How Independent Hoteliers can Capitalize on the Smartphone Revolution through the Use of Social Media, to Entice Business Travelers

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This research paper highlights the importance of social media and the implication of Smartphones in the web-marketing of today.

This research paper highlights the importance of social media and the implication of Smartphones in the web-marketing of today.

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  • 1. Academic Year 2010/2011 International Hospitality Management – Prepa MBA Hospitality Management Center- Paris Research Project How Independent Hoteliers can Capitalize on the Smartphone Revolution through the Use of Social Media, to Entice Business Travelers.Submission date: November, 14th 2011 NICOLAS EmilieSupervisor: Lisa Wines MBA 1 B +33 6 03 05 09 49 em.nicolas@gmail.com
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  • 3. HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT CENTER – PARIS - Submitted on November, 14th 2011 - How Independent Hoteliers can Capitalize on theSmartphone Revolution through the Use of Social Media, to Entice Business Travelers. Compiled and Written by Emilie NICOLAS Supervised By Lisa Wines Academic Year 2010/2011 Prepa MBA Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Luxury Brands Management 3
  • 4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PAGE This research project, realized within the framework of my Bachelor of Sciencein Hospitality and Luxury Brands Management at the Hospitality Management Centerof Paris, would not have been conceivable without the support and encouragementfrom my family and professional surrounding. I would like to thank Lisa Wines, Marketing Teacher at HMC-Paris, for herdirection and guidance in the elaboration of my outline. I also wish to thank Liz Craig, CEO and Founder of the web-marketing agencyOneglobe Network, who enabled me to get important studies and statistics in relationto the hospitality industry. Special thanks should be given to Sharon Bidaure, English teacher in SanFrancisco, who took time to review this entire research paper; and to Samuel Alba,Engineering manager at DotCloud, who guided me concerning the technical partabout the smartphone development. 4
  • 5. SUMMARYChapter 1: The Smartphones Evolution and the Impact on Business TravelersI - The Smartphone Development over the YearsA- Smartphone PresentationB- Birth of the Smartphone: a Challenging Competition for Mobile ManufacturersC- General Statistics About Smartphone DevelopmentII - The Impact of Smartphones on Business TravelersA- Business Travelers’ ProfileB- How do Business Travelers Use Smartphones?C- The Services Provided by Social Media and Mobile ApplicationsChapter 2: The Impact of Smartphones in the Hospitality IndustryI- Hotels’ Adaptation to Business Travelers of TodayA- Business Travelers Attitude with Regards to Hotels in the Aftermath of theEconomic CrisisB- The Evolution of Online Reservation in the Hospitality IndustryC- Smartphones: Business Travelers’ Perfect AssistantsII- Hotels’ Adaptation to Smartphones in order to Entice Business TravelersA- The Use of Smartphones in the Hospitality Industry and the Development ofOnline and Social Media Tools.B- Social Media: Positioning Strategy and Efficient Marketing ToolsIII- Measurement Tools: an Evolution in Hospitality MarketingA- Digital Competence MeasurementB- Web Analytic Tools: a Growing Trend in the Hospitality IndustryChapter 3: Mobile and Social Media Strategies for Independent Boutique HotelsI- The Evolution of Independent Hotels since the Beginning of the Economic CrisisA- The Situation of Independent Hotels during the Economic DownturnB- The Situation of Independent Hotels in 2010/2011C- The Rise of Boutique HotelsII- Digital Involvement of World Hotel Groups and ChainsA- The Digital Strength of the Best World Hotels Groups and ChainsB- The Three Latest Digital Trends Developed by World Hotels Groups and ChainsIII- Digital Marketing Solutions for Boutique Hotels through the Example ofCitizenMA- CitizenM Boutique HotelsB- CitizenM: an Example of Smart Social Media Strategies for Boutique HotelsC- Smartphone Applications and Competence Measurement Tools 5
  • 6. GENERAL INTRODUCTION In 2011, independent hotels and world hotel groups and chains were (and stillare) in competition to win over business travelers – back on the road after the harshand long world economic crisis. More technologically savvy than ever and hugelywork-oriented toward the success of their businesses, business travelers have newneeds and expectations, which oblige hoteliers to readapt their customer services andmarketing strategies. On one hand, the huge presence of business travelers on the Internet isbeneficial for world hotel groups and chains, which paid to get attractive websites andonline visibility on desktop computers and mobile devices. On the other hand, theinterest of business travelers for a unique experience within home-like hotels isbeneficial for independent hotels, especially boutique hotels. As a result, the only solution for independent hotels to compete with the “bigboys” is to turn digital. It represents a real challenge when it is a matter of course, toregularly follow the latest trends in new technologies when one has few skills in thedigital field and a limited marketing budget, while closely following the fast growingevolution of their competitors. This research project takes into account all the difficulties independent hotelsare facing, in its approach to provide themselves with efficient digital marketingsolutions. The situation of independent hotels brings one to wonder how independenthoteliers can capitalize on the smartphone revolution, through the use of social mediato entice business travelers. The objective of the research was to demonstrate that with the impact of socialmedia on local businesses and the fast growing evolution of smartphones, it isessential for the success of hoteliers to turn digital, and invest time and money tocreate effective online marketing strategies. To achieve thus said, this researchproject provides the essential basics and knowledge concerning the online, socialmedia and mobile tools in relation to the hospitality industry. The research also paints a portrait of today’s business travelers, so that hotelierscan adapt their products and services to the new needs and expectations of businesstravelers. In addition, an analysis of the digital competence of world hotel groups andchains will allow independent hotels to set up digital strategies, taking into accounttheir competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Last but not least, the case study of“CitizenM”, a successful boutique hotel chain, will be an excellent example to followfor independent hotels, as far as social media strategies and online visibility areconcerned. This research project mainly sought to follow daily the latest trends in digitaltechnologies and the hospitality industry on new websites, and compare and analyzenumerous studies and statistics concerning the digital field, the hospitality industryand the activities of business travelers. 6
  • 7. This research paper consists of three chapters. The study starts with an overview of the smartphone industry evolution, anddemonstrates how, with the influence of social media, mobile manufacturerssucceeded in responding to the needs of business travelers, and how they contributedin changing their habits and expectations, especially when traveling. The second chapter focuses on the impact of the profile of new businesstravelers and the economic crises in the hospitality industry, which naturally drovehotels to turn digital. This part highlights the difficulties of hoteliers in adapting theirmarketing to mobile devices and social media sites, and provides solutions to usethese digital tools for marketing purposes. The third chapter introduces the situation of independent hotels facing theconsequences of the economic crisis; and the will of world hotel groups and chains toacquire independent boutique hotels. This part also analyzes the way world hotelgroups and chains use mobile and social media for marketing purposes and provides,through the study of CitizenM hotels, social media and mobile marketing solutions tohelp independent boutique hotels remain in the market. 7
  • 8. CHAPTER 1The Smartphones Evolution and the Impact on Business Travelers 8
  • 9. Introduction The fast growing development of smartphones is a revolution for smartphoneusers. They proved to be a perfect alternative to desktop computers and laptopsdespite their smaller size. Used for leisure and /or business, they contributed inturning the world from offline to online. Business travelers, using them the most and for a longer time, have integratedsmartphones into their life, which contributed to changing their habits, needs andexpectations. As a result, the travel industry is facing a new type of customer thatthey have to approach in different ways. The new business travelers are more present online than offline and tend tounconsciously do the work of travel companies by simply using their smartphones.The hospitality industry is the most affected by smartphones given business travelersspend more time in hotels than in any other travel related companies such as airport,restaurant, etc. 9
  • 10. I - The Smartphone Development over the YearsA- Smartphone Presentation Smartphones are, as the name implies, mobile phones with computers abilities,hence the attribution of the adjective “smart.” According to the Smartphone 1definition on businessdictionary.com , “Smartphones provide a one-stop solution forinformation management, mobile calls, email sending, and Internet access. They arecompact in size and often only slightly bigger than standard mobile telephones.” Smartphones are driven by operating systems that can be different according tomobile manufacturers. A mobile operating system (also called “Mobile OS”) is thesystem that controls the mobile device, similar to an operating system such as Linux,Mac OS X, or Windows that controls a desktop computer or laptop. More than a cell phone and less than a laptop, smartphones are the idealcompromise for business travelers. They attract people via their size and immensequantity of features. The tables below introduce the most used functions ofsmartphones by basic users. Top Smartphone Activities Source: mobile.ecosystem.digital, Econsultancy, page 1, Appendix 11 http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/smartphone.html, June 15th, 2011 10
  • 11. According to the tables, people obviously make no difference between using asmartphone or a desktop computer for their daily needs. As a result, even ifsmartphones have a smaller screen and are less practical to use, people are satisfiedwith them as long as they have access to the information they need. The tables indeedshow that they visit search engines, email, check the weather forecast, use Facebook,watch TV and use maps, apps and SMS. People away from home, like businesstravelers, see in smartphones a real “travel assistant.” All the functions provided by smartphones make it such that they are used moreon a daily basis than they used to be. As a result, people, especially businesstravelers, need comfortable, easy to use and good quality smartphones. In thesmartphone market, for a long time we could differentiate Apple iPhones and all theother smartphones whatever their brands. The arrival of iPhones in the marketcreated such a revolution that the brand “Iphone” was used more than the name“smartphone”. The graph below compares the iPhone with the other smartphonesaccording to their six most used functions. Smartphones and Iphones: many unused functions Source: http://www.test-achats.be/telephonie/smartphones-et-iphone-beaucoup-de-fonctions- inutilisees-s576103.htm, Surveys, Date not mentioned, Appendix 2 According to a survey about smartphones’ functions carried out by Test-achats2,the three most used functions of smartphones are the phone (for 97.3% of total users),the web (for 77.5% of total users) and emails (for 71.7% of total users.)2 http://www.test-achats.be/telephonie/smartphones-et-iphone-beaucoup-de-fonctions-inutilisees-s576103.htm, Surveys, Date not mentioned 11
  • 12. This graph clearly shows the advantages of using an iPhone instead of anothersmartphone. Except for basic phone functions, music, web and emails functions aremore appreciated on the iPhone because of its ergonomics and ease of use.Apple has remained a leader in the smartphone market, but with time, the competitionwith other manufacturers has become harder.B- Birth of the Smartphone: a Challenging Competition for MobileManufacturers The first smartphones for the general public were introduced in the market oneyear before the world economic crisis of 2008. Smartphone manufacturers had toface a double challenge: integrating the market and enticing potential customersdespite the recession period. However, according to the technology research centerGartner3, 38.14 million smartphones were sold in December 2008, which representsan increase of 3.7% compared to the same period the previous year. This increase in2008 is, according to Gartner, due to the development of the emerging markets. Forinstance, China went beyond the 600 millions sales of smartphones and became thefirst mobile market in 2008. The graph below, from Teleco4 shows the continuingincrease of smartphones through 2010. Teleco claims that “Smartphones were themain driver for the growth of cell phones sales in 2010.” Smartphones in the total of sold cell phones Source: http://www.teleco.com.br/en/en_comentario/en_com404.asp, Surveys, February 8th, 2011, Appendix 3 The economic crisis did not really affect the sale of smartphones, which keptincreasing. This means that there was a real need in the market and it was time for themobile manufacturers to satisfy the consumers’ expectations.3 http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2009-03-12/news/28390664_1_smartphones-sales-fall-worldwide-sales News, March 12th, 20094 http://www.teleco.com.br/en/en_comentario/en_com404.asp, Surveys, February 8th, 2011 12
