While firm data and improved sales figures are needed for hard evidence that the hospitality sector has rebounded and is growing, it shouldn’t be taken lightly that a recent survey of hoteliers expressed optimism at the outlook for 2011. According to the survey, conducted by the Knowland Group, 88% of those surveyed said they expected to see the market grow this year. Though only four percent of hoteliers said expected to add sales positions to their companies in 2011.
The survey also revealed the hottest trend in the industry for 2010: social media. In a sign that symbolizes our time and society, hotels are seizing the opportunity to market directly to travelers. So the hope of becoming a social media star beat trends such as increasing customer reward programs and even going green. Though to us at The Refinishing Touch , these are not mutually exclusive activities – in fact these three trends are highly complementary.
With more travelers booking online, armed with home broadband, smartphones, tablets, and interactive TV, there are an undeniable wealth of opportunities for hotels to communicate. They can be transparent and demonstrate what their brands stand for, what their properties look like, and encourage visitors to share their positive experiences with each other. After all, many of us are more likely to believe and act on personal recommendations than from self-made claims of hotels.
Some hotel chains are embracing the sharing of online information in full-force, for example Renaissance Hotel has just launched a new online and mobile program called Navigator that brings guests online local knowledge and recommendations. Guests are given local ideas, recommendations and insights to meet their tastes, interests and requests.
Over the next month, we’re going to be looking at some of the social media campaigns that have caught our eye, just like the Renaissance Hotel’s initiative. There are some really interesting and engaging ideas out there.
And as hotels continue to get ‘social’ and drive visibility, enthusiasm, and revenues across the hospitality industry, we’re hopeful that four percent of new sales hires is just a thought, not the reality.