Mining Social Media To Discover Your Guest’s Preferences

Your hotel is a bustling hive of activity–business people scurrying off to their next big meeting, lovey-dovey couples cooing and hand-holding, while their horse-drawn carriage awaits, and happy families venturing out for yet another day of adventure in the big city.

So many faces. So many names. Surely, no one expects a lodging as big as yours to know each one of these guests personally. Or do they?


The fact is that each of your customers is a V.I.P. in their own right. They, after all, have chosen your hotel as the setting from which to conduct their important business meetings, romance their significant others, and build treasured family memories.

And, they also have the power to motivate others to either embrace your brand or run the other way, screaming.

So, while you may not roll out the red carpet for every new arrival, you can–and should–make each and every guest feel valued.

What is GuestDriven?

GuestDriven is a Canadian start-up company that provides hotels with a platform that enables them to communicate with guests in real-time throughout their entire stay. Based in Montreal, GuestDriven has already been adopted by 115 hotels in thirty-five cities.

And, thanks to a three million dollar shot in the arm from investors, it is poised to transform the industry–enabling hotels to provide customized client service at a level never before possible.

What does it do?

Imagine being able to anticipate each client’s needs before they even arrive on your premises. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, thanks to GuestDriven, your staff will be equipped to do exactly that.

The platform is designed to allow you to get to know your client through a variety of features.

• Social Media Profiles. Thanks to your guest’s social media profiles, you will be able to glean not only valuable demographic information, but you will also have access to their interests. Are they an aspiring artist? If so, your hotel can provide them with information on local galleries or great places to set up a canvas. If their Instagram and Facebook accounts boast a sizeable number of photos of their beloved pooch, you can let them know that your property is pet-friendly and offers services tailored to their canine friend’s needs.

• Wish List. Guests are invited to create a Wish List of the attractions and special events that they’d like to check out while they are visiting your town. This insight will enable your concierge and other staff members to assist them with their planning.

• Direct chatting. Yes, you can even dialogue directly with your clientele. They can ask you questions and you can provide them with assistance and offer them customized deals. GuestDriven better equips you to respond to requests quickly and resolve customer service issues one-on-one.

What about marketing?

GuestDriven, as you can clearly see, is a great tool for increasing customer satisfaction, but how can it be used to attract new business?

• Word of mouth. Obviously, these happy customers will want to return to your hotel after enjoying your first class service, but they will also share their experience with others. Yes, your clientele will clamor to sing your praises on social media channels–tapping in to the best free marketing a business can get.

• Customized campaigns. Finally, you will have the inside scoop on which marketing campaigns will appeal to which clients. You can personalize offers based on individual demographics and interests.

• Cohesive image. Your unique GuestDriven mobile interface can be custom-designed to match your hotel’s image and other marketing platforms. Whether you require a clean modern feel, something funky and fun, or a hint of old Victorian charm, GuestDriven will ensure that your interface is congruent with your brand.

• CRM (Customer Relationship Management). The very fact that you can now relate to your customer directly and access their social media date will enable you to better streamline your CRM. With customers booking on platforms like Expedia, it is increasingly difficult for hotels to keep track of their clientele.

By using a platform like GuestDriven, your Customer Relationship Management team will be able to communicate with guests early in the booking process–providing you with an excellent chance to market your services and ensure that the booking sticks. Check out this article on Integrating your CRM team.

No longer will your clientele be a mere blur of unnameable faces. Thanks to GuestDriven, the hurried businessperson, romantic duo, and hyperactive family of five will be more than just a name and a credit card number. They’ll be multi-dimensional and unique individuals–and you’ll know how to make each one’s stay their best yet. These are your hotel’s VIPs–and red carpet service does not require a red carpet.

What excites you the most about the potential of platforms like GuestDriven? What concerns you?

This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer, avid blogger, and social media addict. You can follow her neurotic and OCD ramblings at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

Image courtesy of photos.com.

Marketing To Millenials on Social Media

The baby boomers have ruled the roost for decades. Armed with tidy pensions, financial security, and sheer power in numbers, this generation’s custom has been coveted by businesses in every sector–including the hospitality industry.

