DePhoCussing from ITB 2010 (2): About trying to Hit the Nail on the Head

This is a photo of a moving sculpture in Frankfurt of a hard working man, a smith, in front of the Frankfurter Messe in Germany. The movement of the sculpture suggests the smith hits maibe not a nail, but at least a piece of metal with his hammer. It inspired me for the title of this post. I took this photo almost 3 years ago when I visited some venue at the Frankfurter Messe.

The Marriott Connection
The hotel between the legs of the sculpture is the Frankfurter Marriott on a prime location….opposite the Franfurter Messe.

The association with this post is this: I do admire Bill Marriott who is still a hard working guy where others from his age are sitting “behind the geraniums” as we say in The Netherlands (i.e. are enjoying their retirement) while he rules his Hotel Empire. Moreover he dipped his toes into social media in January 2007 when he started his blog.

The Panel
At the March 2010 PhoCusWright@ITB conference I’ve been acting as a panelist. One of the questions we had to address was: What is the ROI of engaging in social media? I interpreted this question as how many reservations do your blog and your engagement in social media generate for your hotel? Usually I’m not very shy to act as a panelist or as a speaker, but this time I was a nervous wreck: I had said “yes” to act as a panelist and had to come up with a sensible answer and long time I was thinking Metrics Metrics Metrics. My problem is I don’t know the metrics. I had never looked at metrics. I had never thought about metrics. Even today I’m only faintly aware there are metrics available to see the conversions from tweets or from messages on your FaceBook page….but I do not know the details….
So I held to my rather professional camera with the ominous looking professional lens, marched to the floor with my fellow panelists and started taking photos from the audience… Despite the prior thorough briefing by Richard Zucker

I was totally unaware of the huge noise the clicking of my camera made. The whole bunch of techies that orchestrated the conference went berserk, because nobody else could be understood anymore. Kevin May, who moderated the panel made me graciously aware of my misbehavior. But while clicking away on stage the answer came to me and all of a sudden I was able to formulate it in a more or less comprehensible way. I would love to see the footage of that panel discussion back once.

My Answer to the ROI question:
“For me quality goes before quantity and I don’t know how to measure quality. I try to attract guests who when they know more of me and like what they see of me, also like to stay in my hotel, which is likely to enhance their experience……”

Pff saved by the bell. By the reactions of several people there and then and later when I discussed it over with several other people it stuck and they agreed and even got inspired by the idea. So I’m glad that by DePhoCussing I was able to focus on the answer that is really my answer to the question, maybe not the anticipated answer, but my answer. Another lesson was that by acting “out of the box” and taking photos of the audience instead of someone in the audience taking photos by me, I was able to attract their attention and I tend to believe my answer stuck better. I maybe even snooped away some attention from my fellow panelists. Sorry guys!

Who should be responsible for a company’s engagement in social media?
Another question at the panel was the very corporate question who should be responsible of social media in a hospitality company: The Ceo? The custom care department? The marketing or the PR types? and a whole lot more answers came along. My answer was very simple: “It should be the CEO, because In Real Life he is already the face of the company, so why not be same In Virtual Life? I pointed to Bill Marriott as an example who does a very good job at this. I then also stated that if the CEO would have not enough time to do all himself, because actually being engaged in social media means being 24/7 engaged in social media, he should delegate. My point is that if a CEO doesn’t trust his coworkers to engage in social media, then there is something wrong with his organization: “How can a hotelier trust his coworkers to receive a guest in his hotel and not trust them to engage with past, present or future guests via social media?”

What makes the circle round
And now comes the funny part. During a San Francisco EyeforTravel conference about Social Media in Travel there was a Marriott case made available which was put together by the Marriott Social media team… to my huge surprise they quoted this tweet of March 15, 20009 of me :

read-bill-marriott-blog

Which I posted in March 2009 about in What should Hotel Owners Know about Social Media
Lessons learned:
Even the big man (Bill Marriott) sometimes listens to the small guy (Happy Hotelier)…otherwise they would not have used this picture which they obviously pinched from this blog, because now the screen capture of the tweet shows date and time and another backgroung and not posted 13  minutes ago. Moreover, even the small guy can become a (small) authority on social media simply by blogging, engaging in social media and being part of conferences and sometimes giving a presentation which forces him to rethink his activities from time to time.
Credit
A big thank you to Graham Robertson (@Grayum_ian) of  Project: Wander who pointed me to the Marriott Case at Eyefortravel. If you’re interested in the case study, you can dowbload it for free at Eye For Travel. It’s really worthwhile a read about the blogger who doesn’t blog.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

2 Responses to DePhoCussing from ITB 2010 (2): About trying to Hit the Nail on the Head

  1. Fantastic post Guido. Social media is indeed an extension of who one (company) is in real life but at the same time it is a mirror in which some prefer not to look at.

  2. You are right on about the need for any CEO to trust their coworkers to engage in social media. That is the beauty of social media, that it gives the little guy a voice, gives clients the opportunity to get a perspective on the company they would never have gotten otherwise.

    This was a great blog post. Thanks for writing it! It’s definitely a post I will be sharing with colleagues and re-reading for inspiration.

Leave a Reply