News for the Hospitality Executive
Report on Social Media: Not Just an Online Network for
15-year-olds; It Can Be Used by
Hotels to Deepen the Brand and Expand the Relationship with the Customer
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 11, 2007) – “Social media is not just an online
network for 15-year-olds; it can be used by hotels to deepen the brand
and expand the relationship with the customer,” said Cindy Estis Green,
managing partner of The Estis Group, as she presented the findings of an
extensive report on Social Media and its impact on both travel marketing
and marketing in general.
HSMAI assembled a panel of professionals “in the trenches” of social media to share secrets and insights for its use as a sales and marketing tool as well as predictions for dynamic future applications. Dr. Suzanne Cook, Senior Vice President, Research for the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), headed up the panel including:
Some of the topics covered in the report include:
Estis noted that $4 out of every $10 spent online is being spent on travel, and in 2007 there will be $198 billion dollars spent online.
She also noted that the hospitality, travel and tourism industries have progressed from 1995 when websites were effectively nothing more than electronic brochures. “In 2001, we began the e-commerce age when booking engines were added, and in 2006 we launched the dawn of customer engagement.”
Marketing used to be just to push the message out to the consumer. Peter said it well: “It used to be a monologue with online communication, now it’s a dialogue.”
Payea said, “You have to know what’s being said about you and monitor it. You have to become involved in that dialogue. But, he cautioned: “Your time and what you say to answer a complaint and how you interact and reply says a lot about your operation.”
Peter added: “With consumers you are already exquisitely transparent whether you like it or not. You don’t have a choice.” But, he noted: “The total marketing budgets don’t have to be large to be effective in social media.”
Hurlbut added: “Groups are being formed via social media.” She urged, “You need the manpower resource behind it to start. Figure out what your goals and objectives are before incorporating specific techniques. Build your social media tactics with your short-term and long-term marketing strategy. There is little cost and risk in trying it.”
Estis said, “You can’t be interruptive in your messages anymore. If you are on a bridal site you can’t send sales messages to the brides. You need to listen long and hard to better understand the players and the context of each specific social network before you speak, and sometimes you may realize it is not appropriate to speak at all.”
Everyone on the panel agreed that the Internet is, in fact, becoming one big social network. Learning the topography of this complex set of networks is the first step for marketers to develop a strategy of customer engagement.
The report will be available for purchase in late September or early October via both HSMAI and TIA. The report can be pre-ordered at a cost of $99 for HSMAI members and $149 for non-members at www.hsmaipublications.com. Volume discounts are available for pre-production orders of 50 copies or more.
The Strategy Conference was organized by the Hotel Directors of Sales & Marketing (HDOSM) Special Interest Group (SIG) of HSMAI. Sponsors of the report include: Publishing Partners SECURE-RES and TIG Global. Sponsoring supporters are Open Hospitality and Yahoo. Conference partners include Smith Travel Research and Rudner Law Offices.
|Also See:||Report Predicts Dramatic Changes in Hotel Marketing Discipline as Result of Consumers' Use of Social Media; The Cost to Use these Tools is Low and the Impact is High / September 2007|
|Social Media Scrutiny – Managing a Hotel’s Online Reputation / Neil Salerno / September 2007|