Hotels And Airlines Tell Social Media Users To Turn It Off

Hospitality providers and social media users can have a love-hate relationship: savvy hoteliers and restaurateurs navigate these connections skillfully, while others implodein ways that are spectacular to watch (from a safe distance).

Some hotels and airlines have gone downright anti-social in ways that seem counter intuitive to all marketing credos. The Check Out Suite in Hotel Bellora, in Gothenburg, Sweden, recently ran a promotion to tempt families to go without wifi during their visit in exchange for a free night’s stay. Guests plugged their devices into a specially wired lamp that measured Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat and Twitter usage by changing color from white to red. “The price of the hotel room increases as the light changes from 0 sek to full price with a cost of 20 sek per minute spent online,” says the hotel website. “After recommended recreational screen time of 30 minutes per person (two hours for a family with four members) the lamp switches to red and you have reached full price for The Check Out Suite.” There’s no word whether or not the chosen guests were able to resist temptation for the duration of their stay — but given that a recent poll by Asurionrevealed the 2,000 Americans surveyed check their phones an average of 80 times a day while on vacation, with some checking their phone more than 300 times each day, it seems unlikely.

Can people unplug during vacation? Hotels and airlines are betting they can’t.  Photo from Getty.GETTY

Over time, hoteliers around the world have tried to get guests to unplug (both for health reasons, and, one could guess, for the side perks of lower bandwidth consumption per guest.)

“Wyndham knew it had a problem when hotel managers requested more beach chairs to accommodate all the people who would sit in them and stare at their phones,” reports CTV. “It discovered that the average resort guest was bringing three devices and checking them once every 12 minutes — or roughly 80 times a day.” Certain Wyndham properties started offering benefits such as dedicated pool chairs and snacks in exchange for guests locking their phones in soft pouches that can only be opened by hotel staff. The Ayana Resort in Baliplaced a ban on all electronic devices by one of the 12 pools on property, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but worried guests can sip on the Digital Detox cocktail — vodka, yuzu, honey and clear tomato juice — as a distraction.

Up in the air, JetBlue ran a giveaway contest where participants could win an All You Can Jetunlimited flight pass…for a price. In order to start with a blank slate, JetBlue required contestants to wipe their Instagram feed clean. “We hope this will serve as inspiration to refill their slate with the activities, places and people they will visit – wherever that may be,” Heather Berko, managerof advertising and content at JetBlue, told Travel + Leisure.

Ultimately, the goal of all these promotions is, of course, to start buzz on the very social media outlets that they are asking guests to eschew. Perhaps they have a point — the less noise there is, the easier it is to hear the conversation.