We know that #hashtags are silly.
We also know that Twitter is a force to be reckoned with.
Twitter hashtags can be seen during TV shows, in newspaper and magazine articles and ads, on bus and train station displays, on food, in Facebook posts (yuk!).
So, what can be said in 140 characters that would constitute a travel deal?
This post will not be a lesson in how to use Twitter, although I give tips on how to participate in twitter travel chats. Instead, I list most of the recurring twitter travel chats and why they are effective in finding travel deals. Plus there is the potential to win prizes.
Generally, a Twitter travel chat has a specific hashtag (such as #ExpediaChat) and occurs at a specific time (like 1:30pm-3pm EST on Tuesdays). By the way, #ExpediaChat is an actual chat!
To participate, be on Twitter during the time range of the chat. A host** (or commonly, hosts) will post a question. The question will be in the format :
Q#: blah blah blah #TravelChatName
This question was from the #TNI (traveller’s night in) chat.
To answer the question, jump in the fray with a response in this format:
A#: blah blah blah #TravelChatName
such as (again, actual answer): A7: Always on the lookout for ‘funny pics’ to take
Most Twitter travel chat questions are timed 10 minutes apart. The timing works well to allow plenty of banter. Many of the answers are funny, clever, brilliant, controversial, you name it. People develop their own side conversations. Tough to describe in a short post but I assure you it is fun. And FREE.
Although there is no defined protocol, for the #TL_Chat there are formal Terms and Conditions.
I must say, though, that there are cliques, just as in real life. Reminds me of Mean Girls. Some participants only engage with their peeps.
TIP: Don’t take it personally if the host or the popular people do not respond. There are plenty of friendly participants. Just keep answering and responding when someone engages you.
TIP: I often use TweetDeck to filter conversations. Other people like HootSuite.
How To Win Prizes?
The large chats are sponsored by companies, such as Expedia. Many Twitter travel chats have different sponsors each chat. Most sponsors provide prizes during the chat.
Winners are selected at discretion of the sponsors or hosts: could be most clever response, most retweets, or random draw. I won a prize pack from TripIt in one travel chat. Yesterday, Hyatt gave out two-night stays. The #ExpediaChat prize is often a $500 gift certificate. A trip to Jamaica was given out this week on another chat. Wow!
As they say, you cannot win if you do not play. Participate in Twitter travel chats and you might get lucky.
How To Find Travel Deals?
OK, by now, you know that people love to share travel tips on the Internet. My blog is one source, along with thousands of others. Similarly, people love to share advice, tips, strategies on Twitter. We just have to do it in 140 characters (less with the dedicate hashtags for the chat name).
For instance, noon to 1pm EST on Fridays (today) is the #TravelSkills chat. The two hosts (Johnny Jet and Chris McGinnis) are travel industry giants. Responses from chat participants have a wealth of travel tips and advice.
In other chats, people will share favorite spots for Fall travel, cruise do’s and don’ts, long term travel tips, and destination specific advice (such as in the #FlKeys chat).
Sponsors will also share their current promotions. Cheap Caribbean shared several special deals in a chat this week.
Listing of Twitter Travel Chats
I have not found a comprehensive list of Twitter travel chats. The list below is the best I have found. It is from Joe Cortez of NoWineLeftBehind.com. Yes, that website name alone tells you how much fun some of these travel chats can be. Right?
The items in bold I added. Schedules may change, so confirm the day and time before dedicating your schedule!
-#GirlsTravel – 2pm-3pm EST
-#TravelPics – 3pm-4pm EST
-#GoLikeAPro – 12 Noon-1pm EST
-#CruiseChat – 2pm – 3:30pm EST
-#NUTS – 3:30pm-5pm EST
-#TTOT – 5:30pm-6:30pm EST
-#PureWander – 9pm – 10pm EST
#TL_chat – 2pm EST
-#WeGoSolo – 11am – 12 Noon EST
-#RATW – 12 Noon-1pm EST
-#ExpediaChat – 1:30pm-3pm EST
-#SeeTheWorld – 3pm-4pm EST
-#RTWChat – 3pm-4pm EST
-#Travex – 5pm-6pm EST
-#FlKeys – 1pm EST
-#jsett – 3:00 EST
-#TNI – 3:30pm-5pm EST
-#livethedream – 7:00 EST
-#tourismchat – 3pm (bi-weekly)
-#TravelSkills – 12 Noon-1pm EST
-#CLU – 3pm-4pm EST
-#FriFotos – all day
-#SBTC – 12 Noon-1pm EST
** I was a host last Friday for the premiere edition of the #CLU travel chat. It was FUN!