February FOCUS: Social Media

February, 2019

Social Media: Getting Personal

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.

This month's feature articles...

Stuart   Butler

How your hotel handles the guest relationship is one of the most critical components to running a successful property. Often, the approach that is taken with guests while they are on property is mirrored in the manner in which your property responds to online reviews. In this article, we break down some of the good, the bad, and the ugly responses that real hotels have made to negative online reviews and we discuss ways to limit the damage the original review may have caused, while also avoiding making things worse. READ MORE

Kathleen Hayn

In today's interconnected world of marketing, social media remains a growing area for businesses to attract new customers on various platforms to grow their brand. Now companies in every industry are integrating Influencer Marketing within their campaigns as a new way to reach audiences on various platforms. As this practice evolves, there are various best practices that should be followed when executing an Influencer Marketing campaign such as picking the right platform and being aware of what metrics are crucial to monitor. This article will take you through the foundational do's and don'ts when it comes to working with an influencer to promote your business. READ MORE

Janelle Schwartz

Hoteliers must be plugged into social media 24/7 to know what's happening and be ready to provide meaningful and helpful posts when there's a crisis. Just as anyone with a social media account can post bad news, the same technology can enable organizations to defend themselves and share information that may help mitigate a crisis. Comprehensive social listening can help organizations gain insights about issues before they escalate into a crisis, provide advance warning that a crisis is brewing, help identify problem issues and provide enough information to develop a strategy to address them. READ MORE

Dean Minett

Social media has opened up wonderful new opportunities for hoteliers, but has also exposed them to a range of new risks. Our reputations are closely linked to guest reviews, and our style of engagement affects how the public see our properties. Avenues for advertising have taken new shapes with the rise of social media influencers, while the forward march of technology and service trends is never-ending. It wouldn't be smart to plug your ears and ignore it all (as there is a lot of leverage to be gained through social media) but at what point does the noise become deafening? At one point should a hotel ignore the growing buzz and be loyal to its own identity? READ MORE

Bruce  Seigel

Launching a new social media channel can be daunting. Whether debuting a brand new property, renovating an outlet or seeking to expand existing hotel channels; it is important to develop a strong brand voice, leverage influencers, curate content and consistently engage with users. Guests follow the property social media handles to learn more, engage with the property, and share their experiences with friends and family. Developing and maintaining strong social media channels are a critical part of brand reputation and guest engagement. READ MORE

Christina Leme

Twitter is just like the new world of online dating. You need to swipe right on (signal affinity for) many potential suitors to match with just one normal person. And getting a match is only the start. You still need to spark a conversation and tailor it to the interests they've indicated on their profile. Careful though! If you take too long to answer, they may lose interest. Or worse-inundate you with angry follow up messages for "ghosting" them. READ MORE

Megan (Sterritt) Taylor

For the past several years working with influencers has been a cost-effective tool for brands, including hotels and resorts, to reach target markets. But as an influencer's follower count gets higher and higher, so too does their partnership fee. A better option now is micro-influencers and nano-influencers. They allow brands to significantly narrow down targets without a very large fee. And, with precision targeting, help brands reach new markets. In the article, we will take a look at three ways KWE Partners helped client Grand Velas reach new markets without increasing their budget. READ MORE

Mia Schipani

Personalization and "people relations" have become a priority for businesses and especially hotels to succeed today. As always, relationship-building has been the key to sales and marketing successes across all industries. Businesses that proactively invest in their relationships with a human-touch, reap the best return on their investments, says Mia Schipani, President of Schipani PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in hospitality. READ MORE

Babs S. Harrison

Traditional media - remember them? In the rush to embrace social media, plenty of hotel and resort sales, marketing and PR executives have lost sight of the onetime mainstays of influence but they are missing out on grand opportunities to get their messages out. Traditional media have almost become a secret weapon among savvy marketers - the power is there if you know how to harness it. That's what this article is about: Integrating traditional media into a full throttle campaign that hits all the 21st-century buttons - and a few now neglected 20th-century ones too! READ MORE

Gio Palatucci

At the intersection of hospitality social media campaigns and esteemed industry influencers, you'll find a select few social media users fraudulently touting tremendous influence over their too-good-to-be-true number of followers. The social media influencer industry is not going away anytime soon, so it's more important than ever to keep your brand safe and in the eyes of your target audiences. Marketers are finally talking about the issue of influencer fraud openly, to put these potential negative brand representatives on notice. A watchful eye for influencer red flags will help hotel brands search, recruit and manage influencers for a positive campaign. READ MORE