  • 13. Windows mobile Palm Treo 700w Contrary to what people may think, the first smartphones that came out are neither the Apple iPhone nor the RIM “Research In Motion” Blackberry; it is actually the Windows mobile Palm Treo 700w. The latter came out in September 2005, and brought the advantages of pocket PC to a classic cell phone. However, the Treo 700w did not have integrated Wi-Fi support and had poor pixel resolution (240 x 240).Appendix 45 Apple iPhone 2G Two years later, on January 9th 2007, the original Apple iPhone, also known as “iPhone 2G” was introduced in the United States by Steve Jobs, the former Chief Executive Officer of Apple. It was sold to 6.1 million users, who were seduced by its excellent pixel resolution (320 x 480), storage capacity (4.8 or 16 GB flash memory), large 3.5 inch multi-touch screen and integrated Wi-Fi support and 3G technology. Appendix 56The success of the iPhone announces the beginning of a tough competition in themobile phone industry. The success of the brand was such that people started callingtheir smartphones iPhones, which can sometimes be confusing especially with thedevelopment of other smartphone brands.5http://www.newlaunches.com/archives/palm_and_microsoft_team_to_bring_healthcare_solutions_to_palm_treo_700w.php, News, February 17th, 2006, Appendix 46 http://knowyourgadgets.com/apple-iphone-2g/#.TqgV_Jyhnwg, News, February 2nd, 2011, Appendix5 13
  • 14. Google Android HTC Dream It took only one year for Google to launch its own operating system known under the name of “Android”. The first smartphone using Android was the HTC Dream which came out October 22, 2008 in the United States. It was a slider phone with a keyboard, which looked totally different from the iPhone. It had a full HTML web browser and many Google applications such as Gmail, Google calendar/ maps/ talk, YouTube and so on.Appendix 67One year later, on April 23, 2009, according to T-Mobile USA8, one million HTCDreams had been sold in the world. Android proved to be a success and other mobilemanufacturers such as Samsung, Motorola, Dell and LG became affiliated withGoogle Android and in April 2011, Google announced that 350,000 Android phoneswere sold per day along with three billion applications uploaded in the world everyday. Google has overtaken Apple in that it sold 18.65 million iPhones in threemonths earlier this year, which represents about 200,000 iPhones sold per day.According to the analysts Inforna9, half a billion people will be using Androids by2015.7 http://happy-qi-snoopy.blogspot.com/2009/02/htc-dream-or-google-android.html, News, 2009,Appendix 68 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Dream9 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/8013383/Android-to-be-most-popular-smartphone-brand.html, News, September 20th, 2010 14
  • 15. Nokia N95Appendix 710Nokia, which was the world’s top cellphone maker for 15 years, started creatingsmartphones in 2007 and bought the Symbian operating system. Their firstsmartphone, Nokia N95, integrated a GPS, a 5 megapixel camera, 3G and Wi-Ficonnectivity and TV-out. Early in June 2011, according to analysts from NomuraResearch11, “lead in smartphone units sales will be lost this quarter for the first time”.Nokia who was successful mainly for producing good quality phones, was surpassedby Samsung Android and Apple iPhone.RIM Blackberry ThunderAppendix 812Blackberry, from RIM, has a different but just as important story. Even if the deviceshave existed since 1999 with the Blackberry Thunder, the popularity of thesmartphone began in 2004 with two million subscribers worldwide. In April 2010, atthe WES (Blackberry world conference), Blackberry revealed that 90 millions phoneshad been sold so far, which is not much in a seven year period compared to its10 http://www.mobilefonereviews.co.uk/phone-reviews/Nokia-N95.aspx, News, No date mentioned,Appendix 711 http://www.bgr.com/2011/06/13/samsung-apple-to-overtake-nokia-in-smartphone-share-this-quarter/, News, June 13th, 201112 http://www.tecnocino.it/articolo/rim-blackberry-thunder-e-la-tastiera-virtuale/11031/, News, July14th, 2008, Appendix 8 15
  • 16. competitors. According to an expert from Business Week Magazine13, RIM is facingtwo problems: market saturation and the company’s loss of credibility in creatinggreat products. However, Blackberry phones provide the main and most importantdevices whose users are very satisfied with such as a digital assistant, a media player,Wi-Fi support and so on. Since 2005, we can see that the mobile industry market is obviously expanding.New smartphone models are coming out every year from every mobile phonemanufacturer. Each of them are trying to stand out by satisfying the constant newneeds of the consumers - all this in the objective of gaining market shares andcustomer loyalty. Competition is tough between Apple, Samsung, Nokia and RIMand the competition level will remain high for the years coming.C- General Statistics About Smartphone Development Smartphones round up new people every year with their enticing new features.As a result, research centers can obviously foresee a growing evolution of sales fromone year to another. Gartner carried out a detailed analysis on the sale of smartphonesduring the years 2010-2012 and shared its estimation for sales in 2015. According toGartner14, at the end of 2011, 468 millions smartphones should have been sold,namely an increase of 57.5% compared to the 296 millions smartphones sold in 2010. Regarding Operating Systems, Gartner forecasts for the end of 2011 the worlddomination of Google Android with a market share of 38%. Google Android actuallycollaborates with phone brands (Motorola, HTC, LG, Samsung, etc.) to help themcompete with Apple iOS, which explains their huge market share acquisitions.Symbian (used by Nokia) would hardly reach 19.2% and Apple iOS would only reach19.4%. Google Android would keep increasing to reach 49.2% of market share at theend of 2012. Such an evolution for Google is not surprising given its recent acquisition ofMotorola as a separate business. According to Larry Page15, SEO of Google, theacquisition of Motorola is the opportunity to create an even greater user experience.Google Android is obviously becoming a formidable challenger in the smartphonemarket, especially for young operating systems such as Windows Phone.According to Gartner16, at the end of 2015, Windows Phone should represent 19,5%of market shares, thus becoming the second mobile operating system in the world.Apple iOS would keep declining in 2014. As for Symbian, it would disappear in2015 with 0.1% of market shares because of its recent link with Windows.13 http://mobileopportunity.blogspot.com/2010/10/whats-really-wrong-with-blackberry-and.html, Blog,October 19th, 201014 http://www.planetoscope.com/electronique/156-ventes-de-telephones-portables-dans-le-monde.html,Statistics15 http://investor.google.com/releases/2011/0815.html, News, August 15th, 201116 http://www.planetoscope.com/electronique/156-ventes-de-telephones-portables-dans-le-monde.html,News, 2010 16
  • 17. The tables below shows the evolution of the most influential smartphone brandsduring 2010 and 2011. Worldwide Top-10 Smartphones Brand Ranking Source: HIS Isupply May 2011, Appendix 9 The figures confirm Gartner’s forecast in that they reveal a significant fall forNokia and Motorola at the beginning of 2011; hence Google’s acquisition ofMotorola. As for Android phones such as LG, Sony, and HTC, they have beenincreasing so far (except for Motorola and Samsung which dropped a little). Applehas remained more or less constant, with a slight growth early this year. For the years coming, still according to Gartner, the sale of smartphones wouldreach 630.5 million in 2012 and 1.1 billion in 2015. As a result, it is in the interest ofany merchant company (the hospitality industry included) to invest in digitalmarketing in order to reach potential customers and keep in touch with loyalcustomers. According to research centers’ results, the priority for business companiesis to make their mobile platforms accessible from iPhone iOS and Google Android.By mobile platforms, it especially means mobile websites and applications. 17
  • 18. II - The Impact of Smartphones on Business Travelers The mobile industry’s constant growth, since the arrival of smartphones in themarket, has created a shift from computer to mobile throughout the world. This shiftis improving the daily routine of smartphone owners, especially business travelerswho are on the road most of the time and are constrained to work remotely.A- Business Travelers’ Profile1- Business Travelers as Smartphones’ Users Business travelers belong to a category of professionals who benefit the mostfrom smartphone usage. Away from home and office, in transport or at the hotel,during, before or after a meeting, smartphones have become a real need for businesstravelers, if not an addiction. A business travel survey made by Deloitte17 stated that 48% of the businesstravelers questioned owned a smartphone in November 2010. 84% of them werebetween 18 to 29 years old and 63% had an income of more than $150,000.These figures are justified by another study made by Comscore18, which in 2010analyzed the percentage of smartphone owners according to their age. Source : http://www.comscoredatamine.com/, Statistics, July 2010, Appendix 10 According to these figures, most of the people who have smartphones arebetween 25 and 44 years old. Most of them are likely to be employed with acomfortable income as mentioned in the previous study. They are closely followed17 http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4049166.html, News, November 18th, 201018 http://www.comscoredatamine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Data-Gem_Smartphone-by-Age.png, Statistics, July 2010 18
  • 19. by people between 18 and 24 years old who probably need smartphones for school orto start their career. Recently, in January 2011, Comscore19 analyzed smartphone owners accordingto their revenue. The tables below show that the higher the income is, the likelierthey are to have a smartphone. Their need is certainly linked to their executivefunctions at work. Source: http://www.onlinemarketing-trends.com, Statistics, April 10th, 2011, Appendix 11 The bar chart highlights the smartphones’ need by executive workers. Thisneed is growing according to the high level of responsibility executives have at work.Business travelers are part of workers who need a smartphone the most, no matterwhether they are executive or lower income workers. This need for smartphoneswon’t stop growing because smartphones are more and more adapted to fit thebusiness travelers’ profile.2- Business Travelers’ Profile: a Perfect Target for SmartphoneManufacturers When thinking about business travelers, we may picture them as greying peoplehead down on their computers in a first class seat on a plane. They used to be likethis, and some of them still are today, but also imagine young people driving carsguided by a smartphone.19 http://www.onlinemarketing-trends.com/2011/04/us-smartphone-ownership-usage-top-5.html,Statistics, April 10th, 2011 19
  • 20. A study led by National Household Travel Survey20 between 2001 and 2002details the characteristics of business travelers in the United States. This study isinteresting in that we can figure out how smartphones can make business trips easiertoday. Concerning transportation of 60,000 business travelers surveyed, 81% said theyused their personal vehicle instead of air travel (16%). It was not in an economiccrisis context, so we can guess that it is pretty much the same today. Computersbeing useless in vehicles, business travelers appreciate the GPS functions ofsmartphones but also geolocation services such as Google maps or applications thatcan indicate the closest services you need on the road. According to the survey, most of business travelers in general are attracted tothe West Coast (U.S.), and there were 7.5 million who came for business between2001 and 2002. As for the South, there were 7.7 million.In terms of jobs, among all the business travelers surveyed, 77% were men, andamong them: - 53% occupied a professional, managerial or technical position - 28% worked in sales or services - 4% had a clerical or administrative jobAs for the average age: - 28% were in their 30’s - 27% were in their 40’s - 18% were in their 50’s - 10% were in their 60’s - 16% were between 18 and 29 years oldBusiness people who traveled the most during the beginning years of the 21st centurywere those between 30 and 50 years old, which explains why in 2011, the highestnumber of smartphone owners are between 25 to 44 years old. They are peoplehighly involved in their companies and they are involved in the future of thecompany, which implies traveling to raise money, and working on contracts orbusiness contacts.In addition, their average income is higher than the average population at about$47,500 a year. Specifically: - 27% earn $100,000 a year - 18% earn between $75,000 and $90,000 a year - 6% at $25,000 or less per yearThese figures confirms the data in the tables « Smartphones ownership », whichshows that people with a high income are the most who own a smartphone. As a result, we can notice that, even if the characteristics of business travelersarise out of a study made in the years 2000 and 2001, the sale of smartphones todaymatches the business travelers’ profile made 10 years ago. This means that thebusiness travelers of today have more or less the same profile. And basically, whattranspires from the survey studied is that smartphones are sold the most to middle-20 http://www.bts.gov/publications/america_on_the_go/us_business_travel/html/entire.html, Surveys,May 2002 20
