If You Bore Them, They Will Not Come

By Holly Zoba Senior VP of Sales - Hospitality, Signature Worldwide | July 22, 2012

Your online reputation embarrasses me.

Okay, not really but I wanted to capture your attention. In today's world of so many shocking and mostly true headlines, is it any wonder that so many hotels are having a tough time getting engagement out of social media? What can a hotel possibly say that is shocking – a Facebook post that not only gets someone to stop scrolling and read it, but to actually engage? Yet at the same time is truthful and paints the hotel in a positive light. "117 guests taken to the hospital from our hotel last week", is a post that would probably get a lot of reads, but it probably is not truthful nor is it what you want people identifying with your property. Unless perhaps your hotel is next to a hospital and you wanted to go on to explain that you have a convenient shuttle service that takes people back and forth to visit friends and family at the hospital. Then, perhaps it is a risky but engaging headline.

Social media has become yet another competitive battleground for people's time, and currently Snooki seems to be winning.

An ideal measure of social media would be an index of your fair share of people's time. If it was determined that your fair share of a fan or follower's time was 10 minutes on your page, then you would know how engaging you needed to be. It would be great if STR could start including this measurement next to your ADR and RevPar indexes. You would know right away if your social media plan was working, because you would see the correlation between share of time increased and RevPar index increase.

However, at the property level, that is kind of a pipe dream for the moment. No doubt, Google captures that data about how consumers spend their time, but an individual property does not yet have the ability to drill down to their customer base. There is actual attribution analysis going on that measure the impact of banner ads that people see but don't click on, or reviews scanned but not read, and at what point in the travel decision-making process is this most impactful in terms of booking. It will likely not be long before this share of time index will be a reality, but for now, it is not.

We do know that social media is on the increase – particularly with SMART phones and tablets. People are now spending about 2.7 hours socializing on their mobile devices. This is over twice the time they spend eating.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.