Social Media for Hotel Brands – The Why Not Just the How.
By Alicia Whalen
Friday, 9th April 2010
Great article a while ago discusses how the big hotel brands are looking at Social Media – specifically in more of a tactical way which is really quite refreshing to see.

The article in HotelNewsNow.com, summarizes Kimpton Hotel's & Resorts use of the social space for "forging specific relationships with their guests and building brand loyalty."

Niki Leondakis, COO of Kimpton also points out in the HNN article that integration of social tools such as Blogs into the main websites is planned for the coming year as well as a continued focus on encouraging "tweetups" and other ways for social communities to connect around Kimpton brands. This approach to integration instead of a web presence over here on facebook, one on Twitter – another on a Blog will be confusing to consumers as we grow more comfortable with true interaction and communication directly with brands.

My guess is that the successful hotel brand website as it is today will look very different in the very near future and will need to be the central gathering place for all brand points online – as well as the place for transaction.

Jim Zito, VP of interactive marketing for New York-based Morgans Hotel Group speaks more about going back to what works offline to assist in strategy for the new online media world. Zito is consulting with groups offline and online to really listen to how consumer behavior has changed in the new social online world. Smart. Not jumping in without understanding why first and making sure you are truly ‘hearing' what your customers are responding to.

Then there is Fairmont Hotels and Resorts – a brand who has not been shy in adapting to this new marketing medium. David Doucette executive director of Internet marketing for Fairmont speaks about the brand's use of exsisting social networks where consumers are already living and interacting (Tripadvisor), as well as the launch of a new social networking platform built around Fairmont brand stories for Fairmont brand loyalists.

Brilliant if I may say. Fairmont has a storied brand history, an consumer segment that is passionate about the brand, beautiful historic properties – and 'stories' to tell which may just be why building a specific brand social media community will work for them.

Fairmont's everyonesanoriginal.com social media community has just recently launched. (left)

What I like specifically about this article is that it focussed not on the "What" the big hotel brands are doing but "Why."

It is clear that Kimpton Hotels and Resorts, Morgan's Hotel Group and Fairmont have clearly laid out strategy, deployed testing, feedback from their customers and have determined their key measurables for both Brand loyalty and ROI.

This is clearly not a result of which chains have the largest budgets – and a good lesson to the industry as a whole.

Alicia Whalen is the co-founder of "A Couple of Chicks.Com" an Internet Marketing, Distribution & Revenue Measurement Company. After 8 years developing search engine strategies and measuring online return on investment for large branded hotels, resorts and destination portal websites in Niagara Falls Canada, Alicia partnered with Patricia Brusha to develop an integrated, non-intimidating approach to Internet Marketing and Web strategy. 

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