Social Media Week: Travel & Hospitality Go Social

Golda Criddle
Golda Criddle
October 1, 2012
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Last week was Social Media Week in Los Angeles, and I attended a panel specifically for the travel and hospitality industries called “Better than Room Service: Travel & Hospitality Gets Social.” The speakers were all involved in social media in various avenues of these industries: theatre, hotels and amusement parks. The panel had many priceless quotes about social media and innovative tips on how to engage with your community on social media.

Give purchasers something to talk & be passionate about – not a discount. Offer something unique.

Marketing Creative Jim Halloran of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles explained that discounts do not sell because they don’t make people emotional. “What kills social media is user fatigue, and what creates user fatigue is poorly executed campaigns,” he said.

An example of how to create such a unique experience was shared by Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Cera Lockhart of Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. The resort recently partnered with social network Klout to launch a weekend getaway campaign for top Los Angeles social media influencers. 20 influencers were invited to spend the weekend at Terranea Resort and compete for the grand prize title of Official Ambassador of Terranea with perks including limo transportation, a two-night stay each month for a year, daily breakfasts, $200 resort credit and much more. On Twitter, the campaign generated more than 23 million impressions in only two days and nearly three million users followed the hashtag #Terranea.

 “Social Media is like a children’s book, you want to see a lot of pictures.”

Joshua Fanning, a Marketing and Social Media Associate from Lawrence Moore & Associates said the above fact that is becoming more apparent every day. Twitter recently did a redesign of its profile pages by adding a Facebook Timeline-like cover photo to the top. Today, Twitter announced a tweak to its “Discover Tab” with an emphasis on photos, articles and other media. Facebook Timeline finally rolled out for everyone this year, and its new format emphasizes telling stories through pictures, tabs and milestones.

One of the reasons why Pinterest is so popular nowadays is its interesting visual interface. But Pinterest is not for everyone. LA travel writer and photographer Kayte Deioma shared two Pinterest-like sites during the panel— LoveIt and Dudepins. She recommended LoveIt as a bookmarking site with a strict copyright policy to protect photographers’ work, and DudePics as a place for marketers to reach out to men.

Interesting trend: each successful company… here has a dedicated social media staff person.

Moderator Kayte Deioma made this acute observation at the panel. It sounds so basic, but something that often businesses often fail to realize. Social media is not just a duty for a summer intern or worse, a side task for a busy employee. Social media is especially essential in offering better customer service. Social Media and Marketing Coordinator Sara Roderick of Four Seasons Los Angeles spoke about how hotels can create quality relationships by talking to people on Twitter and Instagram at their properties. These conversations can often be continued offline to create loyal guests and awareness. After all, 76% of people say that they share travel experiences through social media, so why don’t you join in?

Finally, I’ll close with another great quote from Holloran:  “Social media is a popularity contest with ADHD, but when one does better, all do better!” Amen to that. If you missed the panel, you can check out a livestream below.

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