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12 NovemberHotel Referral Marketing - Reward Hotel Guests in Tough Economic Times
I’ve been racking my brain for the last few weeks over what to write about. The interesting thing is that it’s not lack of choice that’s been the trouble…it’s too much of it! From the excitement caused by US underdog Barack Obama’s win and the promise of a brighter political future… to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer causing a buzz with his first-ever “holographic” interviews in the newsroom, there’s been plenty going on to keep techies and armchair futurists abuzz. And while CNN’s holograms weren’t really holograms when you cut to the chase…one development is very real…the advancing global recession that we’re slowly coming to grips with.
Hospitality media has been filled with reports about dropping profits margins, especially in hard hit areas and suggestions to hoteliers on how to best tackle the market situation, i.e. tough it out, work smart and dust off your selling shoes. What surprises me, though, is that while the hotel industry continues its distribution war with online 3rd parties with super-deep advertising pockets, it still continues to ignore its most lucrative booking distribution channel…its guests!
An excerpt from an earlier article I’d written titled ‘Back to the future: Meet the hotel guest of 2020’:
Hotel Guest: I stay. I sell : I choose where to stay and what to do based on the recommendations of my personal social network. Why should I trust all the hype, marketing and advertising when I have perfectly good friends & like-minded acquaintances who’ve been there, done that? If I like what I experience, I may recommend the hotel to my network…and get paid doing it.
Most savvy hotels have already come to grips with the power of consumer voice on the Internet, via sites like Tripadvisor.com and it’s ilk. Proactive hoteliers use these channels to actively listen, respond to and troubleshoot guest concerns. Not only does the voice of the hotel guest get heard a lot faster and louder on the Internet, it also affects the volume and quality of hotel bookings. A study conducted last October by comScore and The Kelsey Group of 2,078 respondents, including 508 who used online consumer reviews, found that online, consumer-created reviews have a big impact on prospective buyers. The study showed consumers were so trusting of online reviews, they were even willing to pay at least 20 percent, and up to 99 percent, more if a company was rated excellent or five-star than if a business received a good, or four-star, rating.
So why aren’t hotels working harder to get these great referrals?
Article continues here:
Jitendra Jain (JJ)
About the author: At work, Jitendra Jain (JJ) is employed with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Dubai as an E-Commerce Manager and handles hotel online marketing & distribution. At play, he is the founder of various online initiatives like www.hotelemarketer.com, www.thetalentjungle.com and www.younghotelier.com (among others) that dream, connect, educate and share all that is glorious about hospitality, technology and most importantly…the people that define our times
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