It may not come as a surprise that this movement is being powered by microblogging sites like Twitter, which allows travelers to communicate in short, 140-character bursts of text, and Facebook, the ubiquitous social networking site. (For more on microblogging and travel, see my recent column on the subject.) Sites like these let travelers share information almost at the same rate they receive it (or "real time," in tech parlance), which is something previous Web-based services didn't let travelers do.

But few people have come to understand the far-reaching implications of the technology. Talk with someone like Cheryl Spezia, the vice president of marketing at the Destin, Fla.-based vacation rental company ResortQuest, and you get a sense that the relationship between the travel industry and its customers is being rewritten. "The dynamics have changed," she says.

ResortQuest's Twitter presence has helped guests get quick answers -- and sometimes action -- about their accommodations. In one memorable case, a condo with a broken air conditioner that was in less-than-presentable shape was promptly fixed when it was brought to the company's attention through Twitter.

Get the full story at the Chicago Tribune