Generation X, with its job instability and paltry numbers barely registered on anyone’s radar–and surely posed no threat to the reign of the boomers. But that is all about to change. There is a new generation taking over.

With over 80 million members in the United States alone, the Millennials–a.k.a Generation Y–are the most rapidly growing consumer segment. And marketers are taking notice.


So how does one go about marketing to a millennial?

First you must understand a bit about this generation’s characteristics.

Meet the Millennials
While each individual member of every generation possesses unique qualities, there are a few traits that are said to characterize the Millennials as a whole.

  • Highly social, both online and off.
  • Tech-savvy and require real-time information.
  • Fearful of missing out.
  • Conscious of social and civic responsibility.
  • Attracted to highly interactive sites.

As a marketer, it is important to select the best platform to reach this influential consumer group. Since the Millennial is plugged in more than any other generation, the best way to attract their attention is to meet them where they’re at–social media.

Here are a few examples of clever companies capitalizing on social media to attract this promising group of travelers.

TRYP Hotel
This Times Square Hotel has developed a social network lounge, cleverly named “Lobby Friend” to appeal to the Millennial’s desire for up-to-date information and social interaction.

Guests are afforded the opportunity to join Lobby Friend and access it over the course of their stay. This membership gives the guest online access to the concierge, staff members, and other guests who have also joined.

Members are kept abreast of events and special deals, provided with help finding NYC attractions, and made aware of get-togethers organized by other guests. And, if a member finds themselves lost in the Big Apple, help is just a message away.

If you’re considering creating your own version of “Lobby Friend,” check out Turning Your Website Into a Hospitality Hub.

Aurora Expeditions
Known for adventurous expeditions to far-flung destinations like Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, or the Kimberley Coast, Aurora Expeditions has found the way to let their tech-savvy millennials share their experiences with loved ones back home.

Using TrekTraka, a social network marketing system, clients are able to share their trek with followers via their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.

Followers can then monitor their friend’s progress and view other engaging information generated by Aurora about this adventure–information that potential can lead to new bookings later.

Azul Airlines
The Millennial generation prefers to deal with companies that possess a strong sense of social responsibility. Brazil’s Azul Airlines “Pink” campaign earned the company a reputation for exactly that.

Unlike the many other airlines that jumped on the “pink planes for breast cancer” initiative, Azul took it a step further and invited the public to name its pink plane–a move that garnered a massive social media following.
The crew was outfitted in hot pink uniforms and the hashtag #OtubroRosaNaAzul was introduced, which translates to “Pink October with Azul.”

Air Asia
Air Asia, a company renowned for mastering the art of social media marketing, appealed to the millennial’s interactive nature through the “Where’s Johno?” campaign.

Using Google Streetview, visitors were invited to partake in five different online games–each based on an actual attraction found on Australia’s Gold Coast.

To make the games even more appealing, players were asked to locate “Johno” at each location, collect five different stamps from him, and enter for a chance to win a free trip to this Queensland destination.

While each generation has much in common with the preceding one, there are also distinct differences. The Millennials are the first group to grow up with Google at their fingertips, a collection of Facebook friends, and a cell phone glued to their hands. And the best way to win their business is through a clever social media campaign.

How do you market to millennials? What traits have you noticed are unique to this generation?

This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws. She is a freelance writer, Mediashower blogger, and proud member of Generation X. You can follow her neurotic and OCD ramblings at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

Image courtesy of photos.com.

Aloft Hotels Expands Locations, Innovation with Keyless Check-in

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. recently announced its leading-edge Aloft brand will debut in New Orleans and expand to Louisville in 2015.

In addition to expanding locations, Aloft’s innovative and exclusive initiatives set it apart. Aloft recently announced that select properties will roll out Keyless Check-In, allowing guests to use their smartphones to check in to the hotel and open their guestroom door.

