Jumeirah Group Explains How Luxury Hotels Should Use Social Media.
By Josiah Mackenzie
Thursday, 27th May 2010
A few days ago I had the opportunity to discuss social media for luxury hotels with Terry Kane, Director of Digital Strategy at the Jumeirah Group – which includes some of the most iconic hotels in the world, including Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Essex House in New York.

Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Is social media useful for luxury hotels? Do you know if your guests really even use it?

We know our guests use social media before, during, and after they stay with us.

Peer review sites are especially important for everyone in hospitality. We know our guests use the likes of TripAdvisor consistently across all our properties. And we're not afraid of that. If you have a good product, you have nothing to be afraid of.

So we try to incorporate elements of social media throughout our websites. We encourage them to leave the hotel site and see what people are saying, but also to share information that they find on the site with their friends or family. It is about feeling comfortable, in your own environment and we like to ensure that we are open to this.

Do luxury hotels use social media differently than other hotels?

We try not to use superlatives to hype the properties, on the social media channels, this is not necessary. It is important to be there and promote why the stay will be special, but with a sense of individuality for the user. Normally, we find that is actually the guests that leave reviews that use superlatives to describe their incredible experiences.

Instead, we use a lot of rich media – letting beautiful images and video tell the story for us. If you have a good product, it will sell itself.

How many people do you have working on new media at Jumeirah Group?

There are 12 people on our team.

How do you select people for this team? What is your hiring criteria?

One of our interview questions is asking what social media networks they use personally, and how they use them. And we go beyond that to discover what might indicate they are interesting, engaging people. For example, I like to hear when someone is a fan of the TED conference videos or that are actually on the cutting edge of digital, knowing what is coming prior to becomiong mainstream.

Hire geeks! Hire the type of person that admires  the entrepreneurs that have made it like, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs or even Bill Gates – people that built companies from nothing.

We do a lot of recruiting through social media, so it's a self-selecting process. For example if someone says on our Facebook page that they want to work with us, we direct them to our website to apply.

I've received a lot of questions the past few weeks about how to create a social media policy or guideline. How do you do it?

The first line in our social media policy says Jumeirah Group supports social media use.

Only certain people in our organization can make official statements on behalf of the group, but we encourage all our colleagues to take part. Your employees can be your best brand ambassadors and guardians. We are also not blind to reality and need to ensure that all channels are monitored.

Do you have any thoughts on the concept of a social media ambassador? What characteristics should they have?

Knowledge and information is important, but the most valuable characteristic is integrity for the channel user and for the company.

How does that look practically?

It's someone you can trust to tell the truth. Not hyped-up marketing talk, but realistic responses that answer the question, but also that ensure the brand is represented in the most reflective way. It takes time to find them, but they are invaluable in the Social Media Landscape.

How do you handle social media across all your properties?

We have separate corporate and property-level social media accounts.

Social media is often best handled locally.

Those closest to the guest should be involved in managing the communication.

What's next for luxury hotel marketing?

Mobile marketing will be increasingly important. The type of corporate / retail luxury traveler that stays at our properties is more likely to use an advanced smartphone and expect mobile specific rich media content for their device. Often they require basic content – information, contact details, safe and secure booking functionality – but delivered well.

Localization is huge. We created a Japanese language twitter account, and that is doing very well. Localization is more than just translation: it's understanding what is culturally important, creating content, then delivering it in an appropriate format all throughout the clickstream of brand contact.

Generally speaking, the semantic web will play a big role in everything online and those that understand the opportunities and are first movers will truly have the edge.

Original article: www.hotelmarketingstrategies.com/luxury-hotels-should-use-social-media

About the author
This blog is written by Josiah Mackenzie, who enjoys exploring the relationship between emerging technology and the hospitality industry. 

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