A new study from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration details that hotel reviews posted on social travel websites, such as TripAdvisor and Travelocity, positively impact a guest's willingness to book reservations at a premium rate for a reviewed hotel.
"The Impact of Social Media on Lodging Performance," by Chris K. Anderson found that the number of reviews as well as the willingness of consumers to assign credibility to hotel reviews has increased over time. Anderson also found that a 1-point increase on Travelocity's review scale – such as increasing a hotel's review from 3.3 stars to 4.3 stars – drives an 11.2 percent premium in a hotel's rate, while still maintaining occupancy and market share.
Given these results, it's increasingly clear that hoteliers must dedicate resources to monitoring their social reputation, actively review online hotel reviews and invest further in guest experiences on-property to create engaged guests. (Read more on who writes hotel reviews)
Since the rocket-like launches of Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest years ago, organizations have been asking the million dollar question in regards to social media, "How can we convert fans into buyers?"
Countless books, seminars, blogs have been devoted to the topic of social media ROI, but (sadly) most seem to miss the most obvious point.
While I don't proclaim to have all of the answers, the answer to the question of converting social media followers to customers seems a rather obvious one: The same way you converted your existing customers.
But some of your fans – a large majority – are standing on the sidewalk. They like your window display, but it hasn't compelled them to open the door and try your brand. And this is where your business acumen and experience – more so than your social networking skills – come into play.
A recent presentation by Peter Yesawich, vice chairman of MMGY Global, highlighted a number of trends and insights for the hospitality market in the near term. While there was definitely a lot of beneficial information presented, one key insight may emerge as the number on trend in hospitality: multigenerational travel.
"Multigenerational travel" or "mutligen travel" most commonly refers to grandparents traveling with grandchildren, but can reflect any number of generations traveling together.
According to MMGY Global, more than 20% of travelers are grandparents. Of those, 40% have taken a trip with a grandchild during the past year. And eight out of 10 times that a grandchild comes along, so does a parent.
As you can see, the market is already well developed. As more affluent baby-boomers retire and begin traveling alongside children and grandchildren, this market will will just continue to mature (pardon the pun!)
Several elements are key to capturing this target market, but most important among them is a well-developed recreation program that meets the needs of these guests collectively. Broadly inclusive cooking classes, walking tours, and lower-impact activities that can be enjoyed by all age groups are key.
For the hospitality market, multigenerational travel represents one of the few demographics that shows extensive growth potential domestically. Beyond just welcoming family guests, multigen represents a new gateway for luxury hoteliers. Traveling alongside affluent parents and grandparents, economically stretched GenX and GenY consumers are discovering brands that can serve them for decades to come as their affluence grows, making this a significant play for the luxury market.
I happened upon a curious article entitled "How to Roll Up Your Shirt Sleeves" via a luxury company's social media and it really struck me. As a man who wears shirts, I suppose I am well-within the blog's target demographic for this post; however, what really interested wasn't the content, but rather the positioning.
The article details (with photos AND videos!) different ways for men to roll up their shirt sleeves. This is, I suppose, interesting information for a number of readers.
Beyond the content, I think this is a great example of how to position yourself as an expert.
Each of us has a number of interests in which we have a great depth and breadth of knowledge. Be it personal or professional, I'm sure there are several areas in which you could be considered an expert. And therein lies the opportunity.
By taking the next logical step and SHARING your expertise, you can not only impact your audience but also establish yourself as an expert – a status that can reward you handsomly in career pursuits. After all, who would you rather hire/work with/buy from? An expert or the other guy?
In what areas are you an expert? Find your niche and roll up your sleeves!
Travelers today are innundated with resources to assist in planning trips. Among the tools are first-hand "unbiased" published on the major booking sites, including TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and others.
But, have you ever wondered, "Who writes these reviews, anyway?"
Olery, a reputation management company, has taken a stab at answering that question and the answers are pretty interesting.
Generally speaking, Olery found that hotels receive about 300+ reviews per year on average and that 46% of travelers post hotel reviews. Reviewer demographics skew slightly towards female guests, with a plurality of reviews being written by 35-49 year-old guests.
Interestingly, guests on vacation and leisure travel – those who are spending their own money – write the majority of hotel reviews.
Question: What's the best iPhone / Android app that you're *NOT* using?
For 95+% of the iOS and Droid users, the answer is BUMP.
This great app allows you to quickly share your contact information or photos with other new contacts by simply bumping your phones together. Seriously, it's that easy. You don't have to call one another and save the number in your phone, download VCards or any other legacy sharing strategy. Just bump and done!
You already know how to use Expedia, Travelocity, and TripAdvisor. You're not an online travel novice. Perhaps you're using more advanced tools like Kayak, Hipmunk, and TripIt to plan your vacations. But are you neglecting to use the #1 travel resource in the world? If you're not using a professional travel agent, then you're putting your time, money, and experience at risk. Travel agents are travel EXPERTS. They've been there, done that, and donated the t-shirt.
There are many, many good reasons, which I will explain. But the bottom line is that they know more than you do, they are better connected than you, they have access to benefits you can’t get otherwise, they can often beat any other prices available (even online, yes), and after you have planned everything, they provide a safety net during your trip that you simply won’t get by booking yourself or buying insurance. Having a top travel agent can also make you an instant VIP – free room upgrades, hard to get restaurant reservations, cutting lines, access to otherwise closed stores and exhibits, private guides, and cheaper – often much cheaper – premium airfares. Here’s the best part: even though most top agents charge fees, in almost every firsthand experience I or my friends, family, and acquaintances have had, travel agents have saved money, often a lot of money, thousands of dollars, and in every case, more than paid for themselves.
Ryan Estis posts a great blog on the value of sales positioning and how the role of the sales professional has changed in the last ten years, including this slide on the difference between the sales rep and the sales expert.
I'll give you two shots on who wins more business, but I bet you'll get it on the first guess.
The new year brings opportunities for introspection and resolutions. For me, that means trying to live the words of the Holstee Manifesto.
This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop, they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them. So go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.