One of the industry's largest social media conferences will be held this week in San Francisco: EyeForTravel's Social Media Strategies for Travel 2011. To encourage productive brainstorming, I wanted to suggest a few discussion topics for hotels and travel companies:
#1 - How do customers want to interact with hotel and travel brands in social media?
Are they just using social media to socialize? Are they making buying decisions based on blog posts, tweets and Facebook posts? Or do they view it as a customer service channel for companies?
#2 - How does the social customer of today make buying decisions?
And to follow up with that: how do we provide the right information at the right time to assist them with that decision? The goal is to reach people at the right point in the buying cycle with the right message.
#3 - How do we avoid chaos and data overwhelm?
People are living their lives online, and increased cross-posting and platform integration is making the volume of social data explode right now. How can we find the nuggets of gold in the sea of data without becoming overwhelmed? How do we separate signal from noise?
#4 - How can we leverage technology to gain insights from customer feedback?
What tools and products do we need? Which solutions will make us more efficient, and which ones will just add one more thing to our job with no meaningful benefits? Do we know what criteria to use when choosing products?
#5 - How do we get buy-in and participation from the whole team?
Not just for investment decisions from management, but for commitment company-wide to using social technology for day-to-day activities. How do we demonstrate the value of new media, and then create systems and processes that make participation simple?
#6 - How do we manage everything with limited time?
Few organizations have a dedicated team for social media. And even those that do often find it more effective to spread social participation throughout the organization. So the big question is how do we balance all the priorities that compete for our time?
#7 - Which activities will return the highest results?
Given our unique objectives, which social media initiatives should be pursued? How do we leverage the 80/20 rule to maximize results for time spent?
#8 - How can we start thinking on a global scale, and capitalize on new opportunities internationally?
Even small independent hotels are finding that it's no longer enough to compete domestically. With international travel continuing to increase, how can we build a strong presence globally?
#9 - What is going to give me the competitive edge?
What skills and technologies do we have to acquire to build customer loyalty and increase revenue?