Garrett Kingsbury

For hotels, using Instagram is a win-win, it's free and the opportunity for engagement is endless – as long as you're using the platform in a compelling way. With over a billion active users, Instagram is quickly gaining steam as the social platform of choice, with much higher engagement over Facebook. Although smaller, the IG community is loyal and more active with brands. If you're new to Instagram, or just looking for a few tips to keep your content engaging, we've put together a quick guide of Dos and Don'ts to make your IG account a fan favorite. READ MORE

Gaurav Varma

A growing number of brands and businesses are using social media to tell a more authentic story and to connect with consumers of all demographics. Social media marketing for businesses means more than just posting content on these platforms but its more around building trust and forming meaningful long-term relationships with their audiences. 2018 was an interesting year with several opportunities and saw the rapid growth of live and dynamic content across social channels. As 2019 kicks off we are going to see another year when social media use and adaption will grow and engagement between users will be key to drive the use of the platforms. Hotels can leverage this opportunity to connect with guests and deliver meaningful experiences which eventually will lead to better outcomes for their business. READ MORE

Stephanie  Hilger

Creating original content is imperative in order for your brand to stand out; however, curated content is equally important. If it does not already, user generated content (more commonly referred to as UGC), should play an integral role in your social media content plan. User generated content is an essential part of content curation and easy to come across if you know where to look and how to encourage guest participation. Not sure where to start? Encouraging guests to share their stories is easy if your hotel team implements these three methods. READ MORE

Brandon  Billings

Today, hotels are keenly positioned across social media to attract Generation Z and Millennials to drive new and incremental bookings to their property. This younger generation is highly influenced by social media when choosing their next weekend getaway or vacation. Hotels have to be part of the social conversation to drive revenues with these younger generations. The following article highlights opportunities for hotels to connect with these younger travelers by developing an overarching strategic approach, building break-through social content and aligning to an overarching measurement strategy. READ MORE

Arielle Rubenstein

Like any other digital marketing discipline's strategy, social media advertising requires careful consideration of the buyer journey and purchase funnel. Building funnels within any advertising management platform can be less than intuitive and seem like a job meant only for digital savvy professionals. In this article, Screen Pilot Social Media Manager Arielle Rubenstein will walk through the high-level planning steps necessary to create a successful Facebook advertising funnel to get you started. From audience targeting to bridging the gap between brand awareness and retargeting to budget management, these five steps will optimize Facebook advertising strategy to fit any goal - for any hotel marketing team. READ MORE

Nicholas Pardon

Looking to solve the social media puzzle, but don't know where to start? Mimicking or copying other Instagram or Facebook accounts that have lots of followers is not going to give your property the results you're looking for. To see real social media success, create a plan tailored to your property or hospitality business by Finding Your Why. Define the unique social media why that inspires people to follow you and keeps them coming back for more. Learn how to define your why and how to use gamification, user-generated content and hashtags to reinforce it across the social media realm - growing your followers and engagement, and driving more customers your way in the process. READ MORE

Eduardo Fernandez

The business of hotels is always in flux, consistently aiming to meet the growing needs of their guests, build loyalty and stand out from the crowd of competitors. With food expectations mounting, made popular via social media frenzy, the growing importance of food-rating apps and the heavy use of "top lists," providing round-ups of the best burger, ice cream cone or brunch in a state, city or neighborhood, travel destinations have had to tout their local food scene as a means to gain visitors. With hotels offering food and beverage options in highly-competitive markets, brands need to shift their restaurants to cater to the growing food culture. READ MORE

Adria Levtchenko

New and, sometimes, complex technologies are impacting almost every area of hotel operations and management, from the C-suite to frontline staff to guests. Their adept use can improve operational efficiencies, enhance the guest experience and boost the bottom line. However, there is a lot to choose from with new concepts and technology solutions appearing, it seems, daily. The successful implementation of these new technologies relies on a smart approach to their identification, assessment and purchase. READ MORE

Derrick Garrett

You pay close attention to what your hotel looks like. You listen to what your staff has to say. You encourage – and respond to – guest feedback. When was the last time you listened to your hotel? What does your hotel sound like? Listen up for ways to engage the most underutilized of the senses in the hotel industry, sound. When you focus on the music in your hotel you won't just get the reward of sweet sounds, you'll also like the result of its impact on guest satisfaction, brand loyalty and how that all looks on the bottom line. READ MORE

Scott Acton

"What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas" may help save relationships, jobs and reputations by hiding mistakes made by visitors to Sin City. It does little to protect the global hospitality industry from repeating the same mistakes made by hotel properties. Las Vegas-based Forte Specialty Contractors CEO Scott Acton takes a look at the design successes and failures in a city where hospitality properties are punished by high-energy, high-occupancy conditions that accelerate wear and tear and provide quicker assessment of design decisions. This article shares what Forte has learned in this hospitality-design laboratory and shares best practices with the industry. READ MORE

