Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Holmerud

Justin Holmerud

Global Social Media Manager - Platforms & Tools, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Justin Holmerud is Global Social Media Manager for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, responsible for driving platform and tool development to meet the needs of the company’s more than 1,110 hotels around the world. Mr. Holmerud joined Starwood in 2007, out of their regional Field Marketing office in San Diego. In his five years with Starwood, Mr. Holmerud has led regional hotel online marketing as well as search engine optimization and social media for all of the North American hotels. In April 2012, he was promoted to his current global role within Starwood’s digital team, focusing on platforms, tools and analytics. Prior to joining Starwood, Mr. Holmerud was the online marketing manager for the Dyson News Network. Working with Yahoo! Finance, Mr. Holmerud helped syndicate the Real Estate news videos that DNN produced on a daily basis. He also led the paid search and SEO efforts for the company with a focus on reporting and analytics. Mr. Holmerud is a graduate of San Jose State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism. During his time there, he interned with the marketing team for Fox Sports Bay Area.

Mr. Holmerud can be contacted at 206-494-0132 or justin.holmerud@starwoodhotels.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.