Hotel Social Media

Long Tails, Tribes, Digital Natives and New World Hospitality

If you were to read the titles of popular business literature today, you’d think we were headed back to the dawn of society… where human societal interaction had just begun to evolve. This is not so far off perhaps, since we stand on the brink of yet another evolutionary leap in the way we communicate, collaborate and lead. Be it the tribes of yore or the digital amalgamations of like-minded individuals along a ‘long tail’ of meaning, something’s definitely shifting…

I watched Seth Godin’s TED presentation online recently and was intrigued by the concept of ‘Tribes’ that he’s reintroduced. While critics have been quite hard on the book with regards to substance, the basic ideas are quite sound and make for good observations of how human interaction is evolving in the digital age.

To give you a jist of what the hoolabaloo is all about, here’s the video, plus a few excerpts taken from Amazon reviews of the book:

Editorial Reviews: From Publishers Weekly

Short on pages but long on repetition, this newest book by Godin (Purple Cow) argues that lasting and substantive change can be best effected by a tribe: a group of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. Smart innovators find or assemble a movement of similarly minded individuals and get the tribe excited by a new product, service or message, often via the Internet (consider, for example, the popularity of the Obama campaign, Facebook or Twitter). Tribes, Godin says, can be within or outside a corporation, and almost everyone can be a leader; most are kept from realizing their potential by fear of criticism and fear of being wrong. The book’s helpful nuggets are buried beneath esoteric case studies and multiple reiterations: we can be leaders if we want, tribes are the way of the future and change is good. On that last note, the advice found in this book should be used with caution. Change isn’t made by asking permission, Godin says. Change is made by asking forgiveness, later. That may be true, but in this economy and in certain corporations, it may also be a good way to lose a job.

People have always tended to gravitate towards those most like them…the incredible ease and reach of the Internet has allowed far more people to find like-minded souls, who perhaps share the same views, passions and hobbies, no matter how strange or obscure.

Thinking of “Tribes” though does make me wonder about how hospitality can learn and benefit from this societal trend.  How do digital natives* view the world of hospitality, hotels and travel? Is old world hospitality just as effective as it once was? What do hoteliers need to learn from this evolving generation to adapt their service and products to? I think these are questions all hotel professionals need to think about… and not just by providing free Wifi and MP3 docking stations in guest rooms. The issues run deeper here… from the way hotels are designed to the way we interact with our customers…and provide meaningful experiences. This goes to the root of how hoteliers will need to communicate their brand values in the future, how PR professionals will reach ‘tribal’ thought leaders and how General Managers will need to adapt to their younger Gen Y workforce.

How serious are these threats (or?) opportunties? What are YOU doing to prepare for these challenges? Leave us a thought, critique or comment and let us know!

– JJ

* A digital native is a person for whom digital technologies already existed when they were born, and hence has grown up with digital technology such as computers, the Internet, mobile phones and MP3s. Source: Wikipedia

4 comments on “Long Tails, Tribes, Digital Natives and New World Hospitality

  1. Thanks JJ

    Fortunately, I don’t write for my critics, I write for the people who want to change. And it seems to work.


  2. As always interesting point of view from Seth Godin. As always I wonder where he finds material for a next his bestsell.. no shiny idea ))


  3. Hey JJ,Nice article and nice website! Im a big fan of Ted Talks and Seth Godin. Keep up the good work.


  4. We're definitely moving to a tribal society which impacts the definition of our target markets (look at interests and passions rather than demographics) and our product offerings as well as how we communicate and who the opinion makers are. I wrote about this topic in one of my Luxury Travel and Lifestyle Trends newsletter which you can find on my website, under Articles.


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