Hotels: How to Communicate Effectively with Blogs

By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | October 28, 2008

Blogs (traditionally called Web Logs): A fairly recent type of medium, created at will for sharing news, opinions and information. Hotels are slowly beginning to realize the importance of these authoritarian online outlets that are taking the Internet by storm with postings of accurate and sometimes very inaccurate information. The worst of it is, blogs are most times not objective and heavily biased sources of news, but since they are so widespread they become an alarming concern. It is no surprise why PR professionals should keep this emerging type of media on their radar screens to protect the branding and image of their clients.

What is posted on a blog?

Blogs can be created at any time, and by anyone for whatever reason. The blog content could cover a particular interest or subject, and in some cases the subject is an organization. Pertaining to the travel industry, there are hundreds of travel blogs that talk about experiences in hotels and do not hesitate to become specific. Participants name everything about a travel experience, from the property's features to stories about specific managers and staff that either made a stay better or worse. These types of blogs resemble routinely updated online diaries that feature links to news and stories and even personal websites.

Who creates blogs?

Almost all blogs are hosted by a single person who is referred to as the Blogger. The majority of these self-proclaimed gurus are usually just Internet fans whose goal is to bring their individual views and ideas to the online environment in the form of dialogue. However, other bloggers can be leading industry experts, writers or journalists who create similar forums (blogs) just to express their opinions freely without the rules and constraints of editors, as it would in a newspaper or magazine. In that respect, blogs provide the ultimate freedom of speech in the online world, making it challenging for public relations professionals to recognize inaccurate information and react to it in time.

Blogs and Public Relations

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Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. 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.