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Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “How Hotels Can Engage Guests Through Social Media”

As hotel guests continue to turn to social media as their primary source for information gathering and remote communication,SocialMedia hoteliers will be presented with numerous opportunities to create engagement among their guests via social media. If they succeed at connecting with guests on a social level, they can remain at the forefront of those customers’ minds when they book their next trip.

It’s no secret that social media plays a major role in the way the hospitality industry connects with customers. There are, however, more ways for hotels to use social media than to just attract guests before they book. With creativity and ingenuity, hotels can use this medium as a powerful marketing channel to build brand affinity and loyalty by engaging guests in conversations during their stays.

Below are simple but innovative ways a few major hotels are already using social media to create memorable guest experiences:

Installing Social Walls
The desire to connect with and meet new people is one that is shared by nearly all of mankind, but compelling any person to actively make connections with other guests during a hotel stay can be tricky. The Four Seasons Dallas, however, came up with a brilliant tactic to overcome this obstacle. During the Fourth of July holiday in 2013, the hotel unveiled “social walls” in its lobby. The walls consisted of screens that showed social posts of people staying at the hotel.

For more: http://bit.ly/1KcyOG4

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Social Media, Technology

Hospitality Industry Management Update: “5 Ways to Improve Responses on TripAdvisor”

Leisman cited data form a Phocuswright poll of the TripAdvisor community of travelers that found 84% of U.S. users agreed that an appropriate managementonline engagement response to a bad review “improves my impression of the hotel.” Six of 10 users (62%) said seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally “makes me more likely to book it (versus a comparable hotel that didn’t respond to travelers).”

It’s funny observing the disparate number of policies hoteliers employ regarding reviews on TripAdvisor. Company A insists on responding to every comment, while Company B tells its managers to reply only to the bad. Company C takes a different tact entirely: It doesn’t respond to any.

Those are the broad buckets. Nuances and further variation exist at each stage along the spectrum. And each company that employs them insists theirs is the only and obvious approach.

Some variety might be warranted. One hotel is often not like the other, so I understand a degree of unique plans that appeal to unique bases of demand, product offerings and location types.

But clearly there are some hoteliers who, despite their best intentions, are engaging with guests on TripAdvisor in a manner that could prove potentially harmful to further review rankings and thus future bookings.

In cases such as these, I find it’s best to go straight to the source for the prescribed best practices. In this case, that would be TripAdvisor—or more specifically, Heather Leisman, business VP of industry marketing.

This topic was top of mind for her. TripAdvisor recently released a report which examined why travelers write reviews. The top reason? “To share useful information with others” and because “they find reviews helpful, so they want to give back.” (Who knew the TripAdvisor online community was so altruistic?)

For more: http://bit.ly/1cgseQT

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Filed under Employee Practices, Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Social Media

Hospitality Industry Management Update: “Survey Finds Social Media Boosts Hotel Occupancy by 2x”

“The hospitality industry has experienced the impact social media can have on their business, both positive and negative,online engagement but these findings allow properties to quantify the impact of taking action on reviews—and make it easier to justify additional investments in social media engagement,” said Aurelia Setton, Medallia’s general manager for hospitality.

Hotel properties that actively engage with social media reviews grow occupancy at double the rate of properties that don’t, according to a study released by Medallia. The study examines customer and business data from more than 4,400 hotel properties worldwide to understand and quantify the impact of social media engagement on a company’s revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and social reputation.

Results Overview
The study found a direct relationship between responsiveness to social media reviews and occupancy rate. Properties that responded to more than 50 percent of social reviews grew occupancy rates by 6.4 percentage points, more than twice the rate of properties that largely ignored social media reviews. These socially engaged properties also outperformed the hospitality industry as a whole, which achieved a 4.3 percent occupancy growth rate during the same period.

For more: http://bit.ly/1cphmkq

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Filed under Employee Practices, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Social Media, Technology

Hospitality Industry Risk Management Update: “Cyber Security”

Petra Risk Solutions’ Loss Control Manager, Marco Johnson, offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Report – ‘How to Help Protect Your Hotel’s Computer Network and Information Systems’. 

