Capitalizing on the Convergence of Social, Behavioral, and Technological Trends

By Ashish Gambhir Co-founder , newBrandAnalytics | October 07, 2012

The convergence of social, behavioral and technological trends are defining a new way for hotels to interact with data and people. Will you and your business be ready? Hotels that use analytics to decipher online feedback are well positioned to deliver a superior quality experience and earn continuous customer loyalty.

A trio of trends is converging on the hospitality industry. One-way, brand-driven communication is being rapidly replaced by a wave of social, behavioral, and technological trends that are changing the way hotels do business. At the center of these converging trends is your customer. Connected, discerning, informed, and empowered, today's customer has taken control of their relationship with your hotel. Understanding how these trends are impacting your business, and being prepared and ready to capitalize on them, will give your hotel the competitive advantage needed to survive and thrive in a constantly evolving landscape.

Today's Customers are Social

Your guests are increasingly going online to talk about their experience at your hotel and, at the same time, travelers are tapping into their online network for advice on purchase decisions. With 77% of travelers saying online reviews influence their purchase decisions, social recommendations are today's most powerful marketing asset. (Source: Deloitte)

For Millennials (a generation that by 2017 will have more buying power than any other), the opinions of others like them-particularly those with direct experience with the brand, product, or service- carry even more weight than insights from friends and family members, according to new research from Bazaarvoice. Raised on a diet of social media:

• 86% say user generated content (UGC) is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand, service, or product.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.