  • 21. aged business travelers with high salaries and high skilled jobs. Smartphonemanufacturers have therefore succeeded in targeting and responding to the needs ofbusiness travelers. This is important for companies targeting business travelers ascustomers such as those in the hospitality industry, in order to know their needs andanticipate their expectations according to their average profile.B- How do Business Travelers Use Smartphones? The previous studies showed that smartphones are sold more and more eachyear. People, not only business travelers, are obviously becoming addicted to theservices provided by smartphones; so much so that the use of smartphones hasbecome a priority in people’s lives on a daily basis and has changed people’s habitsand behaviors.1- General use of Smartphone by Business Travelers Small enough to phone but large enough to write an email, smartphones havemade business travelers’ lives easier, sometimes making work a priority even inprivate life. According to a recent survey by Ring Central Survey21 conducted March16-18, 2011 on 400 business travelers: - 85% use their smartphone a few times a day - 64% use their smartphone for business more than last year - 58% take urgent calls in their bathroom - 49% check their phone even before getting up in the morning 47% most appreciate the smartphone for its ability to send and receive emails everywhere As a result, business travelers have shown that they have integrated newtechnologies, and they will keep using them because it has a positive impact on theirjob. Hotels being a home away from home for business travelers, these businesstravelers have to be able to use their smartphones as they do at home, which impliesgetting Wi-Fi access throughout the premises. New technologies make daily work easier, so much that people don’t have totravel to manage their business thanks to the Internet. Making a smooth-runningvideo conference is possible, and sharing business cards can be replaced by simplyadding contacts on LinkedIn. However, business travel still exists because face-to-face meetings remain an essential part in dealing with business partners. This is whatwas revealed in a survey by Wakefield research22 led between March 23-28, 2011 on709 business travelers ages 21 and older. 97% of them assume that face time isessential to “develop and maintain strong client relationships.”The study also highlights the fact that 53% of the respondents stated that they had“more in-person meetings with clients in 2011 than in previous years. This trend is21 http://www.ringcentral.com/whyringcentral/company/pressreleases/051811.html, Surveys, May 18th,201122 http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=88577&p=irol-newsArticleOther&ID=1554150&highlight, Surveys, April 26th, 2011 21
  • 22. probably due to the experience of video conferencing, which appeared as a perfecttool to save time and money during the economic crisis but which, in the end, was notvery efficient. The survey indeed reveals that: - 78% of respondents who experienced less face time reported a negative impact on their business relationships - 18% admit having lost a project because they could not travel - 7% of them added that they lost the client altogether Consequently, it is no surprise that all business travelers answered “no” to thequestion: “Can apps, emails and video replace face time?”The future of the smartphone was guaranteed but this study announces a promisingfuture for the smartphone applications markets (travel applications turning out veryuseful on a trip) and all mobile features.2- Social Media and Smartphone Applications: Their Influence onBusiness Travels Social media and mobile applications are an actual trend with a potentialdevelopment that is guaranteed for the future. They are used everywhere and everyday at anytime, especially since access to the Internet through mobile devices hasbeen made easier by smartphones. However, even though they are used every day,understanding what is really social media, social networks (especially the differencebetween them) and mobile applications turns out to be complex. According to Business Dictionary 23 , a smartphone application is “a self-contained computer program (usually a commercially produced software) thatperforms a specific useful task. Called apps for short, application programs are themost familiar form of software and comes in a very wide variety of types (such asaccounting, database, graphic and illustration, and word processing programs).”Nowadays, social media and many companies, especially the hospitality and travelindustries, have developed mobile applications so that people can access their favoritewebsites in a simple and quick way through their smartphones. According to Econsultancy24, the leading source of independent advice andinsight on digital marketing and ecommerce, social media are websites allowing usersto participate in the creation of the content. Social media enables the communicationbetween B2C + B2B + C2B + C2C in every direction, the aim is to share and discussinformation. For example YouTube, Flickr, TripAdvisor and Foursquare are socialmedia in that they are tools used to share information that can be discussed.Social media also includes “social networks.” As explained by ComputingDictionary25, they allow users to publish content themselves. The information may beon any subject and may be utilized by (potential) friends, mates, employers,employees, etc. The sites typically allow users to create a "profile" describingthemselves and to exchange public or private messages and list other users or groupsthey are connected to in some way. For example Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are23 http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/application-program.html24 http://econsultancy.com/us/about25 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/social+network 22
  • 23. social networks in that they are communities of interest enabling people to connect toone another. The tables below, from the slideshare "Social media in travel and hospitalitybusiness by Katrien Cattoor 26, explains the function of the actual most famous socialmedia websites and the number of users in 2011. As each site keeps evolving, thesefigure keep changing but the order tends to stay the same. However, these sites arehard to measure because there is a large quantity of accounts created that are nolonger used. Social Media: usage by web surfers* in 2010 Source: slideshare "Social media in travel and hospitality business, Katrien Cattoor, Statistics, May 2011, Appendix 12 The table shows the leading position of Facebook, which is due to the diversityof services it provides to its users. Facebook enables one to post photos and videos asFlickr and YouTube respectively do, and allows one to share reviews as TripAdvisordoes, provides the ability to check-in just like Foursquare and enables one to postpromotional offers like Twitter. As a result, Facebook is number one in terms ofusage by hoteliers for marketing purposes. However, Facebook monopoly was amotivation for the other social media websites to develop new attractive features forhoteliers in terms of digital marketing. For example, Twitter recently developed aphoto-sharing process.26 http://www.slideshare.net/kcattoor/social-media-in-travel-and-hospitality-business-8074238,Statistics, May 2011 23
  • 24. Google+, Facebook and Twitter’s direct competitor, is not mentioned in thetable because of its launch in July 2011. However, Google+27 gathered 25 millionsusers in one month without having set up a business platform. As a result, the success of social media has created a harsh competition betweenthem, which forces them to always provide new services for users. Consequently, it isadvised for hoteliers to keep posted about the latest trends in social media services sothey can use them as marketing strategies.C- The Services Provided by Social Media and Mobile Applications The success of smartphones is largely due to the use of the mobile applicationsthey provide. Immediately accessible from a 3G connection or through Wi-Fi, theyguide, inform, and entertain business travelers before, during and after their trips.1- Before Making a Reservation Before a trip, one of the first things one usually does is gather information onthe Internet either through a desktop computer or a mobile phone. Social media showthemselves very useful in that they enable users: - To make research and interaction easier: customer reviews are one of thelatest trends in terms of communication for a brand. Reviews are comments abouthotels for example, made by customers in order to share their experience on theInternet and to influence future potential buyers. They are becoming more and moreconsulted before reservations are made and are becoming more and more available onsocial media such as Facebook, Yelp, Yell, etc. Furthermore, more and more servicessuch as restaurants, car rentals, hotels and so on display interesting offers if thereservations are made through social networks. - To communicate about upcoming travels and scheduled meetings.Communication about business trips is usually made through Facebook, Twitter andLinkedIn between business travelers because they are the most used by people ingeneral. - To manage the trip (hotel bookings, itineraries, etc.): they are usually madefrom a computer and used from smartphones thanks to mobile applications. Forexample, the TripIt application is a travel organizer that enables one to put traveldocuments in one place, provides an itinerary, gives real time information fortransportation and alternative solutions, book hotel rooms and so on. Otherapplications enable social car sharing such as “Getaround” or enable access to dealssuch as “Zipcar” or “Autoslash.” Young business travelers seem more confident using social networks than olderbusiness travelers, which encourage them to consult these sites before planning a trip.27 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-plus-reaches-25-million-users-activity-declines/31500/,News, August 3rd, 2011 24
  • 25. According to a survey made by Embassy Suite Hotel28 on 700 American businesstravelers, 50% ages 21 to 34 years old, consult Facebook to plan their trip. Only 26%of older business travelers use Facebook before a trip.2- During a Trip During a trip, whether in a taxi, waiting in line, in a boarding hall, at a frontdesk, etc. the first thing many business travelers automatically do is taking theirsmartphones out of their pockets. On a trip, mobile applications are both useful andentertaining. The most used applications by business travelers are weather forecast, maps,GPS, photo sharing and applications such as TripIt. In terms of social media, themost ones used to get recommendations and share documents or photos are Facebook,Twitter and LinkedIn. Once at the destination, applications such as Yelp, Zagat,Foodspotting are used a lot to find services such as restaurants, car parking and hotelsbecause they highlight customer reviews and rate the services. To finish with,meeting applications are greatly being developed because the main reason fortraveling is to meet other business people. To do so, applications such as “Meetup”and “Plancast” are used a lot. They indeed enable users to discover events and shareplans with people in the business they are interested in. Since 2010, “check-ins” have become another reason to take out smartphones.“Check-in” is a growing trend which consists in telling your friends on social mediawhere you are. Nowadays, people can “check-in” from parks, bars, restaurants, hotelsand so on; each “check-in” awards points which deliver badges. This new funny wayof traveling is provided by applications such as Foursquare or Gowalla that in generalalso enable travelers to find services with reviews in a town or city they know nothingabout. More and more, check-ins are enabling one to get rewards such as freeproducts and reductions, and thus have become a marketing tool that enticescustomers to communicate on social media about a brand.3- After a Trip Back from a trip, the most important thing for business travelers to do isconnect with people they have just met so they can maintain relationships. Theyusually use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn because these sites are the most used bypeople, and they enable one to update real time information and are available on anytype of smartphone. The other thing business travelers are getting used to doing is writing reviewsabout every place they have been to. Any positive or negative experience is shared onsocial networks. One of the most used by business travelers is TripAdvisor. This sitegives detailed information about places, including hotels, displays reviews that aresorted out according to the different types of customers, and ranks the placesaccording to the grades given by customers who have been there. Reviews are moreand more used because they are convincing sales arguments for potential customers28 http://www.inc.com/news/articles/2010/06/survey-says-half-of-young-travellers-use-social-media-for-business-trip-decisions.html, News, June 24th, 2010 25
