Sunday, November 14, 2010

Social Media Strategy – Do You Have One?

Every day it seems that I learn something new as it relates to social media.

The impact of social media is everywhere.

The latest issue, is the impact, the use, and the potential use of, social media as it relates to revenue management.  

This latest issue reminds me of what I consider to be the evolution of revenue management.

We all know where revenue management came from – the airlines, and they have clearly mastered its use over the years.

But what I’m referring to is the evolution in Hotels, and specifically, when revenue management started to gain some recognition and respect as an important tool to maximize room revenues.

This also contributed to how a lot of revenue managers were “born”.

Once upon a time we all had reservation managers and as General Managers many of us spent a lot of time with our reservation managers reviewing group blocks, pick up, ROB growth, pace reports and competitive reports.  

We were revenue managing, we just didn’t define it as such.

As time progressed, and technology advanced, our reservations managers were drawn more and more into the technical side of things, the deeper analysis of trends and patterns, and the like.  Most, while still managing the reservations process, the office, the staffing and all the other components of effectively managing a reservations office.

Then one day it occurred to us – this is more than can be effectively managed by one person, and if we’re going to win the game amongst our competitors, we need someone solely concentrating on revenue management.

We summoned our reservations manager to our office, sat them down and gave them the good news . . . congratulations, you’re our new revenue manager.

Now, in my opinion, we are in the same place with social media.  We are asking someone, and in this case our revenue manager, to manage this off the side of their desk, while maintaining their attention on revenue management.

Something is going to suffer, it has to, because social media too is now too big to be lumped in to someone’s existing duties, especially your revenue manager.

Mastering social media, if that’s even possible, requires a special skill set and a dedicated focus.

If you want to win this round, and be ahead of the curve and not simply a follower, you need to develop a strategy to deal with social media, now, and then dedicate the necessary resources to effectively implement your strategy.

The problem, as I see it, is that no one has yet figured out how to truly measure the ROI from the impact of social media, and that is definitely going to keep Hotel companies from committing to add another body to the management structure.

No one is going to want to sit in front of an owner and try and pitch the idea of having someone solely dedicated to social media in their Hotel, without some solid data to support it, and therein lies the problem, at least for the moment.  

Regardless, everyone will come around to this, that much I can promise you.

The question is; where do you want to be when it does?

You know how we’re all waiting for the next big thing, whatever that is?

Well, this is it.  Now that you know, what are you going to do about it? 

Need an experienced hospitality professional to help your property reach its full potential?  Contact me.

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