Entries tagged with “hospitality”.
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Wed 4 Dec 2013
In response to this great article, although with no action plans, my mind just raced and raced with questions about the Chinese (and India & Brazil) tourist sectors. So little is known about these markets, and so little is known about how to woo them, and find the right guests that fit your hotel. The article lacked data, which is what a hotelier loves, and uses to rudder the ship. So my questions, and please…. if anyone knows, answer them!
In relation to Chinese tourism, What market segment are these travelers? Just because they are wealthy doesn’t necessarily mean they are luxury guests. I know there is price sensitivity in general, with Chinese in the United States, and because of current restrictions there are more bus tour groups than anything (this is also true for India, I believe)?
What segment do they fall in? What type of hotel guest are they? What is their average rate, and stay? What are the main feeder markets? What are their main destinations, currently?
I know they are still using brick and mortar travel agents that basically just book via Agoda, Rakuten, and Expedia due to the lack of GDS connectivity… is that right?
Are there travel associations we can reach out into China, and introduce ourselves? Are they very organized yet with CVB and outreach to different cities, etc?
Are they interested in corporate brand hotels and chains, or independent and boutique, singular, experiences?
I would love to hear what your questions are, and if anyone is an expert in these emerging markets, I want to buy you a cup of coffee. =)
Mon 29 Jul 2013
Easiest way to consider social media: It’s isn’t a revenue generator. You need to disrupt the booking process to create revenue – so ad spend, articles, etc. But social media is a telephone, and luxury guests *DO* use it. So instead of investing any time or labor or dollars into social spend, you simply need to exist in that space. Set up the FB, set up the twitter, etc… and only set up initiatives that will absolutely be handled and managed properly, thoroughly, and with constant follow through and vigilance.
The main thing? -
Your hotel social plan should go like this, and after “this”, you shouldn’t have to spend to much time figuring it all out:
Yelp and Tripadvisor: make an account to respond to reviews. This is the most important thing in the social space.
Youtube: make an account, post as many videos you can get your hands on. Nothing more than 3 minutes, and even 20 second like videos are perfect for room tours, etc. I put this above G+, but I sort of have a sneaking suspicion that Youtube will one day roll into G+ in some manner.
Google Plus + – merge your local listing with your hotel page. use G+ as a blogging platform, because all those awards, content, blogger adulation, etc is meaningful with search terms, and anchor into organic search, therefore people who don’t know the name of your brand may just find you due to simple google searches. It’s been on the rise, big time… and it is more important than any other social. I would consider G+ as the clearing house for any and all content for your hotel. Pictures, awards, links, articles, conversation, etc. It’s only going to become more important. The “photo carousel” in google search that now shows up is populated in order by your zagat /google review ranking (as well as quantity), and the pictures are populated from your G+ page…. so it’s more important today than it was a week ago. Set this up immediately.
Facebook and Twitter: create account not for marketing, but to answer questions as they arise. Social sites as a telephone, and not a billboard: You don’t need to call your guests 3 times a day talking about your hotel, but if they call with a question, you should be available to answer. Don’t think of it as marketing, but concierge work. One of our AGM’s and I don’t *really* get why people ask questions on FB or Twitter (instead of calling and getting an answer immediately), but we have given up asking why and are simply just available to ask questions. Twitter and FB should be at the front desk, so it can be answered in a timely manner. But we don’t even really post on FB anymore, because it’s all self congratulatory spam, and looks caddy – specials, discounts, offers, or sad attempts at creating and rallying community that doesn’t really exist around the hotel. Twitter is more important than FB, but you need your FB too. I think one of the reasons people don’t call is because they are passive, and calling would be an active expenditure of energy, that would also require further action. “Do you sell that spa product”, or “Do you sell that robe” is something you can ask passively over social, and deal with in your own time… but calling would give an immediate answer, and then you would actually have to perform an action, like get out your credit card, etc. I think people just want to be passive and act on information on their own terms… sort of like why people are always dodging calls nowadays. They rather respond to information on their own terms. A little too much philosophy there. Twitter for your sales team would be wise, as well… to search out groups, business time leads, etc. It’s a great space to network in….. and the more employees you have representing your brand, retweeting, etc, the better. We all need to get off this idea that you can hire one social media manager to manage content and social. It takes a team of thousands to create relevancy and a successful plan of attack to influence the social sphere. You need many, many people in the trenches. One person won’t cut it. Eventually, all employees will be active brand advocates, which will signficantly increase your hotel’s online footprint and relevance. But one person with one camera and one social account won’t make a successful social plan for the hotel… all the employees, all their cameras, all their social accounts is what will create success. Yes, old school “manage the message” marketers are sitting in horror at the thought- that fact doesn’t escape me.
Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr: don’t move into the space unless you can do it successfully, with a luxury lifestyle brand. Think Standard or something hip that has photos to constantly post. If it isn’t hep, engaging, and a “voice”, it’s meaningless and a waste of time. 99% of hotels shouldn’t worry about it too much, but maybe make an account so you can go and search who is posting about your property. What’s worse than not paying attention to these microcosms of the social realm? Doing so in a poorly executed, inconsistent manner. There is nothing quite so annoying when someone calls you on the telephone, and you don’t know if anyone will respond on the other end.
Foursquare: I am still trying to figure out how to successfully leverage this. There’s a bunch of potential here, but sometimes people are creeped out when hotels try and engage them. Watch it, and respond to those linked to Twitter…. but don’t offer these people discounts so much as value adds. There’s a wonderful program called flip.to that starts to leverage this cycle of “brand advocates” in a meaingful way, with obvious ROI.
Tumblr: used to be important, but moot in light of G+. Post on G+.
I know I am missing a bunch… what do you guys think? What is wrong? What needs to be added?
Mon 1 Jul 2013
The smartest hoteliers, hospitality professionals, and business people in the world won’t ignore this post. Why should you? Reshare so those people listening and ahead of the game will have the leg up.
Most of us know this…. but here is why Google Plus is the future, and Facebook is laughably irrelevant. On Plus, most will think this is old news, but a lot of hotel people are slow to get it:
I furthered my revelations about Google vs Facebook today. G+ isn’t social, it is the organic search of the future, and those of us on Plus are *so* far ahead of anyone. It’s exciting.
I was about to post some hotel breakfast photos on Facebook, so I could link to them in a management response on Yelp . But that’s silly…. FB is a closed & walled network. No one visits biz pages on their Facebook account. Or at least, it’s passive. Let me know if you hang out all day on Facebook biz pages and I will eat crow. Those photos would be positively lost on that site. So I posted them to Google Plus. So now, any time people search terms like national park, historic, breakfast, inn, continental, etc – all of it enters into organic search. That means that someone searching relevant search terms will find our hotel, without needing to know it exists, or without having to know the name. That is INSANE.
That means that G+ is also the new microblogging platform for hotels…. I don’t need Tumblr, I don’t need FB, etc. Social, to me, is a waste of time as “storytelling”, because social is so much about “me me me”, no one gives a damn about your hotel until they need something from you. That’s where G+ comes in – the more keywords in posts, the more relevant you become in organic search. By posting on FB you are basically wasting time talking to people that already know you, who are not currently in the booking process. They need to opt-in, know your name, etc. They probably already stayed and aren’t planning to come back.
Posting on Google Plus actually inserts your hotel into the booking process via relevancy in keywords – topography, geography, etc community, etc. They don’t need to know your brand name, they just need to want to book the hotel that you are – national park, historic, green, wine country, luxury, resort, etc. Social, to me, should be about uniting people with your business that don’t already know it exists…. therefore generating revenue while making people extremely happy…. that’s what G+ does.
People may not know our Allison Inn & Spa, but the more you post on the G+ page, “Wine country”, “Willamette Valley” etc as search terms mean we will show up before any wine country hotel in the world, etc. Exciting. Hence the ramble a bit. Pardon.
But think about it. Operations should take back social, and smack any marketing people that talk about Facebook.
I would say your welcome, but for all the eyes not hitting this… you have been warned. The future is Google Plus, because the future is still search, and your future revenues depend on it.
