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Social Hospitality

How Hospitality Brands Can Get The Most From Google Plus

How Hospitality Brands Can Get The Most From Google Plus

Utilizing Google+ business pages is extremely important for a number of reasons. In addition to recently merging Google+ and Google pages, we all know Google is the leading search engine, and therefore the integration of Google+ with search engine marketing is critical. Windmill Networking’s Google+ columnist Mark Traphagen points out: Google+ represents far more than Google’s attempt to get into the social network race to compete with sites like Facebook and Twitter. As head of  Google+’s Vic Gundotra has said, “It’s really the unification of all of Google’s services, with a common social layer.” Furthermore, in a March 2013 article on …

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Travel Startups Turn to Social Media to Thrive

Numerous travel-based startups have emerged over the past several years and many of them rely on social media integration to thrive.

The hospitality industry is an extremely exciting space in which to be involved. Social media has assured that things never get boring, and that hotels, restaurants, airlines and all similar businesses constantly innovate to stay ahead of the curve. Numerous travel-based startups have emerged over the past several years and many of them rely on social media integration to thrive. Airbnb is an example of one such social website. It connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. Through their experiences on Airbnb, guests and hosts build real connections with real …

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A Look at Airlines on Facebook

A Look at Airlines on Facebook

The hospitality industry has benefited greatly from social media, having narrowed in on a variety of creative uses. In this column, I’ve focused primarily on hotels and restaurants, but wanted to provide some due diligence to the source of getting there: air travel. Airlines have made significant waves in social media, and specifically on Facebook, over the past several years. Major brands such as Southwest, Virgin, American Airlines, United and JetBlue all have six or seven-figure fanbases, and post regular updates and engagement stimulators. Darren Booth of CNBC featured an interview with Jonathan Pierce, American Airlines’ Director of social media communications. …

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Destination Marketing and Social Media: Why Not Join Forces?

Courtesy of the Okinawa Tourist Information Website

Our social media for the hospitality industry expert Debbie Miller has already touched upon how destinations can better leverage social media. However, if you think about it, how are you not only going to get people to come to your destination, but also where are you going to have them stay or eat? More than anyone else, destination marketers should be reaching out to ecosystem partners and joining forces in being proactive in engaging with relevant and active social media users. I recently participated as a Brand Ambassador for All Nippon Airways (ANA) on one such “brand mashup” between ANA …

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Social Media Lessons from Rubio’s Restaurants

Social Media Lessons from Rubio’s Restaurants

In addition to honoring their 30th birthday this January, Rubio’s has a lot to celebrate. The restaurant chain known for its fish tacos, flavorful seafood dishes, and devotion to the ocean celebrated a big year in the digital space in 2012. On Cyber Monday, they branched into the retail space with the debut of an online store that features a variety of Rubio’s gear for all ages. Their Facebook page showcases a ton of personality, and features a variety of content from gift card incentives, to giveaways, to quizzes and fill-in-the-blanks. They also have a Facebook tab entitled “original stories” where people are …

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Four Seasons Sets a High Bar with Social Media

Four Seasons Sets a High Bar with Social Media

Four Seasons has done an exceptional job integrating social media into their website and general marketing, and constantly continues to expand its social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Weibo and Pinterest as well as TripAdvisor. Their corporate Facebook page has over 150,000 fans, while their Twitter feed has over 60,000 followers. With a Klout score of 70, it’s evident the brand places a lot of focus on engagement with guests and those tweeting about their hotels. In addition to corporate pages and handles, Four Seasons also maintains individual hotel, resort and restaurant pages and handles as well as interest-specific interactive blogs and sites that are …

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Three Ways the Hospitality Industry is Using Instagram

