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Johnna Freud

It used to be that when a person decided he was going to need hotel accommodations, he called either a hotel directly or a travel agent for reservations. Fast forward to today, and with the impact of the Internet, the options for reserving a room -- whether in a chain, boutique or independent hotel, bed and breakfast, inn, all-inclusive club, or timeshare -- are extensive. Of course, a person can still call a hotel or a travel agent, but now he can also conduct research and make reservations via the Internet. Here is where the choices become whelming. So, when do consumers make reservations online? When do they call a travel agent? When do they call you or central reservation numbers or properties directly? And, when they consult the Internet, are they reserving directly through the hotel chains' or properties' websites or are they surfing the Web for third-party sites, many of whom provide reduced rate accommodations? What factors impact this decision-making process? Read on...

Mike Paton

With so much business being conducted "online" today, you may be tempted to let technology do all the heavy lifting for your hotel. After all, you probably get plenty of transient reservations via brand websites or TPAs, and perhaps your sales staff can barely keep up with all of the electronic RFPs you receive. Certainly, you and your sales team have had to change the way you work to accommodate the increased role technology plays in business today. But, like champion athletes, you must make sure not to rely too heavily on automation and just "go through the motions." And you shouldn't drastically change the way you work just because you're more frequently connecting with people online. Technology just creates additional ways to link buyers and sellers -- it's not meant to replace basic sales skills and old-fashioned hard work. Read on...

Naseem Javed

We are being forced to re-design to a new level of "micro-nization" of business units, a "wireless-izing" of mass communication and a "voip-izing" of populace conversations in marketplaces, under a massive globalization with highly localized customization to fit the demands of consumers. This subject is very hot and research on these issues is still being drafted. Read on...

Debbie Bermont

The new year has begun and now is the time every business is setting their 12 month sales goals. Here are two words which could easily give you a significant boost in your sales this year - follow up. Two simple words that are rarely followed in a timely fashion and in some cases ignored completely. We are in the age of instant information. Because of technology we now have the opportunity to connect 24/7 with anyone around the world. People carry their cell phones with them to the grocery store, the restaurant, the bank and the movie theatre. From your phone you can send e-mails, documents, text messages and receive pictures across the globe. Read on...

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Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.