  • 26. and they enable businesses to get information for free about their business structure,which allows them to improve their services or products. As a result, before the next trip, social media enables business travelers to keepexpanding and maintaining relationships, which is the most essential thing for abusiness to work. Smartphones have become a tool business travelers cannot livewithout in the 21st century.4- The Influence of Social Media on Business Travelers The use of social media is beneficial for professional reasons but also tomaintain relationships with family members, especially for people on the roadthroughout the year. According to a global social media survey made by Studylogic29among 4204 business travelers in November 2010, more than 60% of respondentsreported staying in touch with family and friends while traveling. Among them, 36%admitted that they prefer using social media than phone calls to contact family andfriends. Logging to social media has become a habit for the most active people on thesesites. Distance also tends to encourage people to log in to social media sites morethan they normally would when they are not traveling. They tend to consult theirprofile as much as they consult their mailbox, sometimes even more. The studymentioned above reveals that: - Four out of five respondents access networking sites throughout the day - One out of three logs in multiple times each hour - One out of five checks social media sites multiple times throughout the day while traveling Business travelers rely on social media to develop a project. It is obvious thatthe more someone is visible online the more it is beneficial for a business. Beingactive for business reasons on social media shows the real interest of this person forhis work and for his company, which conveys confidence and reliability. The surveystated that: - 56% of respondents agree about the importance of doing business with people active in a social media channel - 55% claim using online social networking to meet new business contacts and maintain the relationships - 54% admit checking their new contacts’ social networking profile29http://wwww.askbte.com/RedlineNews/RedlineNews1/Sheraton_Survey_Outlines_Business_Travelers_Social_69510.aspx, Surveys, November 23rd, 2010 26
  • 27. Conclusion To conclude, the development of smartphones has created a revolution for bothbusiness travelers and their businesses relationships. All year long on the road,business travelers spend a lot of time in hotels. As a result, the hospitality industry is the most affected by the smartphonedevelopment. Hotels actually have to adapt to business travelers’ new ways of living,which mainly consists in providing Wi-Fi networks in the hotels. As smartphones provide quick access to the Internet, they have contributed tothe development in mass use of social media websites. As a result, speaking ofsmartphone development in hospitality consists of dealing with social media andmobile strategies. However, the most difficult part for hotels is to introduce social media andmobile in their marketing strategies. Customers have turned digital, which forceshotels to get rid of the ancestral marketing methods to be where the customers are. 27
  • 28. CHAPTER 2The Impact of Smartphones in the Hospitality Industry 28
  • 29. Introduction The development of smartphones contributed greatly to the development ofsocial media and mobile features applications in that they could be consulted onmobile phones anywhere at anytime. Social media including social networks cantherefore be seen as a “word of mouth” extension, which is the most efficientmarketing and communication tool in the hospitality industry. Consequently, bothhotel chains and independent hotels have no other choice than to invest time andmoney in developing social media strategies in order to maintain relationships withloyal customers and reach potential ones. Furthermore, the year 2011 will be particularly crucial to revenue increase inthe hospitality industry because since the first quarter of this year, business travelersare back on the road. According to a survey made by Deloitte30 on 1001 businesstravelers, “80% of them are expecting to take more trips in 2011 than they did in2010 ». As a result, hoteliers will have to manage the increasing number ofreservations, more stressed and demanding business travelers with different needs andexpectations. To finish, the real challenge will be to take into account the aforementionedchange along with mobile and social media development. Turning digital will be aninvestment in time and money. However, once set up, digital marketing will cost lessthan the advertising campaign hoteliers used to run on the Internet. Moreover,business travelers will keep looking for good prices on the Internet. According to thesurvey made by Deloitte, it stated 79% of business travelers intend to spend as muchas they did in 2010 or more. As a result, when talking about marketing in thehospitality industry, hoteliers can no longer ignore mobile and social media strategies.30 http://www.gadling.com/2010/11/11/more-business-travel-in-2011-80-to-hit-the-road-more/,Surveys, November 11th, 2010 29
  • 30. I- Hotels’ Adaptation to Business Travelers of Today The hospitality industry provides business travelers with more than anexperience; hotels contribute to the smooth progress of their stay, which is directlylinked to their business. This is the reason why it is essential for hotels to understandthe customer’s behavior before, during and after their stay and satisfy them the most.These last two years, two events contributed to a change in the customers’ attitude:the new technologies with the smartphone influence especially on social media, andthe global economic crisis, which imposed budget limits.A- Business Travelers Attitude with Regards to Hotels in theAftermath of the Economic Crisis1- Business Travelers Hotel Booking Process Business and leisure customers travel differently and even book in a differentway according to the purpose of their trip. This is why hotels have to know who theircustomers are, where to reach them and how to entice them, especially in a recessionperiod. As far as business travelers are concerned, in terms of booking they first rely ontheir companies’ recommendations (leisure travelers first tend to userecommendations made by friends and family). According to a study made byCornell University31 on 2830 business travelers in December 2010, they found thatapproximately 40% of travelers select the hotel recommended by their company. Ingeneral, it is important to point out that even in a period of economic stability,companies tend to follow procedures in order to manage their budget better.However, since the end of the economic crisis, companies have been making profitagain, and a large number of business travelers claimed that their companies stillenforce travel policies. At the time of the survey made by Deloitte32 in November2010 on 1001 business travelers, 59% of the respondents revealed that their companywas taking strict procedures such as: - Pre-trip approvals: 50% had to have their choice of hotel, flight, etc. validated by the company before making a reservation - Early booking accommodation: 42% had to book their hotel room in advance - Budget limits: one third of the respondents reported dollar limits on accommodations The economic crisis made companies realize that business travels wereaccessible at lower costs. However, in 2011, business travelers seem to spend muchmore for flight and food than during the economic crisis. According to the Embassy31 http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/reports/abstract-15359.html, How TravelersUse Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions, Cornell Hospitality Report,Vol. 10, No. 18, December 201032 http://www.gadling.com/2010/11/11/more-business-travel-in-2011-80-to-hit-the-road-more/,Surveys, November 11th, 2010 30
  • 31. Suites Hotel’s third annual survey33 led in April 2011, “business travelers remainbudget savvy about accommodations but they are splurging more for flight and food.Only one corporate traveler out of five is constrained in cutting back on meals, whichrepresents a fall of 4% compared to 2010).”http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=88577&p=irol-newsArticleOther&ID=1554150&highlight2- Business Travelers’ Expectation Development on Rewards During the economic crisis, hotels also took measures to entice the mostcustomers, including business travelers, as much as possible. The best solution theyfound was to launch loyalty programs such as points or room upgrades makingcustomers gain points and providing reward and value in return. On top of keepingloyal guests connected with the hotel, this strategy was beneficial in bringing peopleinto the hotel, which provides more spending in the different services of the hotel.However, customers got accustomed to these services and kept expecting a gesturefrom the hotel as a thank you for booking. According to the Embassy Suites Hotel’sthird annual survey led in April 2011, 27% of the business travelers surveyed (against24% in 2010) are still looking for value in 2011 when it comes to booking hotels. Inan article published by Lodging magazine34 website and based on a survey made inthe hospitality industry in December 2010, it is said that “Business travelers who werepaying premium prices were thinking beyond loyalty points and expecting addedvalue and more complimentary services.” As a result, most business travelers expect to get the basic services (a cleanroom and a comfortable bed) along with additional incentives (such as free Wi-Fi orfree parking) as well. This trend is becoming a problem this year with the return ofbusiness travelers. Basically, it was the reduced demand that permitted hotels toprovide reward to the customers. For example, they could easily offer an additionalnight stay for a certain amount of points given there were available rooms. To solvethis problem, in an international study on “Hotel Revenue Management in aneconomic downturn” made from February 4 to the end of March 2009 by Eye forTravel 35 , customer relationship managers suggested rewarding guest with statusrewards rather than pure discounts.B- The Evolution of Online Reservation in the Hospitality Industry Advanced communication technologies such as smartphones, social media andmobile applications are essential tools to maintain relationships with customers andreach other potential customers. More and more hotels are implementing digitalplatforms and tools to target business travelers. The best time to turn digital was inthe last two years, when there was a slow down in business traffic, by impressing33 http://www.examiner.com/global-travel-in-national/new-business-travel-statistics-released, Statistics,June 16th, 201034 http://www.lodgingmagazine.com/Blogs/Blogs/A-Look-at-the-New-Business-Traveler--39.aspx,Blog, December 2nd, 201035 http://events.eyefortravel.com/tdsasia/docs/Special_Report.pdf, Study, Hotel Revenue Managementin an Economic Downturn, March 2009 31
  • 32. customers this year with hotel mobile applications, using advanced online reservationsystems or digital coupons, etc.However, most of the hotels were on limited budgets during the economic crisis,which prevented them from developing their online presence and implementing allkinds of digital marketing strategies. Even if these measures don’t request a highamount of money, it requests time and knowledge. This is why many hotels recentlyhired community managers or web marketing managers. They need their services toanswer the evolving needs and expectations of the customers.1- Business Travelers’ Online Reservations: a Change in the HotelBooking Process One of the most impressive changes is the booking process. The first thoughtthat usually comes to one’s mind when finding a hotel is to use the Internet. So far,most of the reservations have been made through a computer but according to AbouTourism statistics36 from March 2011 (an international destination development andmarketing consultancy), among the business travelers surveyed, more than one thirdplan to book their services, hotels included, from their smartphones next year. 59%added that photos of the destinations and hotels would help them make their choiceand 25% would appreciate watching videos before booking.However, as far as business travelers are concerned, we have seen that 40% of themselected hotels recommended by their company but a Cornell University37 studypreviously mentioned revealed that the others were using search engines or onlinetravel agents. The table below sums up the information sources business travelers usewhen choosing a hotel: Source: How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions, Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010, Appendix 1336 http://www.relevanceweb.com/blog/online-tourism-marketing-smart-marketing-with-smartphones.html, Statistics, March 22nd, 201137 http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/reports/abstract-15359.html, How TravelersUse Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions, Cornell Hospitality Report,Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010 32