This follows on the heels of Smart Check-In, the first mobile check-in using RFID technology to truly bypass the front desk available at 14 Aloft properties. In addition, Aloft has an exclusive design partnership with Design Within Reach (DWR), and its W XYZ(SM) bars offer live, free access to local emerging artists as well as some of the hottest bands with Live at Aloft Hotels programming.

Aloft Louisville Downtown will boast an ideal location within the central business district, walking distance to the KFC Yum! Center, the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Waterfront Park and the shops, dining and entertainment at the Fourth Street Live complex.  Hotel facilities will include the brand’s signature W XYZsm bar, Splash pool, 24-hour fitness center and 2,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, ideal for both business meetings and social gatherings.

“The Aloft brand in a terrific match for the lively city of Louisville and will likely attract savvy travelers and young professionals  with its urban design and live music offerings,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “Propelled by phenomenal  demand, Aloft is rapidly expanding its footprint in markets worldwide.”

Aloft New Orleans Downtown will feature 188 spacious, loft-like rooms, forward-thinking technology and a lively, social atmosphere.

“The energy of Aloft is a perfect match for the vibrant city of New Orleans, offering travelers the opportunity to enjoy modern design and innovative programming right at the heart of the city,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “The brand is enjoying phenomenal growth, fueled by the enthusiasm of savvy travelers in markets across the globe.”

The hotel’s signature W XYZSM bar will offer a perfect place for guests to enjoy a refreshing cocktail and catch up-and-coming music acts that are part of Aloft’s signature Live at Aloft Hotels events that take place around the world. Additional facilities will include an outdoor Splash pool, 24-hour fitness center and 2,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, ideal for both business meetings and social gatherings.

“Aloft New Orleans Downtown will build on the brand’s success with adaptive re-use projects in markets across North America,” said Allison Reid, Senior Vice President of North America Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Delivering urban design and leading-edge technology all in a social atmosphere, Aloft is resonating with the next generation of travelers across the globe and capturing the interest of owners and developers looking to re-imagine existing buildings.”

What do you think about keyless check in? Would you prefer being able to manage everything from your phone?

Social Media The New PR For Hospitality Industry

As communication and media have increased in type and complexity, traditional disciplines like Public Relations are faced with the reality of a new set of rules. Where once all a business had to worry about was television, radio, and print, now there’s the Internet and social media to contend with in addition.

With the Internet, the old maxim of “Everyone’s a critic!” becomes truer than ever. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and the ability to string words together coherently (though there are plenty of examples out there that cast doubt on that third qualification!), and suddenly you can become a reviewer, posting your experiences online for all to read, for better or for worse.

So how does the hospitality industry navigate these new, churning waters?

New technology means new ways of conducting public relations in the hospitality industry

What Is Public Relations?
Let’s start with the fundamentals here. Public relations is the art of maintaining one’s image and reputation, with the intent of swaying people to understand and support you, and thereby influencing their opinions and behavior.

In other words, PR makes you look good, makes people like you, and makes people act towards you in the manner you want them to. For a business, that means having people frequent it, for instance.

Social Media Rewrites The Rules
Once upon a time, public relations manipulated the three traditional media into giving their clients the coverage they wanted, in order to fulfill the above-mentioned PR goals. Nowadays, the Internet has taken media and split it up into countless little islands or fiefdoms (and in some extreme cases, insane delusional dictatorships), each with its own voice and target audience.

And yet, according to a recent Nielsen survey, editorial (e.g. print) coverage is the fourth most trusted ad source. Clearly, old media’s day isn’t over yet, and there needs to be a balance between the traditional and the modern.

Getting A Social Media Presence
Whether it’s a bar, restaurant, club, or hotel, having not only a website but also a presence on social networks such as Facebook is key. This lets people sign up or like a business’ page, and opens them up to receiving updated information of interest.

By having a website and social network pages (which also link to each other!), a hospitality business has the perfect platform to launch all manner of public relations campaigns, be it promotions, giveaways, or contests. It’s also a good way to keep people informed on new changes; perhaps a hotel has opened a new restaurant, or a casino is featuring a special guest for entertainment.

