Effective Ways Hotels Provide What Connected Travelers Crave

By Renu Hanegreefs-Snehi VP Corp Communications, PR & Reputation Management, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group | February 04, 2018

The average Briton now spends more time online each day than sleeping, or doing anything else in their life, according to Wired magazine. That's an average of nearly nine hours per day on media and digital communication. Yet this trend is not exclusive to the UK.

Across the globe, we are all scrambling to keep up with the latest developments in a 24-hour news cycle that's churning out information non-stop; and that's before we even mention "fake news"– and political debates about fake news – and all of a sudden we have to decipher what's authentic and what's not. We're bombarded with opinions from commentators, influencers, friends, and strangers on the street, all through social media.

The online world is moving a mile a millisecond, but our brains can only handle so much in one day. As more of our work and lives move online, the digital space starts to feel very noisy; and almost everyone is suffering from information overload!

Digital Can be Peaceful

Considering all this, it's perhaps not surprising that there is a relatively new social media trend that Adweek recently uncovered – a trend towards social media users "seeking mindfulness, simplicity and calm as a reaction to our stressful, always-on digital world." That's exactly why YouTube has seen a rise in demand for videos with white noise, relaxing music, or soothing sounds. There are now apps devoted entirely to meditation, mindfulness or achieving calmness. Facebook has recently been advertising an app that produces short videos featuring peaceful images, which play the sounds of rain falling on a tree or waves softly drumming on the beach. All these apps encourage users to meditate or simply "do nothing" for a few minutes.

At first glance, the fact that people are looking for moments of calm in the noisy digital and social media space may seem ironic or paradoxical; but on the other hand, it is completely understandable that social media users are craving calm and snatching brief moments of reprieve whenever they can.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.