  • 33. The table shows that multiple information sources are used by business travelersbefore booking a hotel. Most of them use search engines and hotel search websitessuch as Expedia. It may be surprising to see that they don’t consult social networks asmuch when making bookings. Actually, social networks are used more by leisuretravelers in that before bookings, they often ask advice from their family and friends,which is not the case for business travelers. Business travelers use social networks,but much more to maintain relationships with business people they have met or withtheir friends and family when they are abroad. Furthermore, when studying the phases of a hotel purchase decision, deeperanalysis shows that customers visit different websites according to the stage of theirresearch. In other words, the more they reach their departure date, the more they willfocus their research on selected websites. The table below shows the websitesconsulted during the three phases of research. Source: How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions, Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010, Appendix 14 The result show that during the early stage of research, future travelers consultsearch engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), as it is a way to have a broader idea ofwhat is said about the destination. Then, they have a look at travel agency websites,probably to read information made by professionals, and then they start looking atsome hotel websites they have selected. During the middle stage, they tend to focusmore and more on hotel websites, while consulting online travel agencies and gettingother information from search engines. At this stage, we can see that they keepconsulting TripAdvisor in parallel, probably to read reviews and see the gradesattributed to the hotels. During the final stages of research, they are close to makingtheir reservation and many of them are going to do it online. This is why the twomost consulted websites are hotel websites and online travel agencies. At this stage,TripAdvisor is still visited a lot because the online information and especiallyreviews, are going to determine the choice of the hotel. 33
  • 34. 2- Reviews Involvement in the Booking Process Another change concerning the booking process is the way reviews influenceboth potential customers in choosing a hotel and hotel improvements, if negativecomments have been written by customers. Social media and more particularly socialnetworks “naturally” gave birth to reviews. The movement has been inspired fromblogs, where people could leave a comment about any subject. Then, it wasdeveloped with Facebook as business pages were set up by companies in order todirectly interact with potential and loyal customers. But the real concept of reviews comes from TripAdvisor, the world’s largesttravel site enabling travelers to get information, and plan and book all the necessaryservices regarding their destinations. TripAdvisor has considerably developed thereview concept, so much so that more and more hotel customer relationship managersanswer to reviews made by their customers to show that they stay tuned to theircustomers’ recommendations, whether they are positive or negative. Thiscommunication strategy is utterly relevant all the more so as, in an article38 aboutmobile growth in travel companies, Eye for Travel reported that six million visitorsnow visit TripAdvisor’s mobile site per month. More recently, the check-in concept,which consists of informing friends and family about the place people are visiting byconnecting through social networks like Facebook or Foursquare, integrated thepossibility for customers to post a review. Reviews are all the more important in the hospitality industry because hotelsprovide a service in relation to the individuals’ primary needs along with anexperience. This is why, according to a Cornell University study39 about “businesstravelers’ use of online and social media channels in order to make hotel choicesdecisions” they realized that hospitality guests were writing more reviews than ratingthe hotels they stayed at. As reviews became popular, doubt started increasing aboutthe authenticity of the comments or simply on what criteria the comments had beenapplied. To solve this problem, professionals or experts in hospitality started postingcomments assuming the authenticity of the fact in order to give a more reliable pictureof the hotel. For example, Forbes Travel Guide has developed the 3.0 travel platform,which combines expert assessment of restaurants and hotels. Furthermore, the study points out the importance of professional and customerreviews in that they have different impacts on business travelers. For instance, thestudy reveals that businesswomen tend to read both types of reviews, whereasbusinessmen tend to rely more on professional reviews. However, the studydemonstrates that both men and women are equally as likely to eliminate hotels withnegative reviews as to select hotels with positive reviews. The two tables below showthe likelihood for business travelers of booking a hotel according to negative andpositive reviews.38 http://www.eyefortravel.com/news/europe/why-travel-industry-needs-wake-mobile, News, July 7th,201139 http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/reports/abstract-15359.html, How TravelersUse Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions, Cornell Hospitality Report,Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010 34
  • 35. Source: How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions, Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010, Appendix 15 Source: How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions, Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010, Appendix 16 These tables clearly show that no matter the category of hotels, whether theyhave a negative review, men and women will stay away and turn toward hotels withpositive reviews. However, it is interesting to see that there is still a small quantity ofpeople that would select hotels with negative reviews. This happens when reviewerswere not satisfied with a hotel because the atmosphere did not match their way ofliving. It is all the more the case when business travelers book a hotel more adaptedfor leisure travelers. They would clearly be disappointed with the noise in the hotel,the presence of children, the slow Wi-Fi or the lack of desks in the rooms. However,if business travelers complain about that, it won’t prevent a leisure traveler from 35
  • 36. booking this hotel. This is why some negative reviews can have positive effects forhotels.C- Smartphones: Business Travelers’ Perfect Assistants1- Mobile Applications and Social Media Influence When traveling, business travelers use and hugely appreciate the most, all thefunctions of smartphones. On the road, smartphones are the most unique, mostpractical and quickest way to access all the information they need. Especially intravel environments, mobile applications – whether social media or for localbusinesses – catch their interests and are very appreciated especially in the hospitalityindustry. Business travelers recognize that mobile applications and social media are veryuseful abroad not only for business but for managing their personal life as well.According to a survey40 done on 200 business travelers by KRC research for OmniHotels and Resorts in June 2010, 61% of respondents admitted managing theirpersonal life online at night in their hotel room.For entertainment, business travelers tend to use social media the most for thefollowing activities: - Checking-in with personal contacts - Updating their Facebook profile - Looking for the nearest coffee spot - TweetingHowever, for daytime activities, business travelers prefer using local businesses’mobile applications and travel applications for: - Travel plans: car rentals, flight and hotel reservations, etc. - Making dinner reservations: according to Abou Tourism statistics in March 2011, four out of five business travelers would like a mobile application that lists and recommends all restaurants and bars near their hotel. - Checking-in into hotels As a result, mobile applications and social media have become real travelassistants throughout a trip for a business traveler and an essential tool to gain andmanage time on the road. To go further, smartphones are used the most for theircomputer devices rather than phone functions.2- The Impact of Social Media Development on Hotel Reputation Smartphones, associated with social media, have marked the digital era.Travelers seem to have forgotten the existence of travel agents. Social media isclearly an influence in hotel decision making for many young business travelers but40 http://mobile.channelinsider.com/c/a/Spotlight/Business-Travelers-Relying-on-Social-Networking-Tools-Survey-Finds-849431/, Surveys, June 28th, 2010 36
  • 37. for more and more older business travelers as well. In June 2010, according to theEmbassy Suites Hotel survey41 on 700 US business travelers previously mentioned: - 50% of young business travelers use Facebook against 26% of older ones. Those between 21 and 34 years old are “twice as likely as any other group to consult their Facebook friends before making work trip decisions.” - 22% of young business travelers use MySpace against 13% of older ones. - 17% of young business travelers use Twitter against 8% of older ones. - 9% of young business travelers use LinkedIn against 5% of older ones. The growing influence of social media in terms of hotel choice decisionsnaturally started with the intrusion of social media in peoples’ lives. When traveling,it is natural for everybody to enjoy sharing the experience, and today social media isthe most accessible and quickest way to display information, especially from asmartphone. According to a KRC study42 on 200 business travelers mentioned above,Twitter and Facebook are social websites or applications most used to share a travelexperience. As far as Twitter is concerned, 55% of travelers never tweet during businesstrips. However, 11% of the respondents tweet often and many of them claimed thatthey would tweet about free room upgrades if they were upgraded and about free Wi-Fi. As a result, for some people satisfied with a service or an offer, it is important forthem to share this positive experience on social networks. Regarding Facebook, 65% of the 200 business travelers surveyed mentionedupdating Facebook to let their friends and family know where they are, and 35%admitted updating their Facebook status to let their contacts know that they were“road warriors.” Furthermore, the Internet in hotels contributes to the business travelers’comfort. According to the survey, when they are not working, 61% of the businesstravelers surveyed love surfing the web randomly, and 34% contact their friends andfamily through Skype or through an instant messaging system. Six out of 10mentioned requesting a car service to the airport using their mobile application, and48% are influenced by ordering things as soon as they are available through multi-touch devices.This study reveals that social networks naturally contribute to the reputation of ahotel. The traveler experience displayed on Facebook and Twitter is authentic, whichmakes social networks one of the best tools to consult before choosing a hotel. Withthe social media development, hotel guests experience starts and finishes with digitaltools.41 http://www.examiner.com/global-travel-in-national/new-business-travel-statistics-released, Statistics,June 16th, 201042 http://mobile.channelinsider.com/c/a/Spotlight/Business-Travelers-Relying-on-Social-Networking-Tools-Survey-Finds-849431/, Surveys, June 28th, 2010 37
