The Super Bowl vaulted Oreo to social media superstar status. The Grammys made Arby’s relevant again. For many other brands, the 2014 Winter Olympics will prove to be a vehicle for virality. Why not your hotel? Why not now?

Major cultural events are unique opportunities for hotels to connect with fans in new, surprising ways. That’s exactly what exceptional hotels do in real life, too.

If you consistently plan and schedule a diverse mix of relevant content, you’re ahead of the game. But top brands are pouring gasoline on that little flame of predictability and creating a bonfire of buzz. They are finding ways to leverage events, holidays, topical news stories and organic trends. They are reaching new audiences and spreading brand awareness because they’ve balanced their regular broadcast with a healthy dose of observation and insight.

It’s a content-creation process that begins by training yourself and your staff to see trends and events differently. The question shifts from, “What am I going to talk about today?” to, “What are people talking about today?”

A good rule of thumb is to think about the proverbial water cooler. If there is a local event or news topic that is dominating your conversations with friends or colleagues, it could be a good fit for opportunistic content. It’s essential to exercise a little restraint, so you don’t just engage around any topic that is gaining steam online, but rather choose wisely the opportunities that align with your brand and can help position you in a thoughtful way to your audience. Just remember, for every success story, there’s a horror story — some mistimed, misguided post with good intentions. So choose wisely, be bold and don’t forget the hashtag.

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