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 May 2018...

Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.