  • 38. II- Hotels’ Adaptation to Smartphones in order to Entice Business TravelersA- The Use of Smartphones in the Hospitality Industry and theDevelopment of Online and Social Media Tools. With the smartphone development, the hospitality industry is turning mobile. Alarge part of potential customers and loyal customers are indeed active on theirsmartphones, so hotels have no other choice than to position themselves on thischannel. World hotel groups and chains have already invaded the mobile space tosatisfy their customers’ needs as fast as possible. However, as the whole hospitalitysector is being impacted, it is becoming urgent for independent hotels to be accessibleon smartphones. This is a real challenge; all the more so as turning mobile warrants aperfect and regular control of online and social media tools.1- Mobile Development: Three Difficulties Hoteliers Have to Adapt Many hoteliers have realized the importance of smartphone use and aconsiderable number have even started prioritizing mobile technology at the top of thelist. In a survey by TripAdvisor43 on new UK accommodation owners, among 800hoteliers and bed and breakfast owners, 72% of them reported that mobile visibilityand marketing strategies were the most important for their business. The potential ofsmartphones along with the growing number of smartphone users are indeed amotivation for hoteliers to adapt. This motivation is essential because turning mobilerevealed not to be easy for three reasons.a- The Fast Growing Evolution of Mobile Devices First and foremost, the continuing evolution of mobile platforms requires thecommunication and marketing strategies to be adaptable and steady enough. On thatsubject, in a recent interview44, the Vice President of e-commerce of MandarinOriental Hotel confessed “The problem is that the mobile device is always changing,something new is always coming, but the mobile strategy needs to be consistentacross platforms and outlets.”One example is the “check-in” strategy. It was first introduced by Foursquare, thenextended to Facebook places and Gowalla, and today they are available on Yelp,SCVNGR, etc. As a result, before planning a “check-in promotion” strategy,hoteliers have to take into account all the existing platforms and choosing between themost used by their customers. If they want to plan a “check-in promotion” for asecond time, they have to do the same research work in case a new check-in versionwas rolled out or if other check-in platforms were recently launched.43 http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/PressCenter-i4764-c1-Press_Releases.html, Surveys, June 29th, 201144 http://www.luxurydaily.com/consistency-is-integral-to-maintaining-mobile-consumer-interaction-mandarin-oriental/, News, July 1st, 2011 38
  • 39. b- More and More Demand Every Year Secondly, knowing that smartphones are winning over more and more peopleevery year, hoteliers have to rapidly adapt to the mobile world and display an easy,practical and perfect use of smartphone tools for their potential and loyal customers.According to the Fifth Annual Benchmark Survey 45 on Hotel Digital MarketingBudget Planning and Best Practices of July 2011, 1.5% to 3% of visitors to hotelwebsites have accessed the hotel site via mobile devices and there is a 3000%increase in mobile hotel searches year after year on Google.One of the main difficulties encountered by hoteliers is managing Mobile SEO“Search Engine Optimization” in order to appear first and remain first on mobilesearch engines like Google and Bing. The challenge is all the more difficult for smalland independent hotels because world hotel groups and chains have content andenough skill to appear first whether on mobile or computer search engines. Small andindependent hotels, on the contrary, already have trouble being visible in computersearch engines, so turning to Mobile SEO will require time, hard work and money.c- The Lack of Skills in the Digital Field Thirdly, the lack of skills in terms of digital and mobile tools may preventhoteliers from efficiently using all the potential of smartphones. The competitionbetween hotels being tight on the Internet, some hotels have to hire people with skillsin online, mobile and social media tools or delegate digital work to intermediariesspecialized in this field. For example, Pacific Hotel Group and Mandarin OrientalHotel Group46 recently hired a social media marketing manager to efficiently run thedigital field. Small and independent hotels need cheaper solutions to compete; theyare advised to turn towards a third party company such as ReviewPro, specialized inonline reputation management. Hoteliers are aware that they can’t afford to lag behind when it is a matter ofmobile technologies. However, the difficulty is such that many of them who tried toadapt to smartphones last year did not achieve their objectives. According to the FifthAnnual Benchmark Survey47 on Hotel Digital Marketing Budget Planning and BestPractices of July 2011, 41.7% of respondents missed their mobile marketing objectivein 2010. Hoteliers have to keep adapting and improving in the digital field, especiallysmartphones, because the Forrester research study of July 201148 estimates that by2013, smartphones and traditional websites will be “the two most importanttouchpoints in travel.” In addition, an older study by Forrester research49 estimated that by 2020, morethan half of travel providers expect to offer virtual reality services to enhance thecustomer experience. Hotels will be the first concerned, especially as customers willwant to virtually experience the hotel to make their purchase decisions.45 http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8885, Surveys, July 26th, 201146 http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/advertising/10365.html, News, July 1st, 201147 http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8885, Surveys, July 26th, 201148 http://www.tnooz.com/2011/07/13/mobile/forrester-smartphone-mobile-travel-strategy-means-immediacy-push-alerts-and-video/, News, July 13th, 201149 http://www.tnooz.com/2011/06/02/mobile/can-mobile-change-the-way-travellers-feel-about-ancillary-products/, News, June 2nd, 2011 39
  • 40. 2- Mobile Marketing: Two New Challenges for Hoteliers Once mobile tools are all set up, hoteliers have to face two other considerablechallenges in terms of mobile marketing, which are:a- Adapting the Product and Services Displayed on the Internet to Mobile The first challenge, which mainly consists in adapting the information presenton the Internet to smartphones, is aimed at enhancing the travelers’ experience andincreasing sales. So far, hoteliers have been focusing on the three following majortools: - Mobile websites: Mobile websites provide the most important information andwidgets concerning the hotels in order to enhance customer experience and end upwith a sale. Managing a mobile website turns out more difficult than a desktopcomputer base website because of the platform fragmentation of mobile devices,operating systems, and browsers and because of the small size of the screen whichlimits the content resolution. Developing mobile websites is becoming a priority for hotels along withredesigning their computer-based websites. Actually, mobile websites are made fromthe computer-based websites, so hoteliers have to start with displaying professionaland user-friendly websites before creating mobile websites. In 2011, according toEdigital Research50, computer-based websites are not user-friendly enough, are ingeneral more adapted to business travelers than to leisure travelers, and do not includecustomer reviews. Another study by Compuware Gomez 51 added the lack ofdelivering enough speed when loading the home page and during customer’stransactions. Actually, many hotel sites take more than two seconds to load a homepage whereas, according to a Forrester research52 of 2009, 40% of shoppers abandonwebsites when they need three seconds or more to appear. As a result, before turning mobile, hoteliers have to work on their actual computer-based websites, and correct the mistakes made in the past. This year, 37.5% ofhoteliers have planned to develop a mobile website. They were 25.9% in 201053 (seefigures on the table below) - Booking engines: whether on the hotel computer-based websites, on Facebookpages or on mobile devices, these booking engines can bring considerable revenueincrease to the hotel. They indeed enable the hotel to get reservations without passingthrough an intermediary that usually keeps a percentage of the reservation. Mobilebooking engines are all the more useful for people on the go such as businesstravelers. This year, 37.5% of hoteliers have planned to set up their own mobilebooking engines. They were 22.4% in 2010. (see figures on the table below) - Smartphone applications: They are interesting tools but not essential for everyhotel. Well-made apps have the advantage of providing a better user experience than50 http://www.travolution.co.uk/articles/2011/07/07/4849/hotel-chains-score-low-for-online-customer-usability.html, News, July 7th, 201151 http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/travel-websites-fastest/story?id=13739017, News, June 2nd, 201152 http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/travel-websites-fastest/story?id=13739017, News, June 2nd, 201153 http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8885, Surveys, July 26th, 2011 40
  • 41. mobile websites. However, they usually are very expensive and have to be built fromscratch for each operating system (Apple, Android, RIM, etc.). Recently, many large hotel groups have developed smartphone applications foreach of their brands. It is best to provide the customer with selected and clearerinformation about the hotel and its surroundings. Single property hotels, independentand franchised hotels and resorts or smaller and mid-sized hotel chains can largely besatisfied with mobile websites that actually can provide pretty much the sameinformation for a much cheaper cost. As a result, hoteliers prefer focusing on setting up or improving their mobilewebsites, and working on mobile marketing instead of wasting money on apps.Consequently, the smartphone applications industry has seen a considerable decline in2011. Only 8.9% of hoteliers have planned to invest in a mobile application this yearagainst 24.1% in 2010. (see figures on the table below)The table below shows the latest trends in mobile marketing taken by hoteliers the lasttwo years. Mobile Marketing Trends in the Hospitality Industry Source: http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8885, Surveys, July 26th, 2011, Appendix 17 The table clearly shows the increase of mobile sites and mobile booking enginesand the decrease of smartphone applications. SMS Text marketing is decreasingbecause they are slowly being replaced by Push Notifications, which are free. As forMobile banner advertising, their fall can be explained by the increase in social mediastrategies (which are successful in terms of communication and are far much cheaper)and by links towards offers strategically placed around the hotel websites. On theother hand, many hoteliers are not planning mobile marketing in 2011 – many ofwhom must have been trying the previous year without success and who preferinvesting in computer-based websites redesign and social media strategies.b- Finding Marketing Strategies Adapted to Mobile Technology and MakingThem Appear Like a Service to Customers instead of a Sale Concerning the second challenge, which is related to mobile marketingstrategies, it consists of hoteliers distinguishing themselves from direct competitors to 41
  • 42. gain market shares and increase hotel revenue. The most difficult part is to increasesales within the hotels via mobile technology while appearing only as a provider ofvaluable services for customers. To be efficient, the main mobile marketing strategies, according to a Forresterresearch study54 and Digital IQ index study55, hotels have to set up are the following: - Provide the ability to modify or cancel reservation from mobile devices. Thisservice is valuable especially for business travelers who may be constrained to modifya reservation for professional reasons. Currently, according to the Forrester studyfrom July 2011 previously mentioned, already 55% of US business travelers are usingsmartphone devices. - Send Push notifications: They are the free alternative of SMS messages and areappreciated by customers because when downloading the applications, they agreed toreceive notifications, especially offers. The best time for hotels to reach customers iswhen the customer is most likely to need a service, for example when they first enterthe building. The aim for the hotel is to sell a product at a reduced cost that thecustomer would not have bought without the push alert. - Videos: Whether on computer or mobile websites, videos of the hotels areextremely important before, during and after the stay. Consumers who are satisfiedwill want to share the video of the hotel to their contact in order to share theexperience they are living. Too many hotels don’t provide videos but it is a channelto invest in, especially as more and more hotels mainly draw in customers thanks tovideos. Moreover, according to Cisco’s Fifth annual “Visual Networking IndexForecast”56, one million minutes of video will be available on the Internet everysecond by 2015. - Augmented reality: as previously mentioned, customers will get used to usingaugmented reality for shopping, then they will require the same service for hotels inthe near future. Even though augmented reality is early in the game, hotels shouldconsider its evolution and what competitors are doing in terms of digital strategies.One of the latest trends is the digital concierge services. According to Bjorn Hanson,divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality Management atNew York University, “high-tech concierge services enable hotels to differentiatethemselves, to add a service that usually ranks among the highest for guestsatisfaction and to achieve higher rates.” To achieve these goals, Mintier Hotel uses adigital concierge offering restaurant recommendations, flight arrivals and departures,and driving directions via smartphones and other electronics. Another example is theHyatt Hotel chain, which invites its customers to send requests on Twitter with agentsavailable 24 hours a day to take care of the online customers. - Adapt emailing to smartphone devices: Email marketing programs keep beingemployed in the hospitality industry. 90% of the travel brands surveyed in the Digital54 http://www.tnooz.com/2011/07/13/mobile/forrester-smartphone-mobile-travel-strategy-means-immediacy-push-alerts-and-video/, News, July 13th, 201155 Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by Scott Galloway, April 26th, 201156 http://russswan.com/?p=410, News, June 1st, 2011 42
