ITB 2024 Special Reporting
A Social Business Manifesto for Hotels.
By Josiah Mackenzie
Thursday, 10th February 2011
Social technologies are rapidly changing the way companies communicate and operate, and I believe we'll look back on 2011 as the point this trend quickly accelerated.

Because of this, I'm focusing all my time right now studying and championing this "social" approach to management.

In our Introduction to Social CRM for Travel, we defined the concept as:

"A way in which to conduct your business through new communication channels while keeping the customer needs, wants and expectations as your focal point."

I encourage you to create a document on how this will look in your hotels. To get you started, here are some suggestions to expand on the idea:

We will have guest feedback guide everything we do
Everything from big-picture strategy to day-to-day tactical decisions will be made with guest feedback in mind.

The social web will act as a giant focus group to do research in and gather feedback from.

We will obsess over experience design
We know that that our guest experience is directly correlated to the feedback we receive, and the story others will tell about us. We will use all the resources we have to design and deliver a remarkable experience to every single person, every single time.

We will spend time on personal connections, not data collection
The value to participation is in relationship building, not data mining. We'll use technology to make the best use of our time in this area.

We will create very specific social reporting to cut through noise
There is a lot of chatter on the social web, and not all of it is feedback we can use.

We will avoid this pitfall by creating position-specific reporting that executives, managers, and frontline staff can use immediately in their day-to-day jobs. Insights need to be simple and there must be no confusion on what action should be taken. It should not require a "guru" to interpret. 2011 will become the year of the practitioner, not the guru. If we are going to make social media analysis something everyone takes part in, then we need to simplify it so non-specialists can understand the action steps.

Additionally, we will decide how to leverage additional analytics such as influence scoring into our reporting systems for highly-targeted communication and service.

We will actively use social intelligence in every area of our organization
Insights from the social web are useful for more than just our marketing and PR people.

Applications can be made for everything from pricing and revenue management to strategic investment decisions. We must start seeing social media as more than just a peripheral activity and spend more time integrating it with the rest of our business operations.

We will use social feedback scores for performance accountability
To measure the quality of our guest experience and level of service, we'll use guest reviews and ratings as a barometer of success.

We'll even look at making customer feedback scoring a factor in our bonus incentive packages for management.

We will see customer service as the new marketing
Service is not a cost center but a way to generate additional profits through taking great care of our customers in a way that builds loyalty and creates brand evangelists.

Word of mouth is playing an increasingly important role in travel decisions, and investing in delivering an extraordinary experience is the single most effective way we can promote our hotels today.

We will use social technologies internally
Social technologies can make our organization stronger from the inside. Rather than just viewing social tech as an outside activity, we'll use it within the business as well.

We'll implement communications tools to make our team more  productive and internal workflow more efficient.


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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