Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Benjamin

Mike Benjamin

Vice President Sales, Guestware

Mike Benjamin is the Vice President of Sales and co-owner of Guestware – a hospitality customer relationship management (CRM) and Guest Experience software and solution provider. Mr. Benjamin co-founded the company in 1990 after working at Boeing for five years as a Mechanical Engineer. In the early days of the company, the business developed custom software for many industries. By 1993, they had established a niche in the lodging industry with an innovative guest response system used by hotels to track service requests and problems. By 1996, the software had evolved into a fully developed hotel CRM system for hotels and resorts, and the trade name Guestware was formed. Guestware is a powerful, integrated CRM software solution used by hospitality companies around the world to attain the highest levels of guest satisfaction. Guestware collects, manages and reports on all guest information in one comprehensive database, enabling hotels and resorts to improve the guest experience while enhancing operational efficiencies. Behind the scenes, Guestware delivers actionable information to the right people by complementing and enhancing existing property management systems, hotel operations, and marketing to help hospitality companies share information and realize departmental collaboration—all with the goal of improving the overall hotel guest experience. Mr. Benjamin is actively involved in many aspects of running the business including strategic planning, marketing, and major account management. In addition, he leads the sales team, professional services group and business partner relations at Guestware. Mr. Benjamin is actively involved in the international expansion of the business helping acquire 1,000 customers in over 75 countries with resellers in China, Middle East, and Europe. Please visit http://www.guestware.com for more information.

Mr. Benjamin can be contacted at 206-233-0110 or mike.benjamin@guestware.com

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.