Aaron Koppelberger

Is an automated external defibrillator (AED) on the guest list at your hotel? Currently, there is no federal mandate requiring hotels to have AEDs. However, a recent Harris Poll found that 69 percent of Americans believe hotels should have an AED installed. In the U.S., there are 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) each year, and 90 percent of out-of-hospital SCA events are fatal. AEDs, however, greatly improve a person's chance of survival. This article explains the need for AEDs and includes steps for implementing an AED program at your property. It could help you earn more business and more importantly, potentially save a life. READ MORE

Shahin Sharifi

This research examines consumer reactions to types of consumer reviews and finds that when a satisfaction guarantee is not provided, the most favorable evaluations belong to positive reviews, followed by mixed reviews, and then negative reviews. With a satisfaction guarantee, consumers react the most favorably to mixed reviews and have similar evaluations of positive and negative reviews. Furthermore, this research concludes that uncertainty intolerance (i.e., the need for cognitive closure) enhances the evaluations of positive and negative reviews but lowers the evaluations of mixed reviews. Nonetheless, with a satisfaction guarantee, consumers' uncertainty intolerance enhances also the evaluations of mixed reviews. READ MORE

Dianna Vaughan

This year, the All Suites brands by Hilton, comprised of Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton, opened their 1,000th property, reaching a major milestone in the brands' explosive growth. Global Head and Senior Vice President of the All Suites Brands by Hilton Dianna Vaughan lends her insight on how the brands work closely with their owners to drive strong demand for the brand, leading to industry-leading growth in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean and Latin America. READ MORE

David Allison

The Lodging industry in all price categories is going through a period of disruption, with huge forces at play. New technologies, mergers, acquisitions, online competition, Airbnb, new travel behaviours, new types of travelers: these are not small adjustments to an ecosystem. In the midst of that chaos it's valuable to step back and ask our consumers, directly, what they value, want, need and expect. And that's where the 75,000 surveys in the Valuegraphics Database come in. We've done that work of asking hotel guests those questions for you. READ MORE

Zoe Connolly

From things like being up to date on the latest job board or careers site, through finding the time to screen every qualified potential candidate, hiring can be a brutal experience. This is among the chief reasons that the recruiting industry came into being; recruiters can make things easier for hiring managers. But not all roles and situations merit the help of a seasoned hiring professional. In facat, there are a number of circumstances that travel tech and hotel leaders should consider before bringing on a recruiting partner. This article identifies when it is, and when it is not time for hiring help. READ MORE

Ryan Kunzer

General Manager, Ryan Kunzer of The Duniway, a bold lifestyle hotel located in downtown Portland, OR, comments on the changing city that celebrates the independent and progressive spirit for which Portland is best known. His leadership at this uniquely modern property boldly sets the stage for conversations between urban cyclists, entrepreneurs, locals and travelers alike. Ryan shares his views on the maturing city and why visitors should stay at The Duniway to unwind and recharge when visiting the city for business or pleasure. READ MORE

Mark Ricketts

Charting a path for growth is an enviable and exciting journey for any hospitality organization. It takes a bold, yet careful blend of vision, strategy and technical expertise in a wide variety of areas, including property identification, financing, human resources and organization building, and day-to-day hotel operations. Regardless, as in all successful business endeavors, this journey ultimately depends on the relationships of trust and mutual benefit, with everyone from investors and brand partners to our staff, that we cultivate and secure along the way. READ MORE

Rocco Bova

Reputation used to be word of mouth, recommendations and built over years of hard work and professional behavior. Today, thanks (or not) to social media, reputation can be built in very short time (see ''influencers'') and destroyed as quickly. Needless to say that your online behavior is as important as your public one. Ensure you follow these basic rules to not fall in the sea of sameness. I am not an expert, and neither I want to be, but I want to share what helped me become a trusted and respected hotelier. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2022...

Hotel Spa: Now More Than Ever

In the aftermath of the global health crisis, there is a newfound appreciation for the need to be fit - both in body and mind - and hotels that provide a spa or wellness clinic will reap the rewards. What are clients seeking? Better health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness. It is no longer sufficient for spas to only offer massages or facials; clients are demanding more for the benefit of their overall well-being. For example, a medical spa might offer services such as botox, dermal fillers, body sculpting, and microdermabrasion. Other spas are emphasizing the importance of preventative therapeutics and are using technologies such as body scanners to evaluate their clients' health. Some spas are enlisting osteopaths, naturopaths, fitness coaches, yoga masters, even psychologists, to promote vitality, stress management, and emotional balance. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these and other advancements, and document how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.