A growing number of hotel chains are now using Google searches, and social media profiles, to gather information about their guests. Here are some examples:

  • The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort Googles every guest before they arrive. Then, managers create a paragraph-long “story” about each guest, to be distributed to the staff.

  • Also, if you book a room with the One And Only Resorts chain, the staff will immediately look you up on Facebook and Twitter. Then, they’ll create a detailed profile about you to keep on file.

Most people would call this “snooping.” But the hotel industry says it’s the latest trend in, quote: “customer relationship management.” Because the goal is to use all the information they find online to provide more personalized service. So, if your hotel finds a tweet announcing that it’s your wedding anniversary, then they might leave a bottle of champagne in your room. Or, they might see a lot of posts about how much you love a certain brand of chocolate bar. Then, they’ll make sure the minibar in your room is stocked with it.

One fancy hotel in Beverly Hills Googled a guest, found out that her dog’s name was “Bo” – and left a dog toy and a note in the room saying, “Bo misses you!” This kind of prying is the new pampering. And whether you’re aware of it or not, it’s something that all hotels do in some form or another. Because hotels have always kept files on us, tracking things like our room service preferences, which newspaper we prefer to read, or even which pay-per-view movies we’ve ordered. But now, with social media, it’s a lot easier to get that personal information.

So, what do you think about your hotel Googling you? Is it creepy, or customized service?