“Social media is a great tool for us to personalize their experience and make them feel special during their stay,” said Loews spokeswoman Christina VerHeul, who added that the hotel tracked down the birthday of a guest through social media and put a cake in her room. The hotel also learned the hobby of an arriving celebrity and had a local store custom-design a Melin brand skate cap with a diamond in its bill. Chekitan Dev, an associate professor at Cornell’s hotel school, also receives unexpected bounty. An allergy sufferer, he breathed easier when The Breakers Palm Beach offered him a humidifier. New York’s Carlyle Hotel placed initialled pillows on his childrens’ beds. All this information, he said, was gleaned from the public domain. “There’s no downside if this is done well,” he said. The prevailing wisdom in the industry is that guest information is already public on their Web pages and they appreciate the micropersonal touch. Others caution that taking information to improve a customer experience crosses a privacy tripwire: It’s mildly creepy. “Just because it’s visible to the public doesn’t mean I’ve waived my privacy rights,” said David Fewer, director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Get the full story at The Globe and Mail