Social media and the hotel industry

Hi this is Sofie Sandell, welcome to my podcast and now also transcribed blog post. Today I’m going to share some of my thoughts about the hotel industry. I met up with my mentor Mats Östblom a while ago. He’s been in the hotel industry for over 25 years and he is the hotel director for one of the hotels in my home city Gothenburg in Sweden.

We spoke about social media, hotels, how things have changed and what people do today when they’re traveling. One thing I’ve noticed is that my network is great at sharing pics from their trips on Facebook.

When I look back at myself what I did when I was a kid I travelled with my parents and in the summers we often went abroad. Before I travelled I told my friends “okay we’re going abroad we’re going to do this and do that, and let’s see what’s happening, I will let you know when I’m back home” and when I was away we explored, we went to different places and I spent an afternoon just writing postcards to my friends about where we were and what we had been up to.

When I was back home I called my friends: ”I’m back now, I will show you some pictures from the trip later”. When I had been developing my pictures a few weeks later I showed them my photos.

Now when I’m traveling I am likely to update what’s going on in real-time. Once I almost missed my flight due to that the Gatwick Express train was almost one hour late. I panicked and updated my Facebook status about that in real time, I got some compassion comments and felt better.

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Today you update of what is happening, about the people you meet, what people are saying, you take a cute pictures and share videos. And when you get back home you have already shared your trip with your friends. It’s exactly what I did as a child, but it took longer to do it.

The social behavior between people are still the same.

My mentor and I continued to discuss what has happened in the hotel industry. When people now book a hotel they’re not even sure whether they are on the hotel website or if it is a website that is gathering all hotels in one place. People think they’re going to the hotel website. In reality they go into one of these enormous websites such as hotels.com, Tripadvisors, Expedia and book from there. All these travel sites have made the whole hotel industry a bit worried. And they should be I think.

Many hotel websites and brands may not be that social as they should be. Take a look at hotel websites they are not that innovative at all. They look the same, feel the same… Some of them are not even proud of their brand story and you have no idea who they really are.

They are not that different from each other, they say the same things as their competitors do. I think that hotels need to shape up their social media profiles and be a bit more social and have more social conversations with their audience. They need to communicate their brand values better and show more interest in their audience. I’ve looked at many London hotels’ websites and the more famous a hotel is the more history and background information you can find on the site. We love that kind of information.

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I found the Marriott hotel CEO’s blog very interesting. More people in the hotel industry should copy his example. You can read it here: www.blogs.marriott.com

Thank you that’s all for me today, I wish you a great day. Sofie