  • 43. IQ index study, send an average of one email every two weeks to customers.However, 87% of email messaging has not been optimized for mobile devices. Emailadaptation to smartphones will probably increase sales insofar as 63% of customersreceiving emails are likely to end up purchasing. Emailing is part of the highest ROI“Return On Investment” marketing tools and it has survived the rise of social media. Hoteliers obviously have a lot to do to adapt to mobile devices in order toenhance their customers’ experience. However, before turning mobile, they have toensure that they provide the right online and social media strategies. If thesestrategies remain superficial or not relevant enough, then they are not ready to turnmobile yet.B- Social Media: Positioning Strategy and Efficient Marketing Tools1- Social Media Development in the Hospitality Industrya- Social Media Evolution: a Challenge for Hoteliers After the large development of websites in the hospitality industry, hoteliersstarted realizing the importance of social media for their marketing strategies and forenhancing the traveler’s experience. According to the Fifth Annual BenchmarkSurvey57 on Hotel Digital Marketing Budget Planning and Best Practices published onJuly 2011, 43% of hoteliers believe that social media is one of the Internet marketingstrategies that brings the best results and the highest return on investment. In 2007,they were only 16.8% who believed so.However, the same study also highlights the lack of skills in social media amonghoteliers. To solve this problem and gain the best from social media, in 2011 31.1%hired a social media manager and 24.3% paid a company to handle the task for them.There are still 27.2% of hoteliers who deal with social media on their own. Andaccording to a survey conducted on 600 hoteliers during a TravelClick webinar in2011, a quarter of hoteliers are not positioned at all on social media yet. On the other hand, social media keeps being developed and enlarged. We haveseen the recent launch of Google+ that is currently adapting to business companies.In a few weeks, hoteliers will have another space where they will have to positionthemselves without knowing the potential of this new social tool. As a result, manyhoteliers position themselves at random; where they think potential customers mightbe, without really considering how large the social media space is. Many of them alsodon’t realize that social media marketing requests daily work in terms of searching thelatest trends, thinking how to use them to differentiate from competitors, maintainingwebsite and blog updates, interacting with the most interesting and potential contactsin social networks and measuring the evolution and the impact they have on theInternet.57 http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8885, Surveys, July 26th, 2011 43
  • 44. b- Hoteliers’ Lack of Skills in Social Media The way hoteliers use social media has a direct impact on their customers andon the reputation of the hotel. This is why social media has to be controlled and usedin a professional way. However, when talking about social media, today manyhoteliers mention only Facebook, others add Twitter, which means that most hoteliershave a narrow view of social media and how to manage it. The tables below drawsthe list of the social networks websites used by independent hotels and hotel chains in2011, according to a survey conducted by Flexis Hospitality Solutions58 in 2011. Social Media Usage in the Hospitality Industry Social Media Hotels (May-June 2011) Facebook 90% Twitter 65% YouTube 27% Flickr Less than 10% Foursquare Less than 10% LinkedIn Less than 10% TripAdvisor No mentions* Couponing (Groupon, Living Social, etc.) 10% No social media at all 8% How they use Social Media Content updating Once a week 40% Once a day 25% Spend less than 2 hrs./week on social media 87% marketing Will use social networks as a key part of their 48% customer marketing plan next year Dont understand how to market through social 30% networks Play at social network, but could make more of 43% it*Hoteliers probably did not consider TripAdvisor as a social media marketing tool Source: http://linkd.in/nlEe2X, News, 2011, Appendix 18 The figures show that more and more hoteliers realize the importance of usingsocial media because most of them have integrated Facebook and Twitter into theirmarketing strategies. However, the fact that they don’t use them regularly (87%spend less than two hours a week on social media) indicates their lack of skill in thisfield. Even worse, there are only 48% who plan to use social media as a key part oftheir customer marketing plan next year, which means that more than half of hotelsdon’t know where to target their loyal and potential customers.58 http://linkd.in/nlEe2X, News, 2011 44
  • 45. A study on “How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to MakeHotel-choice Decisions” conducted by Cornell University 59 in December 2010,highlighted the fact that no hotel chains of 50 surveyed were strong in the four mainsocial networks: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. The figures above confirmthis fact but it also shows that six months after the Cornell University study, nothinghas changed. Furthermore, the Flexis study states that independent hotels are making thesame mistake of not using at least the four main social networks. Only the hotelsbelonging to the chain “Great Hotels of the World” and a few others are now usingthese four social networks, and in a very efficient way.2- The Advantages for Hoteliers to Use Social Mediaa- The Impact on the Customer’s Decision Making Process Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr altogether contribute to the success ofsocial media strategies of hotels. They have existed for several years and have gainedthe user’s confidence. Also called “word of mouth” electronics, these four socialnetworks have an impact on potential customers’ motivation.As far as potential or loyal customers are concerned, social media enables to: The Impact of Social Media Websites on Customers Source: Plate of the author, Appendix 19 This scheme shows that social media has more impact on potential customersthan travel agents do. They even provide more information about a hotel than travelagents to entice customer to make a reservation. Social media indeed offers videos,59 http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/reports/abstract-15359.html, How TravelersUse Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choice Decisions, Cornell Hospitality Report,Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010 45
  • 46. the latest promotional offers and customer reviews, which were not provided by travelagents. As a result, it is in the advantage of hoteliers to use social media than to gothrough the sales rooms at travel agencies because social media is free and has abetter impact on potential customers’ decision making process.b - How to Use Social Media The use of the following social networks requires a good knowledge of theirmain functions in terms of marketing. However, as social media tools are constantlybeing developed and improved, hoteliers have to regularly find out about the latesttrends in this field. The Four Main Social Media Websites Source: Plate of the author, Appendix 20 (1) Facebook gathers 750 million users, including more than 250 million activeusers through mobile devices, which represents a huge source of potential customersfor hoteliers. Facebook for business requires hoteliers to create a Facebook page. It 46
  • 47. is the opportunity for them to keep in touch with loyal customers, for example byoffering them special deals or to attract potential customers thanks to a special eventor a general promotion. One of the most used widgets to bring people on businessFacebook pages is the Like button that can be incorporated on websites, blogs andother social networks. However, according to a Digital IQ Index study60, 20% ofhoteliers don’t even think about placing the button on each of their social media tools. To go further, Facebook recently set up booking engines enabling customers tomake their reservations without leaving the page, which limits the risk of losing thecustomer. Facebook also enables businesses to create marketing campaigns throughthe use of check-ins, reviews, videos and photos sharing. For example customers canget a free drink by simply checking-in, sending photos/videos to their contacts orwriting a positive review about the hotel. This tool provides limitless possibility increating marketing strategies and the opportunity to differentiate from competitors. (2) Twitter is an instant messaging system available to the public. Each day,5,000-10,000 new people join Twitter. It is a source of potential customers not to bemissed by hotels. Many businesses use Twitter to build their brand by maintainingtheir followers via updates about the latest trends in their industry without drivingdirect sales. However, hotels can drive direct sales by creating marketing strategies.For example, they can tweet promotion offers or they can reward customers whotweet positive information about the hotel. According to the Digital IQ Index study,hotel brands that have a Twitter account are not proactive enough, though it is anexcellent and easy tool for hotels to interact more actively with their customers. TheFour Season Hotel for example has an active customer service on Twitter where theyanswer customers’ requests everyday at any time. It is important for hotels to add Twitter to their social media list for threereasons:- Twitter enables them to target people who don’t essentially have a Facebookaccount. Twitter users are usually between 26-44 years old, contrary to Facebook,which draws people aged 18-24 years old.- Hotelier can automatically post on Facebook what they have just tweeted out, givenTwitter posts can’t be longer than 140 characters. Facebook goes to 420 characters,which is good for detailed offers, events, articles, etc.- Google and Bing SEO index both Twitter and Facebook content, which can givehoteliers more keywords and a better referencing position. (3) YouTube is a video sharing website that is continually being used by peopleand businesses. On YouTube, 35 hours of videos are uploaded every minute and,according to a Nielsen study61, in May 2011 video viewing was up 35% on theInternet and up 20% on mobile devices. YouTube is a good tool for hotels to give anidea of how the hotel looks like to potential customers, with the advantage ofdisplaying the video on the first page in search engines. YouTube also provides theability to create advertising. In this case, videos are clickable and the viewer isdirectly sent to the hotel website. To finish with YouTube analytics, it enableshoteliers to find out about people who are watching videos and how they were found.Despite all these advantages, according to an HeBS Study62 42.7% of hoteliers still60 Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by Scott Galloway, April 26th, 201161 http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/8-ways-to-maximize-your-youtube-marketing-results/, News,July 27th, 201162 http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8885, Surveys, July 26th, 2011 47
  • 48. fail to incorporate videos on YouTube, Facebook and on their websites. The studyalso advised sending videos via MMS messaging as well. (4) Flickr is a photo-sharing site that can be used as a promotional tool as longas it doesn’t drive direct sales. It enables potential customers to view photos of thehotels and share them with contacts. Just like YouTube, Flickr makes available ananalytic tool that enables the user to see which photos are viewed the most and followwhat is being said about the hotel. To finish with, Flickr accounts enable hotels to getindexed in search engines, which provide them with better positioning and visibility.3- Facebook’s Success in the Hospitality Industry Facebook clearly dominates the social media space. Its popularity is mainly dueto the fact that most of the potential and loyal customers are using it every day.According to the Digital IQ Index by Scott Galloway made in May 2011, Facebookalone accounts for 12.3% of consumer time on the Internet. As previously mentioned,Facebook’s functions are so varied for users and businesses that hoteliers tend toprioritize their Facebook page more than their other accounts. The Digital IQ index study also highlights three steps hoteliers took part in thatcontributed to Facebook’s domination in the social media market First of all, more and more hotels use Facebook to gain visibility. Actually,nearly half of the hotel brands have more than one account on Facebook (and onTwitter as well). Hotel chains indeed create at least an account for each hotel of thebrand. For example, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts have Facebook and Twitteraccounts for each of their properties. Some hotel brands even choose to create nocentralized Facebook and Twitter account to let each property manage their socialmedia presence. Secondly, hotel brands are driving large traffic to and from Facebook.Among the 89 brands, (44 being hotels, and the others airlines and cruises), 78% areconvinced that Facebook is the top source of referral traffic and drives 7% of traffic totheir brand websites. 90% of them registered Facebook as the “top destination site”after having visited the brand site. Thirdly, the rise of Facebook frequency use is such that it has caused adrop in traffic on the brand websites, on online travel agent websites such asExpedia, and on review websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. The study indicatesthat 70% of US hoteliers manage guest reviews on their own at least once a week, andemphasizes the fact that consumers naturally choose Facebook and Twitter to postcomments about a hotel to the detriment of third party review sites (this trend explainsthe fact that only 9% of the travel brands in the Digital IQ index enable customers topost reviews on their websites.) Despite the economic crisis, hotels have to find time and money to turn mobileand develop social media marketing strategies. Multiplying presence on social mediaand maintaining and updating each social network has become important for hoteliersto generate revenue. On that subject, many hoteliers have increased their digitalmarketing budget for 2011. According to the Digital IQ study, 49.1% of them 48
