As the debate rages on about social media and its impact (or not) on the hospitality industry, innkeepers wonder just what they have to do to stay competitive, especially in a tough economic environment. The topic often arises when The B&B Team addresses groups at the PAII Conference or the Mid-Atlantic Innkeeper's Conference or in consultation with individual clients as to whether a blog is important. Can it yield results? Let's take a moment to look at Bill Marriott's blog. After all, Marriott International is one of the largest hospitality companies in the world.
According to an article in the Washington Post entitled "Marketing Moves to the Blogosphere," Marriott uses his blog to show that he is "a human just like everybody else." While the blog is an important vehicle for Mr. Marriott to communicate personally with employees around the world, it's also a way for the traveling public to see a personal face of a huge chain. Not surprisingly, people like to make personal connections on the Internet, and that's why social media or consumer generated media (CGM) is so important.
What is really significant, and why innkeepers need to pay attention, is that Marriott has generated $5,000,000 (that's five MILLION dollars) in bookings directly from the blog. Mr. Marriott isn't always writing about company matters (employees make of 20% of his readership); sometimes he writes about a movie he saw with his wife over the weekend. This is the power of the medium, to do and be things that aren't suitable for your primary marketing venue, your website. And we know that those innkeepers who are blogging effectively are getting business from their blog. It takes time, patience, persistence, and passion. How about you?
Don't really understand what this is all about? Maybe you're still wondering what a blog is? Don't worry, there are many resources out there. Explore. Ask questions. We've been writing The Innkeeper's Resource blog for a little over a year, and, frankly, we're having fun with it. And, hopefully, those of you who are reading it will want to link through and talk to us sometime. It's a two way street. Come join the fun!