Global Social Media: Getting in on the ground floor

By Angel Zimmerman Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Sajan | November 04, 2012

If one business seems expressly molded for social media on a global scale, it's the globe-spanning hospitality sector. Hotels largely depend on word of mouth advertising, and social media provides the perfect vehicle for this. Maintaining a social media presence is also one of the fastest growing marketing channels within the industry-and it's a highly effective way to help you reach all of your audiences across the globe. And yet, few hotel marketers are running a multiple-country social media program.

It's not because of a lack of business development rationale.

When it comes to today's social media use, seven out of 10 travel brands report increased direct bookings and customer engagement, according to EyeforTravel. The same research firm found in 2012 that as many as 61 percent of travel-related companies are planning to increase their social media investment in coming months. One reason for this stems from the growing number of social media users who are influenced by what they see on social networks: hotel reviews, friends' recommendations and vacation photos, resort virtual tour videos and hotel deal tweets, to name a few.

Considering that social media content is already a key component of search engine results algorithms-and the fact that it factors into search engine optimization as well-it makes sense to nurture your social presence, engage with as many customers as possible and encourage content sharing. The end goal is ultimately more bookings and greater brand recognition across the globe.

What's less understood, however, is how to succeed with taking your social media program beyond your home borders. Even though hospitality professionals already operate in an international mindset-it's second nature to cater to prospective customers from all over the world-the practice of global social media is still a mystery to most.

By the numbers: The case for expanding your social media presence

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.