Leveraging the Power of Earned Content for Your Hotel

By R.J. Friedlander Founder & CEO, ReviewPro | February 25, 2018

No doubt your hotel is already generating a wide variety of content whether for your website, your social media channels, or digital marketing campaigns. Based on this information a future guest builds up an image about the experience they are likely to expect at your hotel, which helps them when making decisions about their trip. Content can be divided up into three key areas. They are all are important and serve distinct purposes:

Paid content is content a business purchases such as cost-per-click and display advertising, listings on online travel agency sites and social media advertising. The business has high control over the messaging, but the content has lower trust with consumers because they know it comes from a marketer who wants to sell them something.

Owned content is content a business owns and controls, like its website and blog, social media profiles and the content it posts on them. The business has high control over the messaging, but owned content has only moderate trust with consumers because, as with paid content, it comes from a marketer.

Earned content, also called user-generated content, is content posted by other people about a business. It includes guest reviews and ratings, media and blogger coverage, and social media shares, likes and comments. A business has lower control over the messaging because it originates from other people, but earned content has higher trust because it comes from consumers rather than marketers.

This type of content is not directly generated by your business, but instead it is produced by users of your product, your guests, detailing authentic and real feedback in the form of reviews, blogs, social media interactions, or even feature articles, depending on who they are. However, it is useful to view it as being indirectly generated by you, because the foundation of the positive sentiment begins with the great service received at your hotel.

Great service should mean great reviews, and you want those reviews to impact on as wide an audience as possible. Social media plays a vital role to this process: one of the first things people want to do when they have had a positive experience is to hit the 'share' button. This is one of the most powerful ways you can harness the power of earned content.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.