Are We There Yet? The Path to Social Business

By Janet Gerhard Founder, Hospitality Gal, LLC | October 19, 2014

Social media has come a long way since it burst on to the hospitality scene in the mid 2000's. We could probably write a full article arguing the point on when social business truly began…with the first email sent or when the Internet hit 1 million sites. Regardless, social media's rise offered promise of an elixir to aid in marketing, e-commerce, digital strategies, and driving loyalty through improved guest experiences.

As we entered into this world, hotels began to anoint social media experts and create centers of excellence for tackling what was quickly becoming a tsunami of consumer generated media, competing technologies touting their services, and general confusion on how to best tackle an issue that was not even yet fully understood.

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The bravest of brands rushed in to try the new emerging listening platforms. Many individual hotels signed up while their enterprise tested options, weighed the pros and cons, and waited to see how the landscape would settle. In fact, some of the biggest brands only last year fully jumped into social media. The tangled web of decisions include: How far reaching does the platform need to be? What reports should be available and to whom? Is this a corporate funded adventure or something that should be passed onto the hotels directly?

Once those questions were answered new ones are ushered in. Specifically, now that we are gathering this information, how do we best harness it to realize its maximum potential across the multitude of function areas and needs within the business?

First up was guest experience and social media's implications for the traditional surveys that have long been used as the carrot and the stick in hotel operations.

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Coming up in October 2018...

Revenue Management: Getting it Right

Revenue Management has evolved into an indispensable area of hotel operations, chiefly responsible for setting forecasting and pricing strategies. Because the profession is relatively new to the hotel and hospitality industries, a clear-cut definition of what exactly Hotel Revenue Management is has only recently emerged - Selling the Right Room to the Right Client at the Right Moment at the Right Price on the Right Distribution Channel with the best commission efficiency. Though the profession can be summed up in a single sentence, that doesn't mean it's easy. In fact, it's an incredibly complicated and complex endeavor, relying on mountains of data from a wide range of sources that must be analyzed and interpreted in order to formulate concrete pricing strategies. To accomplish this, Revenue Managers rely on an array of sophisticated technology systems and software tools that generate a multitude of reports that are central to effective decision-making. As valuable as these current technology systems are, much of the information that's collected is based on past historical trends and performance. What's new is the coming of big, data-driven, predictive software and analytics, which is likely to be a game-changer for Revenue Managers. The software has the capacity to analyze all the relevant data and predict occupancy levels and room rates, maximizing hotel profitability in the process. Another new trend that some larger hotel chains are embracing is an emphasis on Booking Direct. For Revenue Managers, this is another new channel with its own sales and costs that have to be figured into the mix. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address these developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.