Cornell and SAS Webcast Urges Hospitality Firms to Make Wise Use of Social Media
The hospitality industry has been plunged into the world of social media, and a new webcast from the CHR and SAS outlines the challenges that the industry faces, including finding your voice, interacting with your guests, and analyzing comments for market information. Webcast participants focused on the way the industry can work with the rapid growth and evolution of social media to make the best possible use of them. The SAS and Cornell webcast, "Getting in on the Conversation," was presented live on April 16, and is available for viewing at no charge through the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research at
Although it's not always clear how to make sense of blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, the industry must learn how to maximize the marketing opportunities in these channels. Walker highlighted the challenge of developing a company's "voice" and being credible. "Developing a social media strategy begins by discovering what your customers want to hear about," she pointed out. "Hard Rock started simply by posting information. As our customers responded, we used what we learned to develop relationships and build a strategy. For instance, now we have 'Twitter Tuesday' deals for those who follow us."
On the question of which employees or managers should post to social groups, Johnson suggested that it should be the person who is both most interested and most able. "You have to realize that your firm is now part of a community," suggested Johnson. "So, if you honestly share information—pay it forward—your followers will help you out."
McGuire outlined three ways that hospitality firms can use the information on social media channels to improve marketing and operations. "You have access to an exciting new data source," she pointed out. "First, you have basic descriptive statistics, like tracking the number of followers and friends. Second, you can see who follows which opinion leaders to determine influencer networks. And third, and most valuable, you can analyze the posts to find themes and sentiments that will help you improve your service. This is all public, and so you can compare your operation against your competitors."
All four panelists agreed that social media is still an area of experimentation. As Pearo summarized: "Don't underestimate the value of listening and learning, and don't be afraid to experiment with social media. But measure everything you do. The return on investment in social media is measured in more than just revenue; it's also measured the value of your brand in the longer term."
"Getting in on the Conversation" is the sixth in a series of seven webcasts promoted by CHR and SAS, which is a CHR partner. Registration is now open for the seventh webcast, "The Things that Matter Most; The hottest trends and biggest issues for the hospitality and gaming industries," addressing current critical issues in the hospitality and gaming industry, which is scheduled for May 14, at 11:00 am (eastern time). The previous five webcasts are also available for viewing at no charge, by special arrangement with SAS. They are:
- Sustaining a Balance: Green Initiatives for Hospitality and Gaming
- Preparing for Recovery
- Loyalty, Rewards and Value: What Do We Want from Our Customers?
- Right People, Right Jobs, Right Time: The Art and Science of Labor Planning
- Where's My Data? Tips and Tricks for Designing a Strong Data Quality and Data Integration Strategy
About SAS | SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 45,000 global sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.
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About the Center for Hospitality Research
The purpose of the Center for Hospitality Research is to enable and conduct research of significance to the global hospitality and related service industries. CHR also works to improve the connections between academe and industry, continuing the School of Hotel Administration's long-standing tradition of service to the hospitality industry. Founded in 1992, CHR remains the industry's foremost creator and distributor of timely research, all of which is posted at no charge for all to use. In addition to its industry advisory board, CHR convenes several industry roundtables each year for the purpose of identifying new issues affecting the hospitality industry.
Center Members: Accenture • Access Point Financial, Inc. • Barclaycard US • Cvent • Davis & Gilbert LLP • Deloitte & Touche USA LLP • DerbySoft • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts • Fox Rothschild LLP • Hilton Worldwide • Host Hotels & Resorts • Hyatt Hotels Corporation • IDeaS Revenue Solutions • InterContinental Hotels Group • Jumeirah Group • Marriott International • NTT DATA • Preferred Hotels & Resorts • priceline.com • PwC • The Rainmaker Group • RateGain • ReviewPro • Revinate • Sabre Hospitality Solutions • STR • Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces • Tata Consultancy Services • Wipro EcoEnergy • Wyndham Hotel Group