The Next Generation of Social Media

How One Hotel Company is Redefining What it Means to Engage Customers

By Jane Coloccia President & Chief Creative Officer, JC Communications, LLC | November 29, 2015

If you were to ask consumer-facing companies where the greatest future opportunity lies in terms of engaging customers, a relatively high portion would point to the social space. In fact, more and more companies are investing greater amounts of their marketing dollars into social media. And, with good reason.

Trend reports are continuing to show people are watching less and less television, and reading fewer print publications. If you want to influence today's consumer - aka your potential guest - you need to reach them where they are spending their downtime. And that, my friends, is with their mobile device.

In 2013, eMarketer Magazine reported "time spent with digital media among US adults surpassed time spent with TV for the first time." And this was three years ago. Nielsen also reported "US adults spent on average 34 hours per month using the mobile Internet on smartphones." Therefore, if you want to get these customers interested in your hotel brand, the old ways of reaching them just aren't going to cut it.

Add to this the fact that most major hotel companies today see the future of the industry lying in the hands of the Millennials, then you really need to reach this generation where they spend much of their time.

Think about it. These individuals are consuming media in a way that no generation has before them. Sure, they might watch their favorite sitcom, but they probably stream it on a tablet or mobile device. The same is true with news and other informative content. The Internet has not just changed the way up and coming generations are absorbing content, it has radically altered the way nearly every generation is consuming news, shopping, socializing, and more.

So if you have been sitting back pleased with yourself that your Facebook page is your shining moment in the social space, it's time for a reality check. Facebook is the absolute minimum you should be involved with when it comes to the social space. Why? Because there are hotel companies out there who are completely redefining how the hospitality industry engages customers. And if you want to keep pace, you need step up your game.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.