Closer Contact With Customers
Thanks to social media, a disgruntled hotel or restaurant guest can vent their outrage out onto the Internet with reckless abandon. Hospitality industries that assign someone (perhaps from Marketing or PR proper?) to monitor social networks can find these problems and reach out to the offended party in the hopes of not only making things right, but also of changing their opinion of the establishment and consequently giving a more favorable public review.

This may sound like a lot of work, but this is the reality that businesses find themselves in today. A quick look, maybe twice a day, on various social networks to see what’s being said can really head off problems and bring businesses closer to customers, which in turn increases the likelihood of repeat visits.

But this close contact is not only good for dealing with complaints, but also for adding a personal dimension to communications between host and guest. Some hotel chains use Twitter as a virtual concierge, for instance.

Changing With The Times
Social media has opened up all new possibilities. You can become a hospitality industry innovator like Andrew Sasson by embracing the new technology while still maintaining ties with the traditional ways. Hospitality is at its best when there’s more of a human touch. With social media, that degree of warmth can be met with less effort than you think.

This post was contributed by John Terra who has been a freelance writer since 1985. He is a staunch believer in the power of social media to bring people together.

Photo Credit: wbeem

Sifting Through Social Media Signals

Have you ever tried to take part in more than one conversation at the same time? Before long, you confuse who said what, make a few verbal missteps, and wind up with your foot jammed firmly in your mouth.

Imagine how hard it is sifting through social media signals for information that will benefit your business. Thanks to Big Data and the new technologies designed to make sense of it all, the hospitality industry can do exactly that–extract valuable bytes of info, helping them move their business in the right direction.

Here are a few examples of how hospitality leaders have mined valuable nuggets of customer information from social media conversations–enabling them to improve their standing in this competitive marketplace.

1. Wendy’s Restaurants

Fast food chains have come under harsh criticism lately due to fat-laden menus that pack a hefty caloric punch. Wendy’s made an important discovery, simply through social listening. When office workers contemplate going to Wendy’s for lunch, one of their top queries is “How can I go there and not break my diet?”

If this question is left unaddressed, the restaurant runs the risk of losing the client to a perceived healthier venue. Instead, Wendy’s took this nugget of info and created an interactive app that allows users to build their own menus based on nutritional information.

2. Hilton

World renowned Hilton Hotels & Resorts has learned to quarry hot leads on Twitter. By monitoring the social media platform for tweets involving cities that have a Hilton Hotel, they are able to dialogue with potential clientele–fostering a positive brand image. Someone may tweet something like “Anyone know where to get great mojitos in Philly?” This tweet would, then, be funneled to the appropriate Hilton Hotel Employee in Philadelphia who would help the tweeter find a great place to quench that mojito craving.

By providing this type of assistance, the Hilton Hotels chain is able to create a positive reputation as a company who cares–resulting in great word of mouth on social media channels and face-to-face, and the potential for new clientele.

Not sure how to utilize Big Data in your business? Check out How to Unlock Big Data’s Potential.

3. Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

Large hotel chains that conduct business all around the globe have to navigate a variety of political climates. And, sometimes, they find themselves–and their guests–in dangerous situations. The Shangri-La chain of hotels has found a way to use social media listening to glean valuable information during times of unrest.

After the October 15, 2013 bombing of the chain’s “Traders Hotel” in Yangon, Myanmar, the company was able to monitor social media using Radian6 for chatter about the situation. As a result, they were able to manage the mayhem, ensure the safety of their staff and clientele, and receive information in real-time.

4. KLM

The Dutch Airline, KLM, has employed Radian6 to keep an ear on social media and Chatter to communicate data back to their social media hub, which consists of over 100 staff.

KLM’s sizeable social media hub was born in 2010, when the airline found itself grounded due to the Icelandic ash cloud. This highly successful program now sifts through over 30,000 messages each week, sorts them by language, and assigns them to the appropriate social media agent. This is done around the clock, every day of the week. The company promises to respond within an hour–a vow that has earned them a reputation for stellar customer service.

KLM is not the only airline that is putting social listening to good use. Learn how Qantas is using it to improve the service in their airport lounges.