P3 (Petra Plus Process) is the Risk Management Division of Petra Risk Solutions – America ’s largest independent insurance brokerage devoted exclusively to the hospitality marketplace.

For more information on Petra and P3 visit petrarisksolutions.com or call 800.466.8951.

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Filed under Crime, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Technology, Training

Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “How to Prepare Your Hotel for Smart Payment Systems”

Biometrics (voice recognition, fingerprint or retina scanning) is quicklysmartpayment becoming another method of user authentication…Actual credit card data is exchanged only within the bank and payment network, not directly tied to the customer’s interaction with the merchant, removing the merchant from handling that data.

By the end of this year, it’s estimated that 70 percent of all credit cards and 40 percent of all debit cards (about 1.1 billion in total) worldwide will be EMV capable. This payment system, also known as chip and pin, adds dynamic data to the transaction stream that renders replay of payment transactions impossible. And since every card contains its own microprocessor chip, EMV (which stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) cards are nearly impossible to counterfeit.

There’s no need for the card to leave the customer’s sight, and there’s no swiping. The credit card number isn’t exposed on a screen. Though not entirely fail-safe, the technology is a global standard and makes transactions hundreds of times more secure. In Europe, which has had EMV for years, reports indicate that card fraud has fallen as much as 60 percent over the last decade, whereas here in the United States, it’s increased about 50 percent over that same time period.

For more: http://bit.ly/1B2Dzwd

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Hospitality Industry Management Update: “Reviews Increasingly Drive Booking Decisions”

The next step for the industry is taking those positive and negative reviews into account when setting rates. ratesreviews_featureMolinari said Las Vegas Sands isn’t quite there yet but noticed software developers are innovating in the space…Davis said she has developed her own metrics and is taking ratings and reviews into account when determining her price positioning, although she admits her process is a bit subjective and does not rely on a specific algorithm, such as a software program might.

Online reviews increasingly are affecting booking decisions, although not all traveler segments behave the same way, according to research and various industry sources.

Multiple studies recently have highlighted the importance of guest reviews and ratings in the booking funnel.

A study conducted by TrustYou and Donna Quadri-Felitti, clinical associate professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, concluded that guest reviews have a significant impact on hotel conversion rates as well as the rates that travelers are willing to pay. Given equal prices, travelers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with higher review scores, the study showed. And when hotel prices are increased for hotels with better review scores, travelers are more likely to book the hotel with the higher score despite the higher rate.

For more: http://bit.ly/1wHkOuy

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Hospitality Industry Management Update: “How Much Guest Data Do You Have a Right to Use?”

Pillsbury does his best to makes sure the question of data ownership is ambiguous in his contracts, Bosworth says.big data “It’s left as a, ‘Let’s leave it so that the contract is unclear on this point.’” That’s not a bad way to go. “There’s a strong motivation for the parties to play nice together,” Bennett says. “Because if a big fight breaks out over who owns the data, the answer is going to come down to, ‘None of you own this data. This is the data of the individual.’”

Using big data to gain insights about hotel guests is a relatively new development in the lodging industry. When done right, it can provide actionable intel to hoteliers that can boost room rates and drive more business to loyalty programs and marketing campaigns. And there are plenty of tech outfits stepping up to lend their expertise to hotels. “We have 18 companies now that we’ve invested in through Thayer Ventures, our venture capital arm, all in the hospitality travel technology space,” says Lee Pillsbury, co-chairman and chief executive officer of Thayer Lodging Group. “One is able to analyze the number of airline passengers overnighting in New York City in any date in the future.” If there’s a huge snowstorm coming to New York, Pillsbury says, the company will take into account the weather forecast and the 600 flights that will be canceled and determine the number of people who will now be staying overnight in Las Vegas as a result.

For more: http://bit.ly/1rX5JUQ

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