastily dropped the policy.

Marriott Hotels takes bloggers so seriously it offered to include them on press trips before extending the invite to print media. A member of its communication department was assigned to monitor blogs and find out what they were saying. It also started pitching exclusive news items to bloggers, ensuring Marriott’s information would get on the Internet faster. One of those bloggers on the receiving end of Marriott’s campaign is Gary Leff, a blogger who publishes View from The Wing .

Some bloggers have not let the euphoria of success go to their heads, though. Edward Jasbrouck is quick to point out that even though he wrote a “horror story” about the Transportation Security Administration, on his blog, The Practical Nomad the comments received no response.

Time is limited as they are, well traveling frequently for business, reckons JD Lasica of Shel Holtz, author of the blog Road Weary is a seasoned business traveler who believes that the business travel community isn’t blogging to its full potential. However, she is convinced this will change in a few years.

It will likely take a momentous story for business travel blogging to make its influence felt, says Alex Halavais, a “blogging expert” and assistant professor at Quinnipiac University.

Like most things, blogging does not become a compelling argument for change unless many people take the time to participate. By calling on people to share their experiences online, an argument for change can be effectively made. Companies like yours will benefit and you’ll build a stronger business.

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