It is imperative that members of the hospitality industry learn to manage and decipher Big Data. After all, when it comes to customer data, there is no such thing as too much. You can never know your clientele too well. And you can never dig up too much dirt on the competition.

Which social media platform do you think would yield the most useful data? Why?

This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer, avid blogger, and social media addict. You can follow her neurotic and OCD ramblings at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

Image courtesy of: [jscreationzs] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Shares Growth Plans

With more hotels, resorts and private residences being added to its robust pipeline, Four Seasons continues to expand its influence and global footprint.

The luxury hospitality brand has consistently set a high bar in regard to hotel social media, and they are consistently getting recognized for other reasons as well. Recent accolades include Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Hotel Awards, which included 18 Four Seasons properties, 22 AAA Five Diamond Awards, the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, which named 40 Four Seasons properties; and the Travel + Leisure T+L 500 list, which included 44.

18 Four Seasons Spas were recognized on the Condé Nast Traveler Top Spas list; 32 were US News & World Report Gold and Silver Badge Winners; and the company was the winner of the Best Hotel Group in the Telegraph’s 2013 Travel Awards. The brand is also one of Robb Report’s Luxury’s 25 Most Innovative Brands.

“The success of Four Seasons has been built on our unwavering dedication to the highest standards of hospitality, and that overarching principle remains at the forefront of our growth plans,” says J. Allen Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

“The foundation of our development strategy is to identify the right locations, and to work with the right partners.  As a management company, it is critical that we find owners and investors who share our long term vision and values, and who will grow with us,” continues Smith, noting that about one quarter of its investor/developer partners owns more than one Four Seasons.

In the past three years, Four Seasons has unveiled a dozen new hotels and resorts in locations as diverse as Baku, Shenzhen, Baltimore and the Serengeti.   In the coming year, new properties will open in Moscow, Johannesburg, Orlando, and Dubai, among other destinations.

“Our strategy is multifaceted: we are targeting destinations where our guests want to go, as well as those markets where we want to establish a local presence to raise awareness and introduce travelers to Four Seasons,” explains Scott Woroch, Executive Vice President Worldwide Development.  “At the same time, we continually explore options to enhance our position in destinations where we currently operate.”

New openings in the near future include a luxury resort inside Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida; a strategic foothold in the African subcontinent; a second location in Russia following the brand’s highly anticipated opening in St. Petersburg last year; increased presence in the Middle East with new locations in Bahrain and United Arab Emirates; new locations in India and the first in Korea; plus continued expansion into China’s major business and leisure destinations.

A key source of growth opportunities is to reflag hotels that are currently established under another brand.  In 2012, Four Seasons converted the historic Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe, and this year the company will raise its flag above The Westcliff in Johannesburg.

Another dimension to the company’s plans is the continued focus on residential opportunities.  Two thirds of projects currently in development include a residential component, whether primary or secondary homes or vacation properties.

“Working with our owners, we are also looking at our existing locations with an eye to improving our market position, whether it’s extensive renovations as we recently completed in Buenos Aires, Riyadh and Las Vegas; or the creation of destination-specific restaurant and spa concepts,” says Woroch.

Which new Four Seasons resort are you most looking forward to visiting?

Digital Trends Driving Hotel Marketing In 2014

With people turning increasingly to their smart phones to conduct all manner of business, it comes as no surprise that the hospitality industry is getting its share of mobile e-commerce traffic. Here are some of the hot digital trends for hotel marketing in 2014.

Time to combine the elegance of yesteryear with the digital trends of today

Social Media
Whether it’s Facebook, GooglePlus, Twitter, or any of the other platforms out there, there’s little argument that many people out there have some association with social media. This is a good time to focus some marketing efforts at social media, and that includes creating profile pages for hotels.

More Video
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video enhances that value. According to one source, 81% of online travel bookers checked out videos before committing to a purchase. Fact is, if you have a good product, video shows it off better (think walk-through tours!), and makes potential customers more inclined to buy.