Three Ways the Hospitality Industry is Using Instagram

With a $1 billion acquisition by Facebook and over 80 million users as of last August, Instagram has officially become a platform to watch. Destinations, hotels and restaurants would be amiss to undermine the potency of having a presence on this channel, and optimizing it through a promotion or some sort of initiative to maximize the potential exposure. How Can a Destination Use Instagram to Promote the City? In September, the city of Toronto partnered with Four Seasons on a contest that encouraged entrants to visually depict what Toronto means to them. Users were required to follow @FourSeasonsFotog on Instagram …

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Three Key Trends for Social Media in the Hospitality Industry in 2013

Three Key Trends for Social Media in the Hospitality Industry in 2013

2013 is just around the corner, providing a great excuse for the hospitality to re-evaluate trends and strategies for the new year. Maintaining a successful business in the social space in 2013 and beyond will involve staying ahead of the curve and making sure to adapt to the evolving nature of the medium. The Growing Influence of Mobile Tablets and mobile devices are becoming mainstream ways of accessing information, so having and implementing a mobile strategy and websites will be imperative. For travel in particular, the number of people making hotel and restaurant decisions through mobile devices is constantly rising, and it’s imperative for brands to have a …

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Community Management is as Important to Restaurants as Other Consumer Brands

Community Management is as Important to Restaurants as Other Consumer Brands

A few years ago, I and a group of friends that met through social media formed an Orange County-based networking group called ConnectOC. The group’s goal was to create opportunities for local businesspeople to meet others in a comfortable environment, free of cost. A local Hilton hotel hosted our first two events complimentary, and we were also able to get numerous donations from businesses for goodie bags and silent auctions, which allowed us to raise thousands of dollars for local charities. While busy-ness has limited us to just one event a year the past two years, social media events definitely …

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How Restaurants Can Mobilize (Pun Intended) Brand Loyalty – and Better Leverage Social Media

Leveraging social media for restaurants gives long term benefits to a business.

Encouraging brand loyalty is an important part of encouraging repeat business. A great way to do this is via loyalty programs, which encourages customers to return again to eventually receive some sort of reward for doing so. In the pre-technology days, this was commonly done via stamp cards; for example, if you buy 8 coffees at many cafes, you get one free. On a trip to San Francisco last year, I noticed that several of the places I went to eat had signage for “Stampt.” Rather than a physical card you have clogging up your wallet, you simply download a mobile application, …

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How Food Trucks are Advancing Business with Social Media

How do gourmet food trucks use social media?Image courtesy of The Butcher's Son

  Food trucks have evolved rapidly over the past several years, many regularly booked throughout the week as various popular events and accessible locations. This hospitality industry relies primarily on social media to spread the word and keep fans appraised of their whereabouts, and some are doing so in unique ways. Dallas-based Two Trucks LLC launched its food-truck brand, The Butcher’s Son, in October. Two Trucks is led by CEO Jonathan Wagner, son of Johnsonville Sausage founder Ralph Stayer, and Dain Pool, son of Pool Restaurant Group’s CEO, Dan Pool. The brand mainly features Johnsonville products, like sausages and brats. The Pool/Johnsonville relationship provides the truck an advantage …

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Hospitality Industry Social Media: “Get Social” Pages are Perfect

Starwoods shining example of social media for the hospitality industry.

Hotels and restaurants have huge opportunities to use various social media platforms to reach guests. Consider Instagram and Pinterest, the new kids on the block, and how visual-centric these spaces are, and how frequently food and travel experiences are shared there. But, say a hospitality venue has a new Pinterest account. Aside from marketing on Pinterest and cross-promoting across other channels, what’s the best way to let their audience know? Many in hospitality industry have created areas of the website specifically designated to highlighting their social media presence. For example, Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has a “socialize” …

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Mobile Apps a Must-Have for the Hospitality Industry

