New Highlights for Social Media

By Cindy Woudenberg Founder, LuCorp Marketing | June 16, 2013

In the last few years, Social Media has undergone a myriad of changes. New players have come on the to the scene, a number of informational websites have gone 'social' and, in addition, existing social media platforms have changed considerably. Where do hotels direct their effort in utilizing Social Media for the best return today? How does a hotel keep up with the many changes and rapid development in the Social Media world? Although change can feel like it happens overnight, a hotel's Social Media Marketing (SMM) efforts should always be driven first by the idea of engaging and promoting the brand to the customer and secondly by incorporating changes into the portfolio of a SMM Plan.

Before we go into the details of change on the horizon or discuss the current available platforms on the market, we want to make the point that Social Media should be utilized with focus towards a set goal.

The Purpose and Goal of Social Media Marketing

Setting a Social Media Marketing (SMM) Plan is a key component of an overall Business Plan for a hotel. Let's talk about setting action plans and goals when developing an initial SMM Plan for a hotel.
When setting action plans and goals, SSM should focus on the following:

  • Outlining goals with audience in mind and align with corporate objectives
  • Develop a road map and plan for execution
  • Establish structure for revisions and measurements for campaigns

The first step, outlining goals, is often the easiest to do but should contain intentionality beyond driving business. The SMM Plan serves as a roadmap for the monthly workflow that details specific tactics designed to advance a hotel's key marketing mission and objectives. Within the SMM Plan are several specific actionable plans that should be put in place. The goals set for the SMM should contain commitment to boost sales and increase revenues. It may also specify other items such as improve customer service, promote events, develop contest campaigns, etc. Several examples of focus could be "being the flagship hotel in an area," or "establishing the hotel as the friendliest hotel around," or "providing the finest personal service." Many of these ideas can come from the hotel's mission and vision statement and should easily transition to the SMM Plan. It is important to note that the Social Media Marketing Plan is only part of the integrated marketing plan and overall hotel mission. Additional goals and objectives for the SMM Plan should reflect in the entire operation of the hotel.

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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.