Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Robot vs. Human

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

manvsmachineWhen was the last time that you called up a company for information and were patched directly through to a fellow human? I can’t remember when.

In the past 30 days I’ve been on the phone with a cable company, a cell phone company, a bank, a law firm, two kinds of insurance companies, plus a pet store. The only time I was actually patched in directly to a live person was the later – the pet store – although they weren’t particularly helpful and I should really be adopting from a shelter anyway.

In any case, I submit that few things are more annoying than punching through a handful of phone prompts, listening to hold music, then stumbling through more prompts before realizing what you need isn’t one of the touch tone options and that you’ll have to wait for a human anyway.


Please allow me to introduce you to This is a directory of companies, phone numbers and reviews, compiled by for and of the people, which offers not only a guide on how to bypass phone prompts, but details the best way to get the most out of any listed companies customer service department.

From their site, “The GetHuman™ movement has been created from the voices of millions of consumers who want to be treated with dignity when they contact a company for customer support.”

The GetHuman site was created by Paul English (also the co-founder of, a site that lets you search flights, hotels and cheap travel deals all in one place) in the mid 2000’s and has grown through the hard work and diligence of their team as well as the support and input from readers like you.

Using the recommendations on the site, I rarely get stuck punching through phone prompts anymore. I’ve also gathered a healthy respect for those companies that patch you straight through to a human representative. I hope that as time passes, consumer feedback and experience leads to a friendly sea-change in the service industry.

Robot vs. Human?

Human > Robot.

Highlights from PRSA Travel & Tourism 2010: Angela Berardino, Turner PR, & Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference in Beautiful Aspen, Colorado.  I’m here with Angela.

Angela, will you please introduce yourself?

ANGELA BERARDINO:  Hi, I’m Angela Berardino.  I’m the senior director for travel and emerging media at Turner Public Relations.

BURKE:  And what are some of the trends that you’re seeing specifically as they relate to travel and tourism in the industry right now?

BERARDINO:  I think one of the larger trends is the continuing evolution of geolocation technology, so the idea that content someone creates can have a GPS tag on it and can be sorted based on where it was created.  We’re seeing that with services like Goala and Foursquare, that, you know, let users check in to a social network. But also in how photography and video and even just website content, it can actually be filtered based on where the user’s at, especially if they’re using their phone. So I think how travel industry creates content and how it’s sorted is going to continue to evolve.  It’s no longer just about the words that are used, it’s–can also be about the physical location that it was taken in.

BURKE:  Great.  And, Angela, where can people find you in the web and in social media?

BERARDINO:  Sure.  I tweet under @CoTravelGirl.  And I also blog at

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.


Taking A Step Back: Reflecting On Your PR Career

Monday, April 26th, 2010

by Colleen Flood*

I received an email from my cousin Maureen last week requesting a favor.  Her girls, my first cousins once removed and who happen to be triplets, are working on a Girl Scout project related to public relations. Maureen, the leader of the troop, asked if I could provide some information to them about my job at BurrellesLuce and public relations in general. Any information I could provide would be a starting point for them to understand the industry.  Then, on their own, they would do further research in order to complete the project, such as obtaining

Flickr Image: HckySo

Flickr Image: HckySo

press releases, creating a press kit, role-playing how to handle bad publicity, creating a sales pitch, being a spokesperson for a non-profit, using technology, etc.

Naturally I thought this was great! My 13 year old cousins are learning about the PR industry, a field many adults don’t even grasp. David Mullen addressed this in his blog “How Do You Explain PR to People?” He states:

“I help companies communicate with people – customers, employees, legislators. And with you! If you’ve read a story in a newspaper or on on a new product, a PR pro shared that with the reporter and lined up the interviews. If you see a business leader delivering a speech, a PR pro probably wrote it. If you happen across a really cool event in Bryant Park, a PR pro likely played a major part in the idea behind it. We work with executives to figure out the smartest, most effective ways to engage with people, let them know what’s going on with the company, and get their thoughts and feedback.”  

A great explanation from David, but my cousins had more questions… As I began to answer the list they sent me, I also reflected on my own career.  How I got into it, what I love about it, and how much experience I have gained over the years. I have included a few samples of the questions (and my answers) which I really enjoyed thinking about.

1.  What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part is helping my clients do their job better. Also, attending social events is fun, too, and I have even met a few famous journalists. I attended a luncheon with Katie Couric! I also belong to professional organizations such as New York Women in Communications, The Public Relations Society of America, and The Publicity Club of New York.

2.  What type of training and experience did you need?  Since I work with clients in the public relations industry, I need to have an understanding of media and journalism. I was also trained on how my company monitors the media – for print and online news and magazine articles, social media, video and blogs, and more. 

3.  Do you still learn on the job?  Yes, especially now since media is changing and incorporating both traditional print media and online media.

4.  What type of companies does your company work for? Describe your customers. My company works with anyone or any company who needs to know where and when they are mentioned in the media. I specifically work with public relations agencies. These are firms who do PR for clients who hire them. They often specialize in a certain industry like fashion, beauty, toys or travel. My specific clients are located in New York City and New Jersey.

5.  What is the most interesting thing that you’ve learned or done in your job? There are so many interesting things I have done and learned during my career. I have been able to travel to meet clients, attend networking functions (one I went to was on board the U.S.S. Intrepid in San Diego!) It has also been rewarding to manage, train, and mentor others on all I have learned throughout my career. I enjoy the fact that I work with smaller clients, as well as  with big name clients and can build personal relationships with both. 

6.  How do you use technology in your job?  I think the coolest technology we use is this system that scans thousands of newspapers and magazines to find client product names or keywords. However, we still use humans to make sure the keyword is really what the client is looking for. We also use technology to deliver results to our clients.

7.  What are you most proud of in your career?  The loyal, strong relationships I have made with my clients.  

How would you answer these questions about your career? 


*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce