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  • Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt
  • Why User Generated Content is The Great Equalizer in Hotel Marketing

  • The rise of user-generated content is one of the most disruptive forces in hospitality since hotels moved their marketing materials and booking engines to the Web. Why? User-generated content is the great equalizer of marketing. It allows consumers, not brands or properties, to own the reputation of a hotel. It allows boutique hotels with small marketing budgets to compete against large chain hotels with lavish loyalty programs. It allows great service and quality to drive marketing through consumer reviews.

    When I was a marketing director for a consumer products company in the '90s, our website was the most important part of our marketing mix. We spent hours agonizing over wording and design, imagining that each pixel could somehow affect our brand. It was the primary way we spoke to our customers. In addition to telling customers who we were and what we did, the website needed to reflect our corporate values and our personality. And of course it needed to drive sales.

    Today, there are infinitely more ways for a company to reach customers online. As the head of marketing at Revinate, my job is to engage with our prospects and clients in communities -- both real and virtual. I tweet ...

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Pamela Barnhill
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Roberta Nedry
Coming Up In The August Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Food and Beverage: Going Local
"Going local" is no longer a trend; it’s a colossal phenomenon that shows no sign of dissipating. There is a near obsession with slow, real, farm-to-table food that is organic, nutritious and locally sourced. In response, hotel chefs are creating menus that are customized to accommodate all the vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, paleo, diabetics and other diet-conscious guests who are demanding healthy alternatives to traditional restaurant fare. In addition, there is a social component to this movement. In some cases, chefs are escorting guests to local markets to select fresh ingredients and then visit a local cooking school to prepare their purchases. Other hotels are getting guests involved in gardening activities, or exploring local farms, bakeries and the shops of other culinary artisans. Part of the appeal is in knowing the story behind the food - being personally aware of the source and integrity of the product, and how it was handled. In addition to this "locavore" movement, there are other food-related developments which are becoming popular with hotel guests. Small plate and tasting-only menus are proliferating around the country. Tasting-only special event menus offer numerous benefits including guaranteed revenue per customer, reservations usually made weeks in advance, and an exciting dining option for guests to experience. Bread and butter are also getting a makeover as chefs are replacing bread baskets with boards, and replacing butter with custom-flavored spreads. One dining establishment offers a veritable smorgasbord of exotic spreads including garlic mostarda, vanilla tapenade, rosemary hummus, salsa butter, porcini oil and tomato jam, to name just a few. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document some current trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what various leading hotels are doing to enhance and expand this area of their business.