I travel quite a bit, and I always appreciate the extra mile hotel personnel will go to in order to make my stay excellent. So it’s no surprise to me the lengths the hotel industry goes to in the name of great customer service. These days hotels are looking to social media to improve service and connect with customers.

Remember when you had to call the front desk or wait in line for the concierge to ask a question?  Consumers can simply tweet a question or a request to the hotel’s concierge even while they’re out exploring the city. They do this by using or searching on a hash tag term such as #frontdeskhotelname. There they would see a string of conversations, recommendations from other guests and even alerts to coupons and deals in the area.

One UK hotel chain Premier Inn is encouraging its customers to tweet questions about anything that interests them, to the delight of enthusiastic guests. And Hyatt reports having great success with Twitter Concierge launched last year.

Twitter is also a tool used for resolving complaints, as Marriott has learned. The chain has two full-time people working its Twitter feed, who scour Twitter looking for tweets from people posting frustrations they’ve experienced at Marriott hotels.

Location-based apps like Foursquare and Facerbook Places are also gaining popularity with hotel guests. When Foursquare users use their mobile phones at the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, they unlock a coupon for a complimentary glass of champagne.

What else are hotels doing to reach their customers via social media? Creating guest communities online, posting last-minute deals to reduce inventory and rewarding frequent travelers club members for starters, but most of these ideas are in the experimental stage. For now.

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