Mobile Apps a Must-Have for the Hospitality Industry

Hotel and destination mobile apps are a great way to create space for travelers to learn more about where they’re going and plan their vacations accordingly.  Exploring an actual (non-mobile friendly) site on a smart phone can be burdensome when it’s not mobile-optimized as the user is forced to zoom in, read tiny print, then attempt to click on tiny links with big fat fingers.  Mobile apps, on the other hand, are specifically designed for smartphones and tablets, and, according to PhoCusWright’s U.S. Corporate Travel Report: Market Size and Technology Trends report, 51% of US travelers access travel content on …

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How Hotels Can Use Video in Unique Ways

How Hotels Can Use Video in Unique Ways

In an increasingly visual world, it’s imperative for brands to think outside of the box in order to differentiate themselves from competitors and stay ahead of the curve. Hotels in particular are able to do this in a unique way, since every hotel has some sort of defining quality that sets it apart from others. Joie de Vivre hotels (JDV), which means “joy of life,” strives to create innovative hospitality services and products, and has designed numerous one-of-a-kind boutique hotels, restaurants and spas. Last summer, they transformed the standard hotel check-in process into a musical experience when they launched “Singing for …

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How Hotels and Restaurants Can Benefit from Social Media Events

How Hotels and Restaurants Can Benefit from Social Media Events

Social Media events are a great way for hotels and restaurants to gain exposure. Though offering up freebies to a large audience could initially feel like a loss rather than a gain, the potential ROI of doing so in this context is uniquely unprecedented. It may seem counter-productive to invite locals into your hotel, as hotel business relies on over-night visitors and, obviously, people who live in the city where the hotel resides aren’t going to be staying over there.  But many hotels also require business in other fashions, like renting out their meeting and conference space, and drawing customers …

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Why Foursquare’s City Badges Are Perfect for Destination Marketing

Why Foursquare’s City Badges Are Perfect for Destination Marketing

Foursquare, boasting more than 15 million users, is the leading location-based social platform that allows users to “check in” to places via their mobile phones. There are several components that make Foursquare attractive to its users, including the ability to earn freebies (many locations now offer complimentary items just for checking in), plus the social component — being able to share information about favorite spots with friends, and learn about new places from others as well. Another factor that makes Foursquare appealing is the game component, which rewards users with points and “badges” for checking into certain places. While this aspect is …

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Out-of-the-Box Airline Social Media Initiatives

Out-of-the-Box Airline Social Media Initiatives

Social media has become prominent in various aspects of travel, and the airline industry has honed in on a number of out-of-the-box ways to utilize it. From general customer service, to classy events, to luggage tracking, to allowing guests to choose their seatmate, airlines have been tying in social media in various ways. Luggage Tracking Delta Airlines implemented a system for travelers to track their checked baggage. Via the airline carrier’s iPhone app, guests are able to monitor the whereabouts of their luggage at all times. It’s very easy: once you’ve checked in your bags, simply take a photo of …

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How the Hospitality Industry Can Use Pinterest

How the Hospitality Industry Can Use Pinterest

Pinterest has emerged as a social platform to watch as more businesses jump on board (no pun intended). It lets users organize things they find on the web by creating pinboards then “pinning” items onto boards of each corresponding category. My first thought upon learning about businesses trying Pinterest was that it’s a perfect platform for travel marketing since there are so many (independent and collaborative) components people consider when planning a vacation. Plus, so much of leisure vacationing is taking in scenery, so there is already a very visual association with travel planning. Here are a few ways the …

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The Time is NOW for Social Media in the Hospitality Industry

The Time is NOW for Social Media in the Hospitality Industry

Social media has revolutionized the way businesses are able to interact with consumers – It sets an unprecedented opportunity for brands to raise the bar in providing unique, personal experiences for customers past, present and future. The hospitality industry in particular has an enormous opportunity to market in innovative ways via tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogging, mobile-based initiatives and more. The definition of hospitality is “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.” The industry traditionally consists of lodging, restaurants, theme parks, transportation and other entities related to the tourism space.  For a segment distinctly characterized by providing excellent customer service, the incorporation …

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