Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Barker

Ned Barker

President, Grill Ventures Consulting, Inc.

Ned Barker is a hotel industry veteran and principal of Grill Ventures International. In a former role as Vice President of F&B Franchise Services for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Mr. Barker worked with both hotels and third-party restaurants to create win-win partnerships. Specializing in F&B solutions, Grill Ventures works with both hotel and restaurant companies. Grill Venture's work includes concept development, strategy, operations / marketing review & analysis, and special one-off project assignments. Mr. Barker is a noted speaker who delights at sharing his expertise at hospitality and hotel management conferences. He is a frequent contributor to food and beverage publications such as In The Mix Magazine and Hotel F&B Magazine. Mr. Barker serves on the board of the Global Soap Project (www.GlobalSoap.org) which recycles discarded hotel bar soap into new bars that are shipped to vulnerable populations around the world. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and serves on the American Hotel & Lodging Association's (AH&LA) F&B Council.

Mr. Barker can be contacted at 404-547-1900 or Ned@Grillvi.com

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.