If you're one of the reported 232 million active users who use Twitter to find news, follow celebrities or share life events with friends, you can add a new function to the list of reasons for staring at your mobile device: now you can make vacation plans too.
Loews Hotels & Resorts recently became the first hotel company to book reservations via Twitter, but people are increasingly booking travel using their mobile devices.
By using the #BookLoews hashtag in a tweet to @Loews_Hotels expressing interest in a reservation, travelers will be prompted by a Loews Travel Planner to enter a secure chat conversation "to process personal and payment information in a PCI-compliant digital environment" that protects all credit card information, a spokesperson told ABC News.
"When it comes to reservations, we recognize that giving consumers the option of booking efficiently on a network where they are already engaging on a daily basis is going to set us apart and grow our consumer base in a meaningful way," said Piper Stevens, director of social media, Loews Hotels & Resorts.
The exchange goes something like this:
"Good morning! We're ready to assist you with Twitter Reservations – use #BookLoews to initiate a conversation," now announces the @Loews_Hotels Twitter handle each morning.
Then tweets such as "@loews_hotels #bookloews can I have a deal at miami beach for january 5, 2014? Thanks" or "@loews_hotels Looking to #bookloews in NYC. How do I go about doing this through Twitter?" trickle in throughout the day.
Since launching in mid-November, 176 inquiries have generated more than 90 bookings via Twitter, according to Loews Hotels & Resorts data. But the company expects that number to rise soon.
"The launch is very new," said, Sarah Murov, a spokesperson for Loews Hotels & Resorts. "As we move into 2014 we feel this form of booking will become even more popular."