Wed 3 Apr 2013
This Quora question here finally provided me an outlet to sum up all my tired cliches. The best in this business are constantly innovating, but here’s why the overall industry is a conservative bunch of bores. This may clue all you tech and app people in to why we are so hard to reach, and even if you do find access to the innovator or connected “in the know” guy at any hospitality company, the difference between “getting it” and implementation is day and night… especially from a corporate HQ to property level. Getting acceptance at corporate is easy. Getting the idea distributed and implemented is a different story.
So, why don’t hotels innovate more?
Historically, we’re not a money business, and we’re certainly not a tech business. The famous saying is “Hotels aren’t pioneers, because pioneers were shot in the back with arrows.” We couldn’t afford to make capital cost mistakes with new fangled design, tech, etc. If you have ever let an architect make a daring and new “tech” design decision, and then during your opening week have to rip an entire HVAC system from a brand new hotel because it doesn’t work, you learn VERY QUICKLY not to take risks on innovating something if there is a potential failure rate. Within the last couple years, radiant flooring had been this issue – architects and owners designing from residential preference versus the complexity of commercial application. It’s a problem, and it makes hotelier like me seem boring. But the simple fact is this:
Do you want to innovate and potentially fail spectacularly, or do you want to be boring and conservative and have an operating hotel?
It’s not always *our* money to take those risks with, either… and a good ownership or management group will protect the assets. When we tried to pioneer infrastructural solutions ranging from phones or internet, we got burned by trusting salesman whose interest is to sell, and not worried about back end support. So we lost a lot of money trying to pioneer systems like that. Sales people will always sell products that their operational department can’t support – like marketing writing checks that ops can’t cash.
What we quickly learned is that we can have a hospital or dormitory spend their own capital (and public vs private) funds, learning from their errors…
Then we steal the way they built out infrastructure at infinitely lower costs because you don’t have the learning curve or associated costs with capital spending failures.
This is true of phones, which I talk about here:
The Story of the In-Room Phone, & the future of on property telephony
and even reaches something seemingly prosaic and simple, like in room coffee, which I talk about here: A coffee laden ramble about… hotel coffee. What does your coffee program, or lack of it, say about your hotel brand?
You will note the similar “pioneer” themes – and that we become conservative in the face of multi-layered complexities in regards to execution.
Basically, hotels aren’t a money business. They are about hospitality, and part of being hospitable means having things that work properly. Early adopters suffer everything from outages to glitches, and more – and it isn’t in the best interest of a hotel to spend liberal amounts of capital on things with high rates of failure. This is why you can easily see a trend of about 10 years behind the times for everything…. not just phones or wireless infrastructure, but even with websites and SEO, as well.
The sea change moment for hospitality might have been SEO – many hotels got so burned by their own unawareness that they vowed never to be left in the dust again. I still know some hotels that can’t be found in their market. That’s why the savvier of hospitality groups are *VERY* on top of social media, and most operators look at it as a phone, instead of the billboard. Marketing is trying to lead us astray, but in the end it will become an operator’s real time brand management and guest expectation / service tool.
Anyways, that basically sums it up:
Hotels aren’t innovators simply because we aren’t innovative. We rather be boring and actually work, than innovative and broken.
Why don’t we innovate? Because that, historically, hasn’t been our job, and we can’t afford to.
Tue 30 Oct 2012
To the savviest of hotel marketers, this will sound outdated, because these savvy people (who likely aren’t even aware of their own savviness) have simply been using Tripadvisor forums for years as a way to celebrate surrounding community, and bolster business and brand name. These are owners of small inns in remote areas that would always act like the local concierge – whether it’s a guest of your hotel or not. The old world of hospitality was that a concierge or desk agent was a respite in a foreign place, and hospitality was imbued into staff so they will help anyone, and treat people the same, across the board. It’s in our nature to help people with directions, information, or answer questions. If a stranger needed help, we wouldn’t turn them away. We would help them as if they were a guest, hoping they might return to us someday, simply because of how we do business.
That is our job as hospitality professionals in the real world. Why shouldn’t that be our responsibility in virtual communities as well? If you see “more” click it for the full conversation