Marriott International was recently included on the World’s Most Admired Companies list by Fortune Magazine, for the 17th year in a row…and all for good reason. Marriott is now the world’s largest hotel company in the world, following its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts**. Marriott is also home to Marriott Rewards, its global loyalty program and M Live, a 24 hour, real time marketing studio.
Facebook just announced a slew of video related updates yesterday, designed to increase their presence in the video space dominated by YouTube. The main reveal included the launch of a dedicated app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, with more platforms to come. This app, much like YouTube’s SmartTV app, will allow for a leanback type experience. According to FB’s blog post, the app will allow users to watch videos shared by friends or Pages you follow, top live videos from around the world, and recommended videos based on your interests. You can also catch up on videos you’ve saved to watch later, as well as revisit videos you’ve watched, shared or uploaded.
YouTube has just jumped on the live video bandwagon on mobile, given the growing prominence of the mobile platform and Facebook’s early foray (though not as early as Twitter’s acquisition and launch of Periscope in 2015…or smaller rivals like Meerkat).
The feature has just launched to YouTube creators with 10,000 subscribers or more…what’s interesting though are the added monetization options. Creators already earn an ad revenue share from their videos…with a new feature called ‘SuperChat’, viewers can now jump to the top of the comment queue by paying live streaming content creators. Popular creators who’ve been using platforms like YouNow and Live.me are switching to YouTube, given it’s broader reach and appeal.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” says the quote (oft attributed to Peter Drucker). Nowhere is this more true than the W Doha Hotel. The first W branded hotel in the Middle East, the hotel both silenced initial skepticism (how could such an edgy brand possibly survive in a conservative market like Qatar?) and blew away the competition, year after year (be it in terms of market share, food & beverage concepts or social media prowess).
What astounds me is not the fact that the hotel is always on the ball (everyone walking through the doors is treated like a minor celebrity), but that they are constantly pushing the envelope. Five to six years ago, they were the first in the region to adopt a ‘proper’ [in my opinion] approach to dedicated social media talent (called the eInsider, this person reported to marketing but had an equal work relationship with Operations, constantly on the move with service recovery, surprise & delight and influencer engagement).
Ever since the term was first coined, ‘viral marketing’ has become the elusive unicorn of the marketing world, pursued by experienced professionals and self-anointed ‘social media gurus’ alike. And the harder you pursue the unicorn, the lower the likelihood you’ll actually find it. Some have stumbled upon viral fame and tried in vain to replicate their success…a most frustrating experience. So can you really ‘engineer’ virality?
One of my favourite authors and bloggers, Seth Godin (author of ‘The Purple Cow’ and ‘All Marketers
Are Liars Tell Stories’) talks about creating something remarkable (i.e. worthy making a remark about) and focusing on doing something so well that you can get at least one person to care so deeply that they can’t get your idea out of their head. They’ll then hopefully share with someone else and the network effect begins, at least within the tribe/s of like minded individuals. This is one great way to approach ‘virality’ and helping your ideas spread. Be so remarkable that you just cannot be ignored.
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: