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  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Why User Generated Content is The Great Equalizer in Hotel Marketing

  • The rise of user-generated content is one of the most disruptive forces in hospitality since hotels moved their marketing materials and booking engines to the Web. Why? User-generated content is the great equalizer of marketing. It allows consumers, not brands or properties, to own the reputation of a hotel. It allows boutique hotels with small marketing budgets to compete against large chain hotels with lavish loyalty programs. It allows great service and quality to drive marketing through consumer reviews.

    When I was a marketing director for a consumer products company in the '90s, our website was the most important part of our marketing mix. We spent hours agonizing over wording and design, imagining that each pixel could somehow affect our brand. It was the primary way we spoke to our customers. In addition to telling customers who we were and what we did, the website needed to reflect our corporate values and our personality. And of course it needed to drive sales.

    Today, there are infinitely more ways for a company to reach customers online. As the head of marketing at Revinate, my job is to engage with our prospects and clients in communities -- both real and virtual. I tweet ...

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Simon Hudson
Coming up in December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.