Tag Archives: travel

Is Your Hotel Really Committed to Social Media Marketing?

3 Feb

Let’s be honest, few hotels have the human resources to commit to a full-time manager for their social media marketing effort. So, in order to still participate in the social networks, hotel brands and franchises take a cluster approach to their social media program. They group their hotels by brand, geographic territory, or destination and centrally post to all hotels in that grouping. While this may be cost-effective, are they achieving the results they expect? Are they generating sales leads, increasing restaurant patrons, and enhancing their customer experience?

Providing engaging and property-specific content on a regular basis takes time. It also requires a strategic plan and the ability to manage and adjust that plan as needed. If you can’t afford to hire a full-time employee on-site, then look to outsourcing your content or social media services. However, you will definitely want someone who understands both your hotel, the industry in general, and social media marketing. Social media marketing is now a professional discipline not a trend. Just because a college student can use Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and take a “selfie” doesn’t mean they understand the business of hotels or more importantly, the sales and marketing process. In other words, just because I know how to drive a car doesn’t mean you want me to rebuild your car’s engine.

Effectively participating in Twitter and Facebook encourages your sales prospects to become more engaged in what you have to offer and more inclined to make a booking or contact you directly. If your Twitter or Facebook strategies aren’t providing measurable or at least trackable results, determine why and adjust accordingly.

Daily monitoring of Google Analytics allows hotels to track visitors to each landing page, determine where in the sales process potential page visitors are likely to be, and then deliver a clear and effective call-to-action that will drive them to make hotel reservations, restaurant reservations or book a catering event.

Remember, one of the best features of social media is the relative low-cost or no cost associated with this marketing vehicle. Photos can be candid shots or pictures taken by guests. Sales departments can create videos in-house without fancy equipment. Photos and videos are great and should be strategic in their frequency and audience. One of the best byproducts of videos is that it increases your hotel’s search engine optimization organically. A couple of hotels that have done a nice job are The Westin Atlanta Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, and Boca Raton Resort, Boca Raton, Florida.

Having spent over twenty years in hotel sales and marketing, the best part of my job was the personal interaction with guests, clients, and colleagues. Making a personal and human connection with people is one of the key touchstones of a successful hotel. Why not use your social media marketing plan to further that engagement before, during, and after your clients come to your hotel? Make your hotel more than just a destination…make it a community.

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Adventures in Air Travel

23 Sep

The running joke in our company is “who will be Cindy’s seat mate during this flight?” As we stand at the gate, my colleagues and I look around for the person I will spend the next 2- 3 hours seated next to.

Each flight always has at least one “Phone Guy”. He’s on his cell phone discussing everything from business problems to his father’s urinary tract infection. He starts his call in the gate area and continues on until the flight attendant’s second request to turn off all electrical devices. Not only am I not interested in his inability to reach his sales quota at work, but his father’s enlarged prostate is of even less concern to me.

Then of course we all know “Frat Guy.” He’s been sitting with his buddies in the bar too long and now wants to rehash his fraternity days with everyone on the flight. His alcohol consumption must have affected his hearing because his voice rises with every account of his coed conquests. “Frat Guy” is kept on a short leash by his wife and boss and these business trips allow him to re-live his days of yore.

By early afternoon flights we have “Food Guy.” He’s the guy that brings the smelliest and greasiest food onto the plan and then sits next to you eating it while talking the entire flight. In his defense, he does offer you some of his food (several times) – yet seems offended that you’ve declined his offer. Of course, long after “food guy” leaves the plane, his scent will linger on.

On evening flights, we then enjoy the company of “Shoe Guy.” He’s the guy that decides to make himself comfortable in his seat next to you. Whether the flight is one hour or three he takes his shoes off. Why “shoe guy,” thinks that flying on a plane should be like sitting in his recliner watching football is beyond me. Does he take his shoes off in a one-hour board meeting?

On the other hand, a morning flight introduces “Just-Rolled-Out-of-Bed-Guy.” This guy comes dressed for his flight as though his wife just woke him up and asked him to take the trash to the curb. His hair hasn’t seen a comb or his face a razor in the last 24 hours. His shorts and t-shirt are complemented by rubber flip-flops that reveal his need for a pedicure. And, as fate would have it, he’s the only one hoping to sit next to “food guy” since he hasn’t had breakfast yet.

Now, in fairness to the men, we also have “Hippie Chick.” She sure is glad that she kept her jeans, clogs, and t-shirt from Woodstock. Her yoga instructor and life coach suggested that making new friends on her flight would bring peace and balance to her universe. While I respect her individuality, I’d rather not listen to her recount a journey through Nepal where she “smoked the best hash ever.”

I’m sure my adventures in air travel are not unique. And, sometimes they help to make a boring flight more interesting (or longer). I would love to hear more about your adventures in travel. Feel free to share.

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