An unapologetic look at Hospitality

Entries from April 2011

No Vacancy 2011 – Social Media is a scam!

April 22, 2011 · 1 Comment

On March 23rd the No Vacancy conference was on in Sydney, Australia. I was supposed to go but instead I got stuck in the office dealing with real business. You know how that goes, someone has to stay behind making sure service to our customers isn’t interrupted. I was stuck following the events through various live-blogs, Twitter and the likes. What follows are a few highlights of #novac11 as seen through the eyes of an absentee.

William ShatnerFinding himself amidst several key-players in the socio-sphere, I couldn’t help but think that Mister Glenn Fogel of priceline.com should have gotten the price for gutsiest performance. Either that, or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Given that you don’t just become EVP of a company that large on good looks alone, maybe there is something he knows that we don’t. But to paraphrase, he called social media people scammers. Hmm! As the Web In Travel folks asked on their Facebook page. Did he say that out of fear or conviction?

The exact quote got somewhat lost in the shuffle for me (that in itself is an interesting side-effect of social media). Web In Travel used the term charlatans, while the Tnooz live-blogger Graham Robertson quoted Fogel as saying,  “No one understands if social media will work out. They are hucksters trying to steal your money.” Hmm times two!

To be fair to Glenn, he seemed to have mostly been talking about buying advertizing space on social networks. I am with Glenn at least on that one.  I don’t think an ad on Facebook will ever be more than marginally successful. In the greater scheme of things however, saying that no one understands social media flies directly in the face of soc. media success stories. A few of which being told at #novac11 that very same day.

Take for instance Accor hotels putting TripAdvisor reviews right on their own web site(s). That is a bold move! And it’s not just some test in a backwater market where nobody ever books a hotel either. During #novac2011, Accor’s Australian VP  Simon McGrath explained that Accor saw a booking increase at properties with lots of review traffic compared to those with less reviews. When asked why Accor didn’t use their own review system, McGrath’s answer was that TripAdvisor, as a third party, had much more credibility.

In the end it’s simple. Who do you trust? William Shatner or your neighbor?

Categories: Hospitality · Social
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RevPAR or RevPAT (Revenue Per Available Tweet)?

April 19, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Ok, I’ll admit the title is nothing if not totally misleading. But now that I have your attention, I want to talk about Twitter. You see, from a traditional marketing perspective Twitter may not at all be the “wunderkind” that some people have you believe.

Matter of fact, it may very well be the biggest waste of time in your marketing efforts. Research shows that only 29% of all tweets get a response in either a retweet (RT) or a reply. What’s more, of this 29 percent most all activity occurs in the first hour. In other words, if your tweet is more than an hour old, it might as well not exist.

You could say that not every tweet you write requires a reply or a RT, but it stands to reason that the lack of replies after that first hour is a direct result of how people use Twitter. They just don’t scroll back that far! Translation, you need a 1000 followers to reach 250 of them. All of a sudden your 100 followers don’t seem quite so impressive, do they?

Twitter is a broadcast medium, more so than any other social network. But it is a social network, and not the classifieds page. To keep people’s attention you need to offer something that is worth reading. Of course Twitter isn’t a complete waste of time (like I said above) but you have to be really careful not to be a waste of time. So if every 2nd or 3rd tweet you write goes something like “When you are in Savannah, why not stay with us?” (provided of course your hotel is in Savannah) you are not going to get much out of Twitter.

I once heard a hotelier say that tweeps (twitter users) follow hotels because they want to be kept up-to-date on good hotel deals. Really? The only way that Twitter will work for you is if you can clearly define the marketing goal that you expect from Twitter. Do you know what your Twitter=ROI is?

Categories: Hospitality · Social
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Rate Parity, again!

April 19, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Here is more evidence that, in general the public doesn’t understand rate parity at all. My question is, why should they? Shopping for the best deal is second nature to human beings. So much so that the not entirely dumb guys at the Guardian (the UK news paper) remain clueless as to what the hotel industry is trying to accomplish.  Read, and weep! (or rejoice as the case may be)

Are price comparison web sites sill a good deal?

Categories: Uncategorized