Over the years I’ve been fortunate to have many hoteliers tell me about their “aha” moment. That moment when they first realized the power of social media.
I’ve heard everything at this point. Front desk staff receiving complaints because a guest’s tweet for housekeeping went unanswered. General Managers receiving calls from their kids because an Instagram celebrity is in the hotel.
There are also the jaw-dropping tech moments that give us a glimpse into the future. It’s the Apple Watch, and seeing someone check into their room with nothing more than a wave of the wrist. It’s a series of tweets Facebook posts that break the news of a revolution in real time on the front lines.
Right now, we’re on the precipice of another massive paradigm shift. This is the long-awaited fusion of great camera phones capable of recording video, video apps capable of good compression, fast cellular networks capable of carrying the video, and social networks that have acquired enough connections to enable the viral spread of content.
The era of one-click instant live broadcasting has arrived in the form of Meerkat and Periscope (Periscope was acquired by Twitter for $100 Million a few weeks ago)—and surely many more challenges to come.
This isn’t about the next hot app; it’s about the very real, very near future and how it will impact your hotel. Welcome to the world where an owner can instantly showcase the development of a new hotel. Welcome to the world where the Director of Romance can walk you through your honeymoon destination in real time. Welcome to the world where a chef can show you how to cook your favorite recipe exactly when you need it.
It’s a frictionless experience, which means the good comes with the bad. Be prepared for a time when a guest can broadcast a dirty room or a crowded lobby to hundreds of live viewers.
The likes of FaceTime and Skype and Google Hangouts have merely been teasers for what we now have at our disposal. When Apple introduced FaceTime, InterContinental Hotels leveraged the tech with an app that allowed guests to connect directly to concierges. We’ve seen Richard Branson do press events by broadcasting live via Google hangouts. Ultimately we’ve been teased with the idea of seamless video communication for the masses for a long time. Meerkat and Periscope are the first real wave of the revolution—a revolution that will be streamed, not televised.