Mobile Usage Trends Upward
Daily Travel News predicts that by 2017 half of direct online bookings will be done by mobile devices such as smart phones. Strong growth is predicted for 2014 as smart phones and tablets supplant the PC has the go-to way of accessing the Internet.

Website Load Speeds
Google is using load speeds as one way of determining search rank results, and it’s in your best interest to have your hotel’s website show up at the top of the page. Furthermore, visitors expect faster load times, and if your website can’t keep up, they will simply leave and find one that is faster.

GooglePlus
While some critics say that GooglePlus’ rollout has not snared as many people away from other social sites as expected, it’s a cold hard fact that Google favors GooglePlus when it comes to search engine results. Therefore, expect GooglePlus’ role in SEO to increase in 2014. If your hospitality business doesn’t have a page there yet, you’d better get moving.

The Importance of Remarketing
Remarketing is the process of targeting those people who visit a website without converting into a sale, and bringing them back. It’s a staggering truth that 96% of people who visit a website leave without buying anything. This includes featuring ads that people would see when they conduct a search or use mobile apps.

A Lot More Not Provided Keywords
A not provided keyword means that Google is not sharing some search information with you, namely the key words or phrases that the searcher used to find you in the first place. This is being done to protect the users’ privacy, but it also puts a big dent if your analytics are based on keywords. As it stands now, about 80% of Google searches come back as “keyword not provided”. Expect this to reach one hundred percent by the end of Q1.

Direct Bookings Over Online Travel Agencies
The travel industry has sure changed from the days of schlepping down to the local travel agent and booking a trip. With the explosion of the Internet, agencies brought their act online as a means of evolving, but even this measure may not be enough as meta-searches, strongly branded websites, and social media make it easier to simply do direct bookings.

The Rise of Meta Search
Metasearches allow users to search over multiple search engines at once. Hotels that want to take advantage of this function need to adjust their marketing to work with meta searches, therefore pulling traffic away from OTAs and bringing visitors directly to their sites.

Geo-Targeting
This one’s a natural for the hospitality industry. With geo-targeting, you determine the location of a website visitor and offer them content and deals that are tailor-made for their particular locale. For instance, if someone is in Detroit and they are traveling to Boston, having a deal for Red Sox tickets or duckboat tours would be a valuable asset, whereas it would be totally useless to a customer who’s in Seattle and is traveling to San Francisco. Geo-targeting lets you focus your ads on the right demographic, and prevents time (and money) wasting mistakes.

There are other trends to keep in mind of, but the above list is a good start. With the continued hotness of mobile computing, 2014 should prove to be an interesting year full of change. Those businesses that stay on top of those changes will be the ones that emerge successful.

This post was contributed by John Terra, who has been a freelance writer since 1985. He writes about everything from SEO tips to smart phones. He’s fond of checking out content on sites like Synscort.com.

Photo Credit: marcp_dmoz

The “Social Proof” Trend And Its Effect On The Hospitality Industry

No matter how much we strive to be unique–to set ourselves apart from the pack–humans are basically lemmings. Deep down inside, we are most comfortable when we follow the crowd, opt for the most popular choice, and follow the sage advice of our friends. “Social proof” influences many of the decisions that we make–including which hotels we will stay in, what restaurants we will frequent, and on which cruise lines we will sail.

And because of this human propensity for “following,” it is important for companies within the hospitality industry–and those who do their marketing–to recognize the significant role that “social proof” plays in the decisions of their customers, and to use it to their own advantage.

What is “social proof?”

If you were walking down the street and you encountered a group of people looking up at the sky, you are likely going to look up also. After all, these people obviously know something that you do not; therefore, it only makes sense to trust them and aim your eyes upward.

“Social proof” works in the same way. If a bunch of your friends “like” a restaurant on Facebook, have given it good reviews on Yelp, or have checked in at that location on Foursquare, you are more likely to eat there. These are people you trust, so their opinions are “proof” that this is a good place for a meal.

Winning “last minute” bookings

Mobile users, particularly those who wish to make a last-minute booking, are unlikely to plow through a pile of reviews. Instead, they want a quick way to find out if someone within their social networks has stayed at a hotel in the area.

