Monday, August 29, 2011

Hotels and Social Media: It's a Must


How many hotels have you seen on social media? Most hotels you stay at? I’ve seen a ton of hotels embracing twitter or Facebook, and a few on Foursquare and Youtube, but does that mean they’re doing it right?

I appreciate the fact that hotels are joining social media and some are joining in on their customer’s conversations, but it needs to be more than this. They need to work on incorporating it into their marketing plans, making their employees aware of their ongoing initiatives, and reward and respond to customers…. Customers expect this of hotels!

If hotels want to stay successful, they have to engage.  This may seem scary to various hotels, but social media presents a wider variety of opportunities for the hospitality industry.  Social media allows hotels to hear what customers want and whether they’re giving them what they need or not!  It’s also the best way to ensure customer service optimization by dealing with guest’s issues, complaints, and compliments both online and offline. It’s also another way to reach customers and better cater to their needs… and pick up on their personal needs and wants.

In other words, embrace social media because customers are already there spreading the good, bad and the ugly about EVERYTHING. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Smart Phones Are Here To Stay


I don't know if you've noticed yet, but mobile phones are transforming the world. At first it was little by little with the ability to e-mail, browse the internet and talk on the phone at the same time, and download entertaining apps, but recently mobile phones and tablets of all sorts have begun to integrate into every aspect of our lives, from entertainment to healthcare.

Mobile has become global if you haven't yet noticed. Thanks to social networking and factors like the accessibility of smart phones people are connecting ALL THE TIME. Brands have begun creating apps they know consumers will love, price them affordably, reward customers for various (real-time) behaviors and have begun engaging WITH them thanks so various social media sites. If you haven't yet embraced different mobile marketing tactics, you will soon be left in the dust by your key customers.

The market is also going to move towards mCommerce, mobile gaming/entertainment and the purchasing of virtual goods, so if you haven't started thinking about what you're going to do to stay on top, you'd better add mobile into your business strategy.

The most exciting key mobile trend for me has to be tracking where mobile health is going. Mobile health makes it easier for monitoring, diagnosis, wellness and with the adoption of tablets,  electronic health records and medical information will only get easier to track. Mobile health is going to be the biggest global  trend there is, especially thanks to easy solutions such as sending text messages to new mothers, drug addicts or patients with certain diseases.

Moral of the story? Jump on the mobile band wagon before it takes off without you...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are Demographics Dead?

I don't know about you, but I find TED talks to be some of the most fascinating videos and ideas I've ever watched. I absolutely love browsing through their themes and speakers and watching a variety of speakers talk about their ideas for global change, ideas for new companies and everything else you can find in there. This weekend, I was browsing through anything social media related and Johanna Blakely's Social Media and the End of Gender video really caught my eye.

If you haven't had a chance to hear her talk, her basic idea is that not only is social media going to end the age/gender/etc demographics, but it's going to call for the rise of women's input in entertainment and commercials. She argues that because old media companies are starting to realize that age/race/gender demographics aren't extremely relevant, they're turning to monitoring customers on social media. Because of this, they're realizing it's much easier to discover what their customers are interested in than finding out their age and more information about them.

She argues that old media companies and advertisers need to start searching through taste communities and aggregate WHAT people like and talk about in order to better cater to their needs. She thinks that social media will have a huge impact on the way old media companies once created movies, commercials and TV shows.

In a way, I completely agree with her in that I think as more media companies and advertisers continue to flock to social media sites, once they understand WHO their customers are by monitoring their interests, likes and even blog posts, then they'll be able to better cater to their customers every need and customers will respond positively as well.

There's nothing like feeling respected and appreciated, and I think eventually that's what companies are going to do.  I don't know about you but I loathe most commercials, and maybe if more companies monitored what I liked, they would realize what I'm interested in, and I would start paying more attention to what they're trying to sell me. Once this "gender revolution/social media revolution" begins, it's going to help both companies and customers create long-lasting, respectful relationships.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Tech Predictions and Trends...

It’s the start of a new year and the start of plenty of new, competing ideas and speculation about which social media sites will prevail and how customers and businesses will continue to embrace them.

There’ve already been plenty of predictions about which social media sites will prevail this year, what Facebook is going to be pressured to do, and how businesses are busy working on ways to include social feedback.

In my opinion, one of the industries that need to reevaluate the way they do business online is the travel industry. Some leaders have begun to realize that they need to listen to customers, engage with them, offer exotic deals that no one else can and give customers a unique experience as well as find a way to create loyalty and relationships. All travel agents and travel groups should be embracing all social media channels and updating the way they do business, because people aren’t interested in paying someone to just plan their trip. They want more, and know they can find it if they really want to. They want personalized and interactive trips, and the best way to show them is through youtube channels, Facebook pages for the hotels they’re interested in and Twittering with the hotels they’re interested. Travel agencies need to change the way they’re doing business, before they become obsolete.

The next big prediction/game-changer has to do with Facebook. Since Facebook introduced their Location Based Services- do you think it’s going to be a Foursquare killer, or work in parallel with it? It’s hard to tell which will prevail, or if either would find a way to integrate further with companies such as Groupon and LivingSocial.

I think either Facebook or brands with Facebook designers that decide to take it upon themselves need to find a way to exchange more information and recommendations on Facebook. Obviously, there are plenty of successful brands on Facebook who allow fans to comment and like various posts, as well as post their own opinion. But this can be cluttered and doesn’t always allow other customers to gather an opinion about a product… There needs to be a better way to do this.

What are your thoughts on social media in 2011? What is going to be the game-changers or next big thing?