Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gilbert

Robert Gilbert

President & CEO, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association Int. (HSMAI)

For the last decade, Bob Gilbert has been guiding HSMAI through an exciting period of change. At the helm of what has become the definitive hospitality and travel marketing association in the world, he has made tremendous strides and enjoyed great successes as he’s worked to establish HSMAI as the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry. During his tenure, HSMAI has launched a number of initiatives. In keeping with its overall objective to create relevance for its members and to be a vital information source for the industry at large, HSMAI has created Special Interest Groups (SIG) in five key industry segments: Travel Internet Marketing; Revenue Management; Resort Marketing; Hotel Director of Sales & Marketing and Sales and Marketing Faculty. Each SIG is strategically focused on the needs and concerns of its individual discipline and constituency, and reaches out to educate and inform its members through initiatives such as strategy conferences, webinars and publications. Furthermore, under Mr. Gilbert’s guidance HSMAI has strengthened its chapters worldwide, with presence now in North America, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia/Pacific. Prior to joining HSMAI in 1995 (in an executive capacity), Mr. Gilbert was the vice president of marketing for Richfield Hospitality Services, Inc., at the time, the largest hotel management company in the world, where he oversaw the corporate marketing support for all Richfield hotels, which included product from every price tier in the industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and has been a member of HSMAI since joining the student chapter at Cornell. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the School and is on the adjunct faculty of the summer executive education program. Mr. Gilbert serves on the Board of Directors of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and the Convention Industry Council (CIC), is on the HITEC Advisory Council, and is also on the Board of Trustees for the World Tourism Foundation as well as the Travel and Tourism Coalition of the Travel Industry Association of America.

Mr. Gilbert can be contacted at 703-506-3280 or bgilbert@hsmai.org

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.