In August 2011, social media and public relations expert Peter Shankman was in the midst of an exhausting business trip. With a Newark to Tampa flight at 7 a.m. and a return flight scheduled at 5 p.m. the same day, Peter’s tight schedule only allowed for a scheduled lunch meeting and barely anything else. Tired and hungry, Mr. Shankman sent out this joking Tweet before his final flight took off:
Thinking nothing more of it, he shut off his phone and enjoyed the flight back home. But when Peter got off the plane and met up with his car service, there was a second person waiting for him.
A tuxedoed host from a nearby Morton’s The Steakhouse in Hackensack introduced himself and handed Peter a bag containing a “24 oz. Porterhouse steak, an order of Colossal Shrimp, a side of potatoes, one of Morton’s famous round things of bread, two napkins and silverware”—all prompted by the lone Tweet he wrote. If this sounds logistically impressive, Mr. Shankman detailed just how amazing it really was:
“Morton’s Hackensack is 23.5 miles away from EWR … in just under three hours, someone at Morton’s Corporate had to see my tweet, get authorization to do this stunt, get in touch with Morton’s Hackensack, and place the order. Then, Morton’s Hackensack had to cook the order, get it boxed up, and get a server to get in his car, and drive to Newark Airport … (then) track down my flight, where I was landing, and be there when I walked out of security!”
Peter’s experience happened mainly due to two things. Firstly, Peter is a loyal Morton’s customer and talks about his experiences often on Twitter and on his blog. In fact, his visits are frequent enough that he’s shown up on Morton’s national customer relationship management (CRM) system as a loyal customer. Secondly, Morton’s has an amazing and responsive social media presence, responding to every tweet directly, and is incredibly conscious of Facebook, Google+, Instagram, etc.
But Peter’s incredible tale is just as much about business travel as it is about social media. As regular travelers, we’re always wanting to try new things and experience the world around us. However, as creatures of habit, we also tend to gravitate towards the same products and services because of the consistency we get in return. If you find that your travels bring you to the same restaurants, shops, and services, let them know that you’re an active customer. If you receive a great customer service experience, write about it on Twitter. If something clever happened with a product, snap a picture and post it on Instagram. If you have a horrible encounter with a brand, (constructively!) talk about it on Facebook.
Companies like Morton’s are becoming exponentially savvier when it comes to social media, tracking both positive and negative feedback. They likely won’t hand-deliver a meal to you out of thanks, but more companies will acknowledge your great experiences. Even better, more businesses are responding personally through social media to your downbeat encounters as well.
Tell us about your experiences of bringing social media into your travels. Have you received any personal responses from the airlines, hotels, airports, etc.?