Last week, travel industry loyalty program software provider ezRez Software acquired San Francisco-based startup Topquest. That would be of little interest, except that the acquisition means the use of social media now translates into points on travel rewards programs from airlines and hotel chains.

“Topguest enables members of leading travel loyalty programs…to earn reward points for geo-located check-ins via their mobile devices. Powering direct links to Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter, Topguest helps travelers build their reward balances and receive exclusive offers and bonuses for simply using some of these popular social services,” said the December 13 press release.

While waiting to board the airplane, a traveler on airlines such as Continental or Virgin America can take a few minutes to take a photo, check-in using Foursquare, then share that information with their Facebook friends and be awarded with loyalty points for doing so.

Virgin America awards 25 Elevate points for sharing a location or a photo at a Virgin America airport terminal, baggage claim, or other venue. Hilton’s HHonors program gives an allotment of 50 points to hotel guests who share their location or a photo at Hampton® or DoubleTree by Hilton™ hotels.

Loyalty programs have long been standard fare for airlines and hotels wishing to inure travelers to remain true to their brand. Up to now, social media has not played a significant role in the process. This acquisition changes the dynamic by integrating the two approaches.

“Topguest has tapped into an exciting niche in the loyalty space, enabling members to generate tangible value from their daily interaction with Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks,” said Daniel Farrar, CEO of ezRez. “Loyalty programs, in turn, can leverage this increased engagement to help build stronger brand loyalty and enhance their direct marketing efforts.”

Companies participating in the Topquest program include: Hilton, Virgin America, Best Western, Wyndham, Kimpton and Continental/United.

Interested travelers can enroll in the program by going to Topguest.com.

Topguest loyalty program uses social media as a way for travelers to earn points.

 

Hilton HHonors gives hotel guests 50 points for using Foursquare.