Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Pingston

Julie Pingston

President, Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA)

Julie Pingston, CMP, CTA is the current President of the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) and is Senior Vice President for the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau in Lansing, Michigan. She has been with the GLCVB for 21 years and works in conjunction with the Bureau's President in overall organizational operations. She also has direct oversight over convention services, membership, the Greater Lansing Sports Authority, the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program and special events which are coordinated by the organization. Previously, Ms. Pingston worked in Washington, D.C. for the United States Travel & Tourism Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce. While there, she assisted in planning international conferences and Board Meetings as well as administering a disaster relief assistance grant program. Ms. Pingston chaired ESPA's 2014 Annual Conference and is a member of MSAE, MMPI and the Rotary Club of Lansing. She also serves as the President of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, President of the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation and Secretary of the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan. Ms. Pingston was Michigan Meetings and Events Magazine's Hall of Fame Inductee/Supplier of the Year (2008), MSAE's Diamond Award Winner (2009), MMPI's Mentor of the Year (2011), ESPA's Member of the Year (2004), ESPA's President's Award Recipient (2009) and ESPA's Executive Excellence Award Recipient (2013).

Ms. Pingston can be contacted at 517-377-1412 or jpingston@lansing.org

Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.