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Social Media for the Hospitality Industry

Social Sonar - Saturday, August 06, 2011

Cold Calling Concierge provides lead generation for the hospitality industry. Today we talk to owner Heather Yesko about social media in her industry and attitudes toward social media in general.

1. How do you use social media at your company?

Although we firmly believe that making face-to-face, or at least voice-to-voice contact with people is key, we have found that social media sites are outstanding resources when it comes to connecting with others. We use avenues such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find potential clients, to keep in touch with existing clients and to promote our services. Even though these sites are pretty standard in social networking, due to the overwhelmingly successful response we have seen using them, we don't have the need to go elsewhere. We are however, always open to trying new advances in social media as they arise.

2. Have you seen a change in how companies are using social media? If so, can you explain?

Within the past few years social media seems to have switched gears from being a 'trend' in the marketing industry, to a standard in the business world. I consider this to be a positive, natural progression in our society as long as people are able to maintain a healthy balance of new technology and old fashion practices. Utilizing the internet to boost business is great and I think everyone should be educated on how to do so, but commodities such as in-person meetings and handwritten letters are personalized touches, not to be forgotten.

3. Where do you see social media, as it pertains to hotels and hospitality, going in the future?

The sky's the limit. I think the hospitality industry currently has access to the social media outlets they need to achieve their desired results, but the problem is: A.) They don't know how to use them efficiently or B.) They know how to use them, but simply don't. I read somewhere once that social media has become a staple more than a distraction and I think that is a great outlook to have, but in order to have our employees and future generations adopt that mind-set, training and motivation is required.

4. As an industry, what would you say the top 2-3 social media sites are to keep an eye on? Why?

I have a feeling that the sites to look out for are the ones that have yet to be created.

5. Do you have a dedicated person(s) to handle social media at your company? Why or why not?

I personally handle all of our social media. My employees do not have the bandwidth to take on any tasks other than catering to their clients. I have found during my years of experience, that the majority of people in the hospitality industry too often become overwhelmed with having to multi-task throughout their day which leaves them spreading themselves too thin in certain areas; unfortunately sometimes the most important areas. Because of this, my employees each have the same job to focus on throughout the day, everyday. This practice has shown high productivity and consistent results.

6. How, if at all, has social media changed the way you interact with clients and potential clients?

Social media has allowed us to reach people, that without it, would have never even been a blip on our radar. It's amazing how easy it is to saturate a particular market, or research a certain cross-section of people with just a few clicks of the mouse. And likewise, clients and potential customers can easily contact us and stay up to date on our latest services on their own time.

7. In general, do you see social media reputations as being more of a brand or property-level responsibility? Why?

I feel that it is a mixture of both. I think it's up to the brand to set the standard and protocol for how they wish to represent themselves through social networking and its up to the properties to uphold those standards. The brand should educate their properties on how to efficiently promote their services, but it is each property's duty to take that information and use social media to make it a reality. It's kind of like a parent-child relationship, or at least it should be.

8. Do you think it is harder for branded/corporate or boutique/smaller hotels when it comes to managing social media? Why?

When it comes to managing social media, I can see how it might be harder for branded/corporate hotels simply because they are working on a much grander scale. Keeping their message consistent and making sure the their properties are actively using social media could present a struggle, but as long as they have a plan in place and have the right management in place to educate and motivate, it should run smoothly. Boutiques and smaller hotels might have an easier time managing their social media, but they have the added difficulty of it actually working for them. Because they are on a smaller scale and the public might not be familiar with their property, as they would a large, popular brand, their hotel could easily be overlooked or fall through the social media cracks.

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