The Downside Of Pandering To Social Media

By Dean Minett Founder/Director, Minett Consulting | February 24, 2019

There is no shortage of inspirational quotes on the subject of being true to yourself, but one that strikes me is the Shakespearean quote in Hamlet, spoken by Polonius to his departing son: 

"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any other." 

The more I think about these words, the more I realise how useful they are to hoteliers working in the age of social media.

Think back, if you will, to a time when social media was nothing but a twinkle in the eye of the early internet. Think back even further, to when travel plans had to be made over the telephone, by mail, or telex or even by driving the family station wagon to a bricks-and-mortar travel agent. 

Back then, hotel reviews and feedback may have appeared in magazines or trade journals, but for the most part, reputation traveled by word-of-mouth. The local travel agent would be a solid source. Airport personnel offered recommendations on the fly. Taxi drivers gave hotel advice on the street. If there was a good hotel where you had stayed previously, you gravitated toward it. The star rating of a property could go a long way toward setting expectations, as could the familiarity of brand names. 

In short, the whole process of researching and booking hotels was different. It contained a greater element of luck, experience, and insider knowledge. If a guest had a great experience at a hotel, they would stay again. They might even tell friends and family. If it was a lousy experience, they could lodge a complaint with management, advise friends and family, and make a point of never going back. A guest who was very hot under the collar might try writing a letter to the local newspaper or initiating legal action, but such things were an exception and not the rule. 

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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.