TSA may soon take to Twitter
The TSA may be ready to talk to you now.
The Transportation Security Administration, following the lead of several major airlines, is considering a plan to respond directly to questions and comments from travelers, via Twitter.
The agency that was formed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks sent out a solicitation last week for a business to help the TSA create a Webbased system that lets a team of 10 employees respond to Twitter posts aimed at the agency. The TSA would reply with the handle @AskTSA.
“Our goal is to improve the traveler’s experience through one- to- one conversations on Twitter to actively assist customers before, during and after their travel,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said.
Many major airlines already use social media to communicate directly with their customers by answering questions in real time. In some cases, airline representatives give travelers specific information about their situation.
For example, Southwest Airlines passenger David Higgins posted a message on Twitter at 9: 49 a. m. Friday about missing his connecting f light in Dallas and having to sleep in Amarillo, Texas. In less than 15 minutes, @ Southwest Air responded with: “David, thanks for your patience. [ Direct message] us your confirmation number, and we’ll take a closer look.”
But don’t expect to get the TSA to divulge specific information about its security operations.
The solicitation said that the TSA wants to include in the proposed system a “robust content repository to store pre- approved content, canned responses and approved images.” Hotel lobbies turn into concert venues
Hotel lobbies are fast converting from a place to pick up and drop off a room key to a public living room, where guests hang out to enjoy snacks, drinks and listen to music.
Several small hotel brands, including Aloft, have turned their lobbies into small concert venues for local and lesser- known musical acts.
Marriott International, one of the world’s biggest hotel companies, is taking this idea a step further by partnering with Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, to arrange performances in hotel lobbies by established and emerging musicians.
The partnership will kick off Tuesday in London, where English singer and songwriter Jessie J will perform at the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel.
The move is intended to target millennials, who number more than 75 million in the U. S. and are expected to spend $ 226 million on travel this year, according to a Harris Poll survey.
Does that mean that your local hotel lobby might feature a set by Universal Music Group’s biggest clients, including Madonna, Sting, Mary J. Blige, Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez?
Jennifer Utz, vice president of Buzz Marketing and Partnership, said the artists will be matched with the hotel venue so that more popular acts will play at large hotel conference centers while up- and- coming bands might play in an intimate lobby setting.
“It will run the gamut of artist,” she said. “We are working to match them with our various properties.”
The good news is that all hotel performances will be free to guests, and, when space allows, to the general public, Utz said. Resort donates duvets to charity
Somewhere in Guatemala, orphans are running around wearing colorful outfits that may look familiar to former hotel guests of the Santa Barbara- area’s Bacara Resort and Spa.
That is because the outfits were made from used hotel duvets donated by the upscale resort.
The donations are another example of how some ho- tels are helping to turn their used linens, towels and bathroom amenities into donations for the needy. A Florida organization, Clean the World, has distributed more than 20 million bars of soap to poor people in 96 countries by collecting and recycling used soap from hotels.
Bacara teamed up with Direct Relief, a medical relief group based in Goleta, which transformed up to 400 donated duvets into outfits for children, as well as bags, blankets and washcloths.
The hotel had already been donating linen to the group to be made into rolls of bandages by a group of women known as the “Holy Rollers.”
There are unexpected business considerations to such charitable efforts.
“Guests find this endearing and it creates loyalty, which helps bring guests coming back,” said Kathleen Cochran, the resort’s managing director.
SOME small hotel brands, including Aloft, have turned their lobbies into concert venues. Above, Avril Lavigne performs at the Highline Ballroom in 2013.