Social media has sparked a fundamental shift in the way hotels connect with guests. Formerly private, one-to-one conversations between a hotel and their customers are exposed on a global level.

A tectonic shift

There’s a battle outside
And it’s ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

-Bob Dylan

Social media has sparked a fundamental shift in the way hotels connect with guests. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have taken formerly private, one-to-one conversations between a hotel and their customers and exposed them on a global level. The effects of these conversations — positive or negative — are far-reaching, impacting immediate revenue and long-term sales alike.

This isn’t a tiny shift; it’s a tectonic, hold-on-by-the-seat-of-your-pants shift that requires hotels to rethink their entire game plan. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry, and through my work, I am exposed daily to new ideas and vehicles to make an impact in this wild, new frontier. If you’re like me, you’re enticed by the challenges and the opportunities they present.

One opportunity that makes social media so exciting (and challenging) is how every stakeholder in a hotel contributes to the overall social media presence of the property. An asset manager who is sharing photos of a renovation to Instagram, a guest who posted a video of the check-in process to YouTube, a chef who teases new menu concepts on Twitter — all of these independent stakeholders are broadcasting and engaging in conversations around the hotel. Do the photos shared by the asset manager to his personal social networks end up driving revenue for the hotel? Does the content shared by the chef need to be approved by the marketing team before being posted? If the general manager Googles the hotel and sees the guest video of the check-in process, will he be pleased?

It’s my belief that social media has an effect on every area of the hotel and every aspect of the customer experience. Social media is not just something kids today are using. It’s not full of gurus spending their time trying to get you to “believe” in something mystical. It’s real, it’s measurable and your customers are already using it.

With “Rules of Engagement,” I’ll spotlight some of the unique ways hotels are adapting their current strategies to convert social engagement into new revenue opportunities.

Stay engaged.

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