personal reflections

In Bed with HuffingtonPost, Twitter and SPG Insider

My morning routine on schooldays – my wife is a first grade public school teacher – is to scan the morning papers for any story of interest to stir my wife’s curiosity and wake her from morning sleep. Huffington Post is my usual stomping ground since a Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart video generally grabs her attention. No new videos today. So I went looking for details to see if the National Parks Service has issued the permit for the Saturday, October 30 rally on the Washington Mall. The permit was reportedly amended yesterday to up the attendance from 25,000 to 60,000 people.

Stephen Colbert – March to Keep Fear Alive

Jon Stewart – Rally to Restore Sanity

This morning I quickly browsed through the LA Times, San Jose Mercury, New York Times, CNN, and landed back on Huffington Post. Eventually I made my way to the Huffington Post Travel section.

Mall of America is getting the second Radisson Blu hotel in the U.S. But, I already knew that story.

Italy bans the plastic water bottle along heritage coastline. This one caught my interest due to a story I read yesterday about the first water fountain opening in Paris to dispense carbonated water. That article mentioned the fountains were common in Italy. My wife and I acquired a taste for carbonated water after a year’s worth of vacations in Europe this past decade. We have been weaning ourselves of the habit specifically due to the plastic bottle waste. But at least we drink our San Francisco produced Crystal Geyser and not some bottled sparkling water shipped from Europe. And I always recycle which is quite an ordeal in California with our antiquated redemption bottle recycling program.

Virgin Hotels is being launched by Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines fame. How often does Branson hit one out of the park? At 14 I liked to view my Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells LP record label. At 50 I like the mood lighting and white plastic interior of the Virgin America airplane. Can’t wait to see the Virgin hotel. But, I already knew that story too.

Hotel Kicks Out Cancer Patient After Bad TripAdvisor Review is a story I have seen around for days. This story even made its way to Lucky’s One Mile at a Time blog yesterday. But the Huffington Post story title was the first time I actually saw the word “cancer” in connection with the story. Kelley woke from her sleep and asked me to read the “Bad TripAdvisor” piece.

Adrian Healy and Sherrie Andrews were on a three day hotel stay at the Golden Beach Hotel in Blackpool, England. They were vacationing as a respite after his first round of chemotherapy treatment. The second night of their stay the hotel manager called Blackpool Police to evict the couple after he accused them of posting a bad TripAdvisor review.

My survey of the TripAdvisor reviews for the Golden Beach Hotel in Blackpool, England does not match up with the Sep 4 stay dates reported by the Blackpool Gazette. There is a September 8 review which appears to most closely relate to this story, however, the date is September 8, 2010 and the poster is listed as a 65+ year old man.

And here is the manager’s response to this review:

How would the Golden Beach hotel manager even know about the TripAdvisor review during the couple’s stay if this incident happened on September 3, 2010? Are hotels notified of TripAdvisor reviews before they are actually published?

There was a family with children negative review on September 4 and the next earlier date is August 27, 2010.

Things do not quite add up with this story.

Now I have written my fair share of negative hotel reviews. First word of advice is go to the hotel manager on duty during your hotel stay to remedy a bad situation. Then, write the hotel review after you have left the property.

So you say it’s your birthday, well it’s my birthday too

Today, September 23, is my wife’s birthday – Happy Birthday Kelley and Bruce Springsteen.

Readers new to Loyalty Traveler blog in 2010 may not be aware that my wife was diagnosed with rectal cancer in January 2009 and she went through nine months of cancer chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treatment. She has been cancer free for the past year.

SPG Insider is in bed with me and Huffington Post

After reading the TripAdvisor bad review story I noticed a Twitter link to instantly post the story to my Twitter account.

But what is this box for including “commercial text from Starwood Preferred Guest” on the Huffington Post page?

I checked the ‘Yes’ box to follow my own investigative travel journalism instinct.

And this is what it looked like when posting the TripAdvisor bad review story to Twitter.

[As a side note, The Bloggess is one of the funniest, irreverent women I follow. She was featured at BlogWorldExpo 2009 last October and I laughed so hard. She is a comic genius, if you are not too easily offended by her humor.]

Looking up #SPGInsider I see the twitter feed for HuffingtonPost travel is sponsored by Starwood Preferred Guest.

I don’t mind SPG being in my bed with me and HuffingtonPost. At least the option is there to not insert a #SPGInsider link in your tweet.

The internet is about brand exposure and data mining. The primary function for Twitter is self-promotion. The most practical use I have seen for Twitter is taking questions and comments remotely during a conference or seminar and displaying them for the audience to read in real time.

Hey SPG – isn’t HuffingtonPost leaning a little to the left? I actually voted for Arianna Huffington in the October 2003 California special election that gave us our 38th and current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Arianna is an example of someone who had the ability to change political views to evolve into a left leaning political machine.

So what’s next for SPG? Might I suggest a corporate sponsorship tweet link for Democracy Now.

I get the news that truly matters to me during the 6am hour here in Monterey when our local cable access channel broadcasts Democracy Now bringing Amy Goodman to our breakfast table, one of America’s finest journalists.