Social media has become essential to travel planning, whether you're looking for inspiration, choosing a hotel, finding a deal, or even filing a complaint. But who are the travel industry's true innovators? On the occasion of the 2013 Social Media in Travel and Tourism (SMITTY) Awards — accepting nominations now through March 1 — Travel + Leisure is hosting a live Twitter chat on February 21, at 2 p.m. ET. We'll talk to the key influencers and most engaging voices about which platforms are most effective, what campaigns have worked the best, and what social media blunders we can all learn from. Social media experts will share who they're following and the best tools to manage their brands. And past SMITTY winners will be on hand to talk about how they continue to break new ground.

Please join host Rich Beattie, T+L's Executive Digital Editor, for the chat today, Thursday, February 21st from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

  • How does it work?
  • 1. Log in to Twitter any time from 2–3 p.m. EDT and be sure to follow the chat host: @TravlandLeisure
  • 2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow.
  • 3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to
  • 4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own answers to our questions! Or ask your own questions! Take advantage of this special access expert social media and travel advice.

To apply for a SMITTY, submit your entry here.