Part of our objective in this space is to bring thought leadership on the trends that are impacting hospitality, travel and your business. Not surprisingly, trends such as search, mobile and ‘social’ are affecting society at large; with the ripples into travel being a natural extension and application of the tools. Travel has been one of the sectors where uptake of new technology has had particularly disruptive impacts.
In the coming weeks and months we’ll explore various elements but today “social” is in the spotlight. They say“what’s in a name”. Have you noticed the evolution of what particularly marketing and business people call social these days? It started out as social “networking” (what people did with it). Then the marketing folks showed up and we called it social “media”. Then it became social “business” and now the market simple calls it “Social”.
One key thing to remember is that the people who are on social, never set out to do business. Hence the difficulty of ‘monetizing’ social. (Well that and the privacy thing but that’s a whole other can of worms). In seeking ways to help hoteliers cut through the considerable clutter, and get to something ‘actionable’, we like the concept of social ‘review’; those social validation sites like Trip Advisor and others that have a direct impact on your business.
While also hard to quantify, you can see the ‘smoking gun’ for yourself by looking at traffic rankings in Alexa. Check out Expedia, Booking .com and Trip Advisor and pay particular attention to the Clickstream tab. It will show you Upstream and Downstream sites visited immediately before and after. You’ll see a relationship between Google, travel sites and Trip Advisor amongst others. There’s ample empirical evidence that guest prospects are searching, checking sites, validating in Trip Advisor, then going back to hopefully book!
We call it social “review” and think that its low-hanging fruit for getting your arms around ‘social’ in a way that’s actionable, manageable, measurable and has a direct effect on occupancy and ADR. More on social review later but for a high-level overview of social in general, check out the Social Trends Report.