Can you Digg it?

Dig it, formerly just common slang used to show someone’s enthusiasm for something. Also, a popular lyric in the 90’s song “Whoomp there it is”, sing it with me now “Can you dig it, We can dig it!” Common slang no longer, Digg it is now  an incredible online tool that allows individuals to discover and share content from anywhere on the internet. The more “diggs” an article gets the faster it spreads across the web. It is genius!

I spent a great deal of my afternoon scouring the site and found so many interesting things; from baking to travel and marketing I am completely hooked. As I was searching I came across an article by Daniel Craig, author and hotel consultant. Formerly the General Manager of the Opus Hotel in Vancouver, Daniel is now a highly coveted social media expert in the hospitality industry. In fact, I actually attended one of his seminars a few months back. It was incredibly informative much like this article, “Social Media for Hotels – Taming the Beast“.

Daniel does a fantastic job putting social media for hotels into perspective. I specifically like his comparison of social media to a difficult guest who demands a great deal of attention. While dealing with this guest you are asking yourself, is this really worth it? The answer is yes! One bad review or unhappy guest will likely be shared with hundreds of people. Just like poor maintenance of social media means you will not be front of mind in future and potential guests. It is incredibly important to put an emphasis on social media in the hospitality industry, your guests are talking about you and good or bad you need to engage in the conversation. This article is not only informative but also enlightening and I really “dugg” it.

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How do you know?

Are your social media efforts working? I think that this is a very common question for companies divulging in the social media realm. How do you increase your followers on twitter and ultimately create greater brand awareness for your hotel? Simple, run a good old fashioned experiment.

Not only do you want to generate interest in your brand but you also want to produce results, you want to see a return on your investment and ultimately engage your potential guests.

The Test – Create 2 separate tweets:

*contest alert* RT this to win a 2 night stay @bestwestern once we hit 5000 followers we will draw a winner

Tell us your favorite thing about @bestwestern for a chance to win 2 nights, RT this for a second entry

Run these 2 items separately and track, RT’s, mentions and new followers. Your target audience are your current followers and individuals that are not aware of your hotel.

By creating these different tweets, one of which engaging your guests and the other simply putting your name out there you will increase your followers. The question is which one will be more successful. The reason I would test both of these methods is to see which one generates the most interest amongst individuals. It is very likely that the simple re-tweet will provide you with the numbers you want faster. Contesting is a sure fire way to increase awareness but it is also a bit of a double edged sword, it is hard to know if people are genuinely interested or if they are just looking to win free stuff.

Personally, I feel that the second tweet will likely produce lower figures but it will provide more effective results. By engaging people and asking them what they enjoyed about your property you are not only creating positive feedback but also building a relationship with current and potential guests. With so many hotels this is a very important factor, this is because you will be front of mind when they plan their next vacation. It will also allow you to know what is working well for your property.  More importantly, the key to success is knowing what works for you and for your guests and by running a test you are one step closer to finding out.

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Personality? You Betcha!

The choice of your social media personality is one of great importance. Not only does it define the way you communicate but also how your readers perceive you. I like to think that mine as not all business, but more business and strategy that incorporate a bit of fun and entertainment. It is important to maintain readership and I feel that in order to do this, you need keep your readers entertained. I think it is important to be consistent and also relatable, this allows readers to form a connection with you. If you are all business all the time, individuals might find your readings a bit dry and become disconnected.

I chose this type of personality because the hospitality industry is light and ever-changing but also, always has fun events and/or promotions in the works and you need to be able to roll with the punches. People are excited to travel and plan vacations and they want you to be as well. I feel that the www.roomwithaviewblog.com campaign embodies everything that a hospitality blog should be. It is professional, yet still fun and entertaining for readers and potential guests. Not only that, you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy it. They have created the blog in such a way that a wide range of readers can relate to it.

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Transparency is Key

Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication. Transparency is no longer a nice to have, but an imperative in today’s world. With the internet connecting everyone together, companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it or not. Both the good and the ugly can spread like wildfire by e-mail or with tools like Twitter and Facebook. Zappos lives in a world of transparency…

Source – http://blog.advancemarketworx.com/

After reading the quote above I have to say that I completely agree. In addition, from a hospitality point of view transparency is a crucial element of success. With the up rise of Social Media, many new communication channels have been opened for consumers. I think that a perfect example of this is Tripadvisor. On this website, travelers are able to post reviews about their experiences, these come in all forms including; the good the bad and the ugly. In addition to that, hotel representatives must register as owners and they are not entitled to post reviews about their own property, however, they are able to post a response to reviews; making this site a legitimate and transparent resource for travelers.

In reference to this, I have created a fictional example to provide insight into the importance of transparency.

Scenario:

You have your hotel listed as a 5 star property on travel websites in order to generate more revenue. When in reality the hotel is of 3 star caliber. When guests arrive there expectations are going to be high because you have given them false pretenses about what they have paid for. Of course, they are going to be disappointed, they will likely complain and then not only will they spread a negative image by word of mouth they will also post their negative review on Tripadvisor, which will remain there for as long as the site is in existence – Meaning that not only will you lose revenue in the long run but also that your reputation is forever tarnished.

The Right Approach:

Be transparent; list yourself as a 3 star property. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have people staying with you. It just means that you may not have the guests looking for a high end product. It is not about trying to pass your property off as something it isn’t, setting false expectations will always backfire. Set reasonable expectations and then exceed them. In the long run this approach will leave you with happy guests and ultimately higher revenue.

It not only about being transparent but also, upholding your reputation.

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The Focus

I decided to go with a focus on the hospitality industry because I feel that it is a very diverse area with great potential for growth within the social media world. I also feel that there are so many areas that are not being capitalized on and could provide a great return for the industry. Currently, if you were looking to book a hotel for your vacation there is a good chance you will look to a friend or family member for a recommendation. Word of mouth is probably one of the hospitality industry’s largest marketing tools. With that being said, it is important that hotels, airline and other travel companies are engaging in a conversation with their customers.

I hope to use this blog to focus on how companies within the hospitality industry can you Social Media to generate exposure and create relationships with their customers through this ever changing marketing channel.

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Welcome!

Hello World! My name is Kim Jewell and I am a marketing student at BCIT. I have started this blog in addition to my original blog Diary of a Jewell as an assignment. Most might find the idea of a blog for school daunting, but I find it to be a welcome addition. I enjoy reading informational blogs as much as I enjoy reading blogs for pleasure and, I feel that writing one will be an exciting new challenge. I have decided to focus on Social Media geared towards the hospitality industry. I currently work in the industry and have a diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management so it seems only fitting.

I look forward to sharing my insights and tips for success, welcome to Jewell Media.

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