Having obtained early access to the beta of Facebook Graph search (currently only available to US English users), I immediately (of course) dived right in to see if I could replicate the funniest Facebook Graph searches that have been making their rounds on the web. While the feature certainly didn’t disappoint, it was also time to test out the more serious aspects of Graph Search for hotels, restaurants and all things local… the power of lasting social recommendations.
Just as Google has been trying hard to put a ‘social’ twist to all things search, Facebook has now put a ‘search’ twist to the social experience. From the standpoint of a local business like a hotel or restaurant, the most irritating thing about social platforms is that they do not offer referrals with any longevity… i.e. it’s not very easy to dig up the best Italian restaurants your friends have been to (or like) in the past few months, without racking your brains and doing some serious timeline stalking (doubt if anyone has the time or patience either). Most social platforms have been trying hard to fix this problem…FourSquare’s interface changes are a great example, with a renewed focus on local discovery and highlighting businesses and specials near you.
As hotel operators and marketers face another fresh, promising new year ahead, many are watching the social media space closely to gauge the level of time, expertise and financial investment that will be required to make it all worthwhile. Having observed the space keenly so far, here are 6 quick (personal) social media predictions for the hotel industry in 2013:
Google recently presented their vision for how display advertising is likely to evolve by 2015…these seven predictions are something all marketers worth their salt absolutely MUST be informed and aware about.
To summarize, here are the broad predictions:
- 50% of ad campaigns will include video ads bought on a cost-per-view basis
- 50% of ads will be bought using this real-time bidding technology to tailor experiences for different viewers
- Smartphones / mobile is going be the number one screen for digital brands to engage users
- There will be at least five metrics that advertisers will regard as more important than the “click”
- 75% of web ads will be “social” in nature i.e. Ads will be shared, discussed, subscribed to and recommended
- Rich media formats enable great creativity and interaction – these will grow from 6% of display ad impressions to 50%, especially for brand building campaigns
- Digital display advertising is going to grow to a $50 billion industry
It’s interesting to see how the buzz around social media and related developments has gradually grown over the past two years in the hotel industry. In 2008 social media was still considered a fad and made the odd appearance here and there in hospitality news media…now in 2010 you hardly find any hotel news publication, hotel blog or newsletter worth their salt without the token social media piece.
Looking at the wide variety of hotel social media articles, however, it appears very clear that the technology adoption curve (or diffusion of innovation) is alive and well. Every hospitality blogger and hotel news company is talking about social media…but the articles (and authors) clearly follow the curve. I thought it’d be fun to list some of the types of social media articles and blogs currently making the rounds atop the diffusion of innovation curve…here goes:
Now that I have your attention with my intriguing post title, allow me to explain just what I mean… and boiling frogs and organ donation do indeed feature in this little blog post!
All the recent furore over Facebook privacy has shown no signs of abating…and for good reason. Privacy, after all, is a sensitive and important issue. Or is it?
There’s no doubt that Facebook has made a startling entrance in the online world and taken over our browsers and mobile screens rather quickly. Official stats from Facebook claim that 400 million users currently use the service and almost half log on every day. Globally it appears that people now spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook…an enviable record for any platform.
The amount of information shared on the site has also grown in leaps and bounds. Users typically share a substantial amount of personal information, photos and information on personal preferences. Choices of who we connect and communicate with also give away loads of behavioural information (in fact, Mark Zuckerberg claims he can predict a relationship breakup in advance of it actually happening, plus who you may end up with next, with a 33% accuracy based on this data alone).
Matt McKeon recently put together a great graphic that illustrates the amount of data that is now publicly available via your typical Facebook account. Check out where we stand in April 2010 in the graphic below…and visit the site to compare how things have changed since 2005.
A picture may be worth a thousand words…but most hotel PR & Marketing managers today would be at a loss for words at the plague of user generated photos out on the Internet today. Hoteliers may need to get used to the fact that competing with their ‘official’ previews of what to expect, past guests have provided quite an unflattering visual footprint for those to follow. It’s no secret that hotels pay thousands of dollars for painstakingly taken, doctored photos that would entice even the most hardened globetrotter to positively drool in anticipation…and hit that book button. Great pictures DO sell.
Just as the transparency offered by the Internet in terms of rates has given many a hotel revenue manager gray hair, the ability to easily share rich media on the web promises to do the same for the marketing ilk. One only needs to turn to photos posted on TripAdvisor or Flickr to obtain unflattering photos of virtually every nook and crany of your hotel these days. Plus aesthetic slip-ups and the dreaded ease with which users can now take and publish photos online virtually guarantee that any dirty rooms, dropped drinks, deteriorating facilities and other ‘oops’ moments get their 15 mintues (or perpetuity) of fame on the Internet (as if old high school photos resurfacing on Facebook wasn’t bad enough!).
So is it all bad news?
In this day and age, it’s a rare luxury to be able to switch off completely…no phones, no internet…connectivity (and work-life integration) thrown to the wind! Yet, I had the opportunity to do just that last week…and despite the tons of pending tasks, I flew out, switched off…and had a ball!
Of course, when you get back, you always wonder why you ever left The price…800+ emails waiting in multiple inboxes and the mountain of tasks had grown just a little higher since I last saw it. But it was worth it!
Here’s a curious bit of netiquette I stumbled onto upon my return. Now, I’m a huge fan of Twitter and I think its paved the way to a better live / realtime Web. But to be honest, I’m a low to moderate user at most. I love being able to check what people are saying about certain events, brands and products. The plethora of tools and sites that boost Twitter functionality are also fun to experiment with. Plus I’m slowly getting the hang of ‘Twetiquette’.
This message had me stumped though:
(I found this in my @replies…I’ve blurred out the thumbnail and twitter ID of the sender)
“Great…another lame social networking site. I don’t have time for this stuff! Heck, I hardly use my Facebook account…how do people manage to keep these things updated anyway?” exclaims a fellow hotelier. On some days and with certain social networking offshoots I’d be inclined to agree. However Twitter is truly something else.
Although it’s hard to take a count, there are at least 140 ‘popular’ social networking sites, varying in community focus, from business networks to friend feeds to photo enthusiast platforms. MySpace and Facebook lead the pack, with Compete.com ranking Twitter the 3rd largest, with a population of approximately 6 million users and 55 million visitors per month.
Here’s a peek at the hotel guest experience in the near future. With mobile phones becoming an increasingly important marketing and CRM channel, improving technology and awareness will soon allow hotel marketers to enhance the hotel guest interaction, in a very similar way to what’s described below…
Hotel Booking and Research
Sam wants to book a hotel for an overnight stay in a nearby city in a weeks time.
He visits a website to look for hotels to see what’s available.
He sees a hotel he likes and book a room online.
I did a quick survey recently called the Twitterati Dozen. This was basically an online survey with 12 questions addressed to prominent and very active Twitter users, to obtain their thoughts on Twitter use, connections, peeves, best practices and more. A big thank you to those of you who participated – the survey link was posted on Twitter and 100% of the results obtained within the first 24 hours. The majority of survey respondents who were contacted directly are based in the United Arab Emirates / Dubai (60%). Other geo-locations include France, the Netherlands, Spain, UK and USA.
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- 6 Hotel Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2013
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- The curse of too much choice
- Analytics and Reporting
- Digital Marketing Strategy
- Hotel Affiliate Marketing
- Hotel Digital Marketing
- Hotel Distribution
- Hotel Email Marketing
- Hotel Industry News
- Hotel Loyalty Programs
- Hotel Mobile Marketing
- Hotel Online Advertising
- Hotel Online PR
- Hotel Paid Search Marketing
- Hotel Photography
- Hotel Referral Marketing
- Hotel Search Engine Optimization
- Hotel Social Media
- Hotel Videos
- Hotel Viral Marketing
- Hotel Websites and Design
- Online Marketing Tools
- Restaurant and Bar Marketing
- Future Hotel Trends - 8 Hotel Guest Demands that will shape hospitality
- The Hotels vs OTA Paid Search War - Get Your Defensive Strategy Right
- Pinterest for Hoteliers - A Guide to Pinterest for Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants
- 10 Things I Hate About Hotel Websites - Infographic
- 6 Hotel Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2013
- TripAdvisor Advertising - CPC Case Study and ROI
- About Hotelemarketer
- An introduction to Hotel Affiliate Marketing
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- Hotels and Restaurants on Facebook Graph Search - First Impressions and Tips