Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Barnes

Karyl Leigh Barnes

Executive Vice President & Partner, Development Counsellors International

Karyl Leigh Barnes is the managing partner of the Tourism Practice at Development Counsellors International (DCI), leading destination marketing campaigns from offices in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, Canada. Founded in 1960, DCI has worked with more than 450 countries, regions, states and cities to drive investment and tourism leads. Since joining DCI in 1998 from a New York State destination marketing organization, Ms. Barnes has led destination strategy and campaign implementation for destinations on every continent except Antarctica. DCI’s Tourism Practice has been recognized recently for its campaign to introduce Namibia to North American travelers, which garnered a Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Platinum Award in 2014, and its work to promote surf culture in Huntington Beach, California, through its “Guinness World Record Surf Board Activation” which was named a HSMAI Platinum Award winner and “Best In Show” in 2015. The campaigns she designs with her colleagues not only win awards, but increase visitor arrivals and spending to destinations. This helps to create jobs in local communities and improve the quality of life for residents living there. Karyl Leigh is often asked to speak on leisure tourism and meetings industry trends and has been featured at conference by IACC, International Congress and Conference Association (ICCA), IMEX America, IMEX Frankfurt, North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC), and numerous Governor’s tourism conferences and tourism summits. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and newborn son.

Ms. Barnes can be contacted at 212-444-7123 or karyl.barnes@aboutdci.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.