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Social Media in Hotel Operations - by Yu Hsan Wang

The amount of smart phone users are ever-growing, and ownership of smartphones have become the norm.  With carriers rolling out cheap data plans, wireless internet on the go has become extremely affordable.  The widespread access to internet content on mobile devices has made it possible for millions of smartphone users to stay connected through social media regardless of their location.  

According to the article, Social Media Inspires Hotel Design by Terence Baker, many hotels are incorporating social media into their hotel designs in order to keep up with the trends of the digital age.  By capitalizing this idea, hoteliers are able to attract consumers and provide them with a brand new experience where they can “meet, interact, have fun, compete, experience, flirt, tweet and much, much more” (Baker).  A hotel property in Dublin offers Twitter-themed rooms where customers can “tweet” requests such as filling their mini bars.  This innovative service makes it extremely easy for the room service department to keep track of requests; and on the other hand, the sales for mini bar items may increase due to the curiosity to try out this service.

Aside from offering a wide array of unique services through social media, hotel owners can also utilize this platform as a source of research.  The 1888 Hotel re-designed the rooms by browsing through countless hotel design photos that were shared on Instagram, where “every angle, detail and element of the hotel was looked at through the prism of an Instagram photograph” (Baker).  

By looking at the trend on Instagram, hoteliers can have a grasp of what is liked and what is not by consumers and remodel their properties to cater to the likes and wants of customers.  When digital meets design, hotels are able to provide customers with a sense of participation where their voice is heard and their meets met. Besides offering a brand new experience to customers, hotels are able to save money on their R&D sector by crowdsourcing ideas from various social media sites, creating a win-win situation where they make more money by spending less.  These secondary data are an inexpensive, yet valuable asset to hotel owners; they can keep track of real-time trends and interact with users to improvise on the service they deliver.

The trend utilizing social media in hotels have also become a marketing scheme for hotels where customers can gain access to live updates about the events and happenings of the hotels in which they plan to stay.  This way, not only can guests obtain information easily, they can also share this information with their friends and create a word of mouth effect, which can bring in even more potential customers to the property. 

What kind of service would you, as a guest, wish to see in hotels that incorporates social media?  If hotels are a place where people go for getaways, will the incorporation of social media contradict the very essence of taking a rest from life?

About the author: 

Hi all, my name is Yu Hsuan Wang, but you can call me Alicia.  I am a third year hospitality management student in The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona, with an emphasis on hotel management.  I was a transfer student from Mt. San Antonio College, the school that opened my eyes to the world of the hospitality industry.  I am originally from Taiwan where tourism is an integral part of the country’s economy; and because of that, there is a bright outlook for the hospitality industry.  I hope that I can learn as much as possible and bring it with me back to my home country one day and make practicing it into a career.

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