Hot Hotels has cleverly partnered with SeatID to make this possible. Users of Hot Hotels’ booking app are able to log in via their LinkedIn or Facebook accounts and find out if any of their friends have used a specific hotel or visited a particular region. This “social proof” will likely determine which lodgings they select.

Building an arsenal of “social proof”

In order to benefit from social proof, a company must first collect “likes,” “five-star” ratings, and glowing comments. GuestNetix reports that since they incorporated customer feedback into the checkout procedure, they have seen a four-fold increase in the number of patrons providing hotel reviews. These reviews will translate into social proof for the friends and relatives of these patrons and win new clientele in the future.

Social Proof is all about Social Media

The quickest way for your clientele to access social proof is via social media networks. These same networks are also the fastest venue through which to build your company’s social proof. New York City’s Casablanca Hotel is well aware of this, having successfully created one of the most celebrated Facebook campaigns in the Big Apple’s hotel industry.

While Casablanca uses its Facebook page for traditional marketing purposes such as running contests, posting information links for visitors, and introducing their staff, they also showcase social proof. How? They make personal connections with their guests–thereby, also forming a connection with said guest’s friends and family.

• They post glowing reviews from Trip Advisor.
• Showcase photos of happy guests celebrating life events.
• Publish posts offering congratulations to guests who have celebrated life events like a wedding anniversary.

Yes, social proof is a significant motivator and the hospitality industry is starting to cash in on this realization. So, collect those testimonials, ask for “likes,” make use of those hashtags, and make sure that your online reputation is squeaky clean. And dust off that “no vacancy” sign. It’s going to be seeing a lot more action.

How does your business capitalize on social proof?

This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws. Kimberly is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and social media junkie. She loves to write about a plethora (one of her favorite words) of topics including custom cars, travel, pop culture, food and Rick Bolander’s Tumblr. You can follow her neurotic musings at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

Images courtesy of photos.com.

3 Ways To Bring Social Media Into Your Next Event

The power of social media continues to amaze me every day. As Event Planners, we are constantly adapting to the needs of our clients whether it be through F&B trends or new event technology.

If you are not already incorporating social media into your events, today is the day to start. Here are 3 fun and creative ways to incorporate social media into your next event!

1. Host A Social Media Contest

Everybody loves a little friendly completion, and a contest is a great way to engage your attendees in a fun and interactive manner.

Make your attendees a part of the experience; that’s what makes a contest fun!

2.  Hashing Wars

Assign attendees a specific (Insert color, fruit etc.) hashtag when they check-in at the event (Ex: #TEAMRED). Attendees use this hashtag in addition to the event hashtag to post live pictures and commentary at the event.

The team who generates the most tweets during the event wins and there is a prize drawing for the winning team.

There’s even a service that will help you set-up your hashtag battle and track the competition for you.

3. The Red Balloon

This awesome idea comes from one of my favorite event planning blogs BizBash, and I love sharing it at all my trainings.

AT&T created a social media buzz at several of their events this year with a red balloon, which is activated by an event hashtag.

The balloon expands as attendees tweet using the event’s hashtag. The person whose tweet makes the balloon POP wins a prize.

Image provided by BizBash

The bottom line is that social media enhances the experience for your event attendees.  Whether it is generating buzz and excitement to connecting niche audiences, it’s all about the SOCIAL in Social Media!

This article was contributed by Alex Cameron. Alex is a Corporate Event Planner and Social Media Consultant. She works with event planners all over the US and she is passionate about helping clients plan successful events in today’s tech-savvy world! She can be contacted on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

 

How Hotels Capitalize on Social Media Marketing

The holiday season just passed, and hotels highly used their social platforms to build brands and spread the word about availability. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks provide the perfect platform to connect with potential guests on a personal level.

These free marketing tools offer the chance for hotels to humanize their brands, promote holiday events and hold contents to generate new followers. As hotels develop their social profiles, followers develop loyal bonds to these brands.

