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Definitely Doug 10/18/19
Posted: 12/06/2019

Sustainable Innovation
 
Sustainability can yield multiple benefits to hotels. Saving energy and water yields direct cost savings. Revenue can be generated by guests who prefer to deal with businesses that minimize their environmental impact. And many would argue that conserving scarce resources is simply the right thing to do.

Definitely Doug 12/6/19
Posted: 12/06/2019

Meetings Innovation
 
The sale and delivery of groups and meetings is perhaps the most significant and under-automated functions for many hotels. Even though groups often account for 30% to 60% of revenue, most group bookings are still handled manually for most if not all of steps, as they move from a meeting planner’s research to a confirmed booking.

The biggest enemy to any system is complexity. In a system of inputs and outputs, such as an enterprise system, more complexity means more parts are used in interaction with inputs to create the outputs. Every part that must be built and maintained costs time and money

Tracking the evolution of key performance indicators (KPIs) over time allows hoteliers to identify meaningful trends, create forecasts and budgets and assess the results of different strategies. To perform this kind of analysis, data has to be recorded within consistent time intervals and in chronological order. This is known as a time series.

Definitely Doug 11/15/19
Posted: 11/15/2019

Every time I turn around these days, I see a new vendor or product promising something called a complete Guest Experience Management, Guest Journey Management, or Guest Engagement (or some variation on those words). This week I looked at some of the emerging products claiming to be in this space, both to try to better understand it, and to see what promising ideas it may hold.



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How to Leverage User Generated Content

02/09/2017
by Boston University: Josh DeFord, Sara Szymanski, Janey Bernstein, Sophia Levine and Sophia Shi

User generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for social media marketers. Videos, blogs, discussion form posts, images, tweets and other forms of media created by consumers, are considered user generated content. It’s proven that people trust other consumers’ experiences on products and services more than direct marketing from brands. UGC campaigns are particularly effective in promoting brand image and community. It allows you to create content with your customers, not just for them.

User Image
A brand can increase awareness and drive sales by collaborating with influencers (people with social media accounts with a large and steady following) and encouraging customers to share personal images. One example is Starwood’s “Influencer” campaign. Starwood collaborated with five Instagram influencers to tell engaging stories. Their posts allowed users to reserve a hotel room via the influencers’ descriptions and also encouraged their followers to share their own content related to Starwood experiences.

 
Click here for more details of Starwood’s Influencer strategy:
http://mediakix.com/2016/07/instagram-case-study-starwood-hotels-strategy/#gs.nullhttps://skift.bAgUjo


Video
UGC can also be video. WestJet’s 2015 “Christmas Miracle” campaign used video to show how the company performed “mini miracles” for its customers. The campaign promoted UGC on social media with the hashtag #WestJetChristmasCreate. The video and tagged content created incentives for customers to share their thoughts regarding the brand and to take brand-inspired actions.
 

Click here for more information of WestJet’s Christmas marketing campaign:
http://hashtagio.com/westjet-christmas-social-media-case-study/


Steps to Create a UGC Campaign
 

1. Identify your audience
Base your phrasing and distribution strategies on what appeals to your target audience. The end goal of UGC is to engage and interact with your customers so you should analyze the habits of your audience. Here are some questions you might ask:
¦ “Do I want my consumers to feel educated or entertained?” (It is possible to do both.)
¦ “How can I create a memorable user experience that will create long-lasting relationships?” (Loyal users are more likely to become brand advocates)
¦ “How can I create a desire within my audience to respond and create content of their own?” (Get influencers/brand advocates to create UGC.)

2. Identify the message you wish to convey
By doing this you can create a theme for the campaign and have consistent messaging that will help your audience connect with your brand.


3. Choose a platform and how to engage the audience
Once you have defined who and what, the next question you should be asking yourself is how? Since each social network has its own distinct demographic, it is recommended that you expand your online presence to as many platforms as possible. It may be necessary to tailor your tone or style of communication (status update, photo, video, etc.) to fit a particular demographic or platform.


4. Create a hashtag
You can increase the popularity of your content with a hashtag. Hashtags allow your followers to view all content in a certain tag on every social media site. Some best practices for hashtags are as follows:

¦  Use the hashtag often and make it obvious (use it on social posts and printed media).
¦  Keep it short, unique and relevant to the content of the campaign.
¦  Use other branded hashtags in the posts to increase awareness across all social media outlets.
¦  Don’t over-hashtag your posts.


5. Share audience content
Share the content that your audience posts for the campaign by creating a gallery on your website, Instagram or Twitter. There are even some sites that will compile the content for you. By sharing content and tagging the user you have acknowledged the user’s contribution to the campaign, are creating brand loyalists and humanizing your brand.


6. Remain consistent
Stay consistent with your campaign’s message and amount of engagement you have with your audience. One way to do this is only share content on your sites that are consistent with the brand’s image and message you wish to convey. Continuously promote and speak to the target audience you have chosen to solidify your campaign and remain consistent in the message.


7. Measure the outcome
The second method is more scientific. Using an “A/B test” or test group and control group. This requires two identical groups (campaigns); one will remain the same throughout the test and the other will be the experimental group. The experimental group will receive the same content as the control group, but certain aspects will be changed (adding UGC, review content, etc.). It is important to remember that no results are immediate. Marketers should allow at least three months to ensure accurate results.

Social Media Today, an online community and resource for professionals to understand social media, found that pages with photos outperformed others by 10 percent, and featuring user-generated photos caused an increase of nearly 150 percent. Additionally, reach is significantly impacted by the use of UGC. The same study showed that one engaged fan reached the same number of people with one share of content to an existing network that a marketer would pay for access via paid mediums.
About The Author
Boston University: Josh DeFord, Sara Szymanski, Janey Bernstein, Sophia Levine and Sophia Shi




Josh DeFord, Sara Szymanski, Janey Bernstein, Sophia Levine and Sophia Shi

Special thanks to Leora Lanz's Digital Marketing for Hospitality class at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration for providing this series for our readers.
 
This is the third article in a total of five articles this series.

 
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