From Starwood to Hilton to Marriott, hotel chains are getting social and connecting with fans. If your hotel isn’t logged on to these social platforms, you’re missing out on a chance for free marketing.

Humanize Your Hotels

Billboards and commercials can spread the word about your hotel, but they usually don’t highlight the personalities within your staff. Social media is a casual platform where businesses can let their guards down. Connect with social media followers by profiling hotel employees, posting pictures from company events or taken followers behind the scenes of your hotel. Users will appreciate the exclusive look at your hotel, and they’ll remember you for more than just a homogeneous ad.

If you’re stumped on what to include, start with pictures of employees, jokes, and industry related content, such as those found in the Pinterest pins of iAcquire NYC. With this inside look at the team behind the business, customers and guests see that there are real people behind the services provided.

Promote Events

The holiday season is the most festive time of the year, and surrounding events can make your hotel seem much more attractive. Use social media to promote events in your hotel’s area. Starwood is taking advantage of college football’s popularity by Tweeting about upcoming bowl games located near its hotels. Fans who are headed to these games may see these Tweets and make an impulse reservation. At the very least, Starwood hotels will be in the back of their minds, and also recognized for being in-the-know and loyal to its community. Post about holiday events in your area and your hotel can benefit from similar exposure.

Host a Contest

Have a few rooms available during a special holiday? Create a little friendly competition and invite users to participate in a contest or sweepstakes to win a stay at your venue. Prompt social followers to answer a question, share a personal story, or submit a photo, and see the engagement on your social account grow from there. Make sure to announce the winner and request that the winner comment about his or her stay, to show other social followers that there really was a winner.

Provide Variety

Rather than making all of your posts about your hotel, mix it up and provide some variety so that followers don’t get tired of being constantly hammered with advertisements. Insert some fun, lighthearted and helpful information that is relevant to the general public.

This post was contributed by Joanna Moore. Joanna runs social media campaigns for local charities.

Prologic First Enters Hospitality Cloud IT Arena with “mycloud”

mycloud-PMS-platform

The launch of mycloud HOSPITALITY is the latest in a string of technology and functional innovations from Prologic First, a technology provider who has leveraged on the benefits of cloud computing to deliver a cost-effective integrated solution for operations and management of guest facing applications in a hotel.

It is a single integrated solution that includes the traditional PMS, POS, channel management, web booking engine and receivables served to you on a pay-for-use basis over the cloud.

mycloud PMS is a comprehensive cloud-based service managing a hotel’s guest facing operations.

mycloud PMS functionality spans

  • rooms availability and rates management
  • repeat guest profiles and history
  • contracts management
  • web bookings through your hotel’s website,
  • management of availability and rates on third party web sites
  • reservations made directly at your hotel
  • front desk operations including guest accounting
  • housekeeping,
  • points-of-sale order taking and settlements
  • debtors accounting
  • management reporting and sales analysis

The service is easy to configure to the specific needs of your hotel and easy to use with little or no training at all.

Their helpdesk is available 24×7 to assist if any aid is needed.

Cloud based services offer many benefits –

  • Little or no up-front investment and quick start-up
  • No long term contract and easy exit option and
  • You are free of system administration responsibilities.

mycloud PMS offers answers to concerns about reliability, security and data ownership.

For reliability, mycloud PMS  –

  • is hosted on high availability servers with disaster recovery back-ups intended to provide 99.5% up-time,
  • uses very low bandwidth so that you can afford redundant back-up Internet connections … broadband or even 3G/4G,
  • sends you key operational reports by email, once each night, for use in the event of any disaster,
  • allows you to download a recent emergency package of reports at any time through the day, as further protection against disasters,

Access security to your database is controlled in mycloud PMS –

  • by authorizing users and assigning rights to them to perform specific tasks and
  • disabling users to access your system from any except specified IP addresses.

Your data is your own property. You can ask for and receive a copy of your data at any time through your contract to use mycloud PMS or when you determine to end the contract.

To learn more and set up a complimentary 30-day trial, visit MyCloudHospitality.com.