  • 49. increased their digital marketing budget by cutting their offline marketing budget.40.5% are convinced that online marketing produces better results than traditional andoffline marketing. More specifically, 27.9% of hoteliers plan to use 11-20% of theirbudget for digital marketing in 2011 and 22.8% plan to devote 21-49% of their budgetfor digital marketing this year. Furthermore, in order to save money online, it is important for hoteliers to focustheir marketing strategies on social networks. For instance, paid searches arebecoming more and more expensive; the use of social networks such as Facebook,Twitter, YouTube and Flickr is a cheaper solution to gain visibility. However, to seetheir revenue and customers growing, hoteliers will have to work at creating originaland interactive marketing strategies. As a result, increased spending through online advertisement for example, as57% of hoteliers did this year, is a good initiative but it has to be accompanied withhard work in social media channels. 49
  • 50. III- Measurement Tools: an Evolution in Hospitality MarketingA- Digital Competence Measurement As online presence and activity is becoming a big success factor for businesses,especially in the travel industry, it is becoming important for companies to have anidea of their digital competence. The use of measurement tools aims at diagnosingthe online strengths and weaknesses of a brand, which helps hotel managers improvetheir online strategies in order to obtain better returns on investment. Digitalcompetence can be measured in different ways. First, Digital IQ Indexes (IQ meaning “Intellectual Quotient”) can be attributedto hotels by research centers. The IQ index classifies the hotel according to its onlinedigital performance level. The more they perform on the Internet, the more they get ahigh IQ Index. Some studies such as the L2 Digital IQ Index63 study provides a largeand deep analysis of online performance. For example the L2 Digital IQ Index studypublished in December 2010, took into account a large variety of data: websites,digital marketing strategies, social media and mobile activities. Secondly, analytic tools are being developed to analyze website performance –taking into account the influence of social media. The most popular analytic tools areKlout, PeerIndex and Crowdbooster. They mainly analyze data belonging toFacebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Foursquare. With the evolution of socialmedia and mobile fields, analytics tools enable one to fully manage the marketingdevelopment of a company. Additionally, digital competence measurement gavebirth to social media reward programs, a marketing strategy which consists ofrewarding the best social influencers of a brand.1- The Digital IQ Indexes in the Hospitality Industry The hospitality industry being affected a lot by online and social mediainfluence, measuring the digital competence of a hotel has become essential. Forhoteliers, being aware of the digital performance of their hotel is very important fortwo reasons. - First, it lets them see which part their strategies or activities are weak. - Second, it allows them to compare the digital IQ of a hotel with any of itscompetitors, and determine in which part they excel. The L2 Digital IQ Index study by Scott Galloway made on 89 travel brandsbelonging to the airline, hotel and cruise industries gives an idea of the hospitalityposition in terms of digital competences. Among the travel brands, 44 belong to hotelgroups, which represents nearly half of the travel brands analyzed. Despite the largenumber of hotels analyzed, this study reveals the lack of skills in the hospitalityindustry in terms of digital technologies.63 Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by Scott Galloway, April 26th, 2011 50
  • 51. Source: Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by Scott Galloway, April 26th, 2011, Appendix 21 The graph above demonstrates that the hospitality industry has a digital IQ of97, which means that in general hotels provide less digital performance than theairline industry and more than the cruise industry. The study also reveals that only30% of reservations are made online, compared to 48% for the airline industry. Thelack of digital skills in the hospitality industry that we explained in the earlier part ofthis chapter (namely slow website performance, the use of only Facebook andTwitter, etc.) is confirmed by these figures.2- Digital IQ Measurement and Classification of World Hotel Groups The Digital IQ Index study classifies hotels by categories according to the gradethey obtained. This enables one to see which hotel groups perform higher than othersin terms of online digital skills. The graph below indicates the five categories inwhich hotels have been classified according to their digital IQ. 51
  • 52. Source: Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by Scott Galloway, April 26th, 2011, Appendix 22 This ranking highlights the fact that there is approximately the same number ofhotels in the Challenges (13 hotels) / Feeble (seven hotels) categories and in theGenius (four hotels) / Gifted (13 hotels) categories. This means that around 50% ofhotels among worldwide groups are still lagging behind in terms of digitalcompetences. This ranking also points out that the Starwood Hotel group has thehighest digital IQ index of all hotel groups. Starwood indeed has two of its brands (Whotel and Westin) classified as Genius and four brands (Sheraton, Le Meridien,Luxury Collection and St. Regis) classified as Gifted. In addition, the study mentions that there is a relationship between the DigitalIQ index and the amount of time users spend on the brand website. According to thestudy, users respectively spend 6.2 minutes and 4.9 minutes on the hotel websites 52
  • 53. ranked in the Genius and Gifted categories while spending only 3.4 minutes on hotelwebsites ranked as Feeble. This means that the Starwood Hotel group is aware of thepotential that digital tools can bring to increase revenue and they start with offeringcustomers an enticing and practical website.3- World Hotel Groups and the Use of Social Media by Brands As far as social media is concerned, the study reveals that the airline industryuses social networks much more and better than the hospitality industry. The tablebelow shows the top 10 hotel brands and their online and social media activities. Top 10 Hotel Brands : Online and Social Media ManagementSocial Media and Social and Online activity Top 10 hotel brandsOnline channelsFacebook Facebook Likes No hotel brands(March 2011) Fastest growing Facebook Regent International 239% account One & Only 39% Hyatt 32%Twitter Best in tweets No hotel brands(Jan-Mar 2011) Fastest growing Twitter Relais & Chateaux 47% account Marriott Hotels 42% Jumeirah Hotels 32% Tweets per day Hilton 24.6 Peninsula Hotels 15.4 Ritz-Carlton 12.2 Sofitel 11.5 Four Seasons 11.1 Hyatt 10.4YouTube Most upload views Hyatt 1,666,208(March 2011)Emailing Average emails per week Hilton 0.7(Jan-Mar 2011) Source: By the author, made from Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by Scott Galloway, April 26th, 2011 Appendix 23 These figures show that hotel groups and chains tend to be more active onTwitter than on Facebook even if they have created accounts on both. The figuresalso confirm the fact that the four main social networks websites are not usedtogether. On that subject, we can see that Flickr is not even mentioned and,concerning YouTube, only Hyatt videos are the most viewed. Regarding emailing,Hilton is the only one with a cruise brand to send the most emails a week; all the otherbrands belong to the Airline Industry. 53
  • 54. B- Web Analytic Tools: a Growing Trend in the Hospitality Industry1- The Importance for Hoteliers to Use Analytic Tools The hospitality industry has clearly realized the importance of a performing andattracting website, whether on the Internet or on mobile devices. However, manyhotel brands have trouble efficiently using and being active on social media websites.When starting with social media, hoteliers should use analytic tools in order to see theimportance of regular posts and interactions with contacts. Several tools exist according to what hotels need to analyze. For instance, PeerIndex enables its users to find influencers from keywordsabout a topic, a person, a region and so on. It measures the influencers’recommendations, the hoteliers’ actions about a topic, how the audience reacts anddetermines a score according to the online authority. Crowdbooster is another analytic tool which provides detailed insights about thehotel’s (or any business’) performance on Facebook and Twitter and how to get betterresults. Klout measures the social media influences of both companies and individuals,which enables hotels to use it for digital marketing strategies. To finish with, Vrank, a web service for Public Relations Management,measures on a 0-1000 scale, the brand online visibility according to its mediacoverage, social media mentions and activity, and search engine optimizationperformance. It also provides a complete report with detailed indicators that enablethe brand to improve its online visibility. Klout and Vrank are by far the most recommended tools for the hospitalityindustry. They can be used separately according to what the hotel needs to measureor they can be used together for a deep analysis of the hotel’s online reputation.a- Klout’s Success Klout uses data on social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare,YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, etc.) along with more than 35 variables to determine thesocial media reach of the users.Klout measures:- the audience (who they are, how many people the user follows, etc.) and theirreactions to the user’s content.- the user’s content and its impact on the audience (if posts are ignored, retweeted,etc.) as well as message frequency.- the Network Influence, which means how influential the user’s audience is and whoare the user’s influencers. This is the most interesting function for hotels in that itallows hoteliers to identify who are talking about the hotel. This function also enableshoteliers to sort out the best influencers to follow. For example, if someone with highKlout Scores has mentioned the hotel, then it is interesting to single him out becausethey must have a large contact network. As a result, their posts are likely to have far-reaching effects. 54
  • 55. Consequently, Klout is important for hoteliers to get an idea about the hotel’sreturn on investment, campaign reach and what is being done online. However, it isimportant to point out that Klout algorithms are unable to analyze the whole data onFacebook business pages, YouTube and Foursquare. As a result, this tool doesn’tprovide precise information about the user’s real evolution on these social networks.As for scores and status attributed according to online presence and activity, it mustnot be considered as accurate yet.On the other hand, Klout gives reliable details about the social evolution on Twitter.The company is also working on improving its platform. Recently in September2011, Klout launched topic pages64, which can show the top influencers in a specifictopic no matter what the overall Klout score is. This improvement enables hotels toreward its most influential guests, no matter if their Klout score is high or low. Kloutis also considering adding analytics, trends and more topic pages. In any case, Klout is useful in following the general evolution of a hotel onseveral social networks and it gives an idea about the followers’ profile. Thus, Klouthelps one realize how important it is to interact with people, to send only valuableinformation and maintain the channels on a regular basis. And for more accurateinformation about the overall online reputation, hoteliers are advised to use Kloutalong with Vrank.b- The Development of Social Rewards Strategies Social media and online performance measurement in the hospitality industrygave birth to a new marketing trend: social rewards. It is a matter of a loyalty-marketing program, which consists of rewarding the best online influencers of abrand. Social rewards programs can be managed according to Klout scores oraccording to reviews, check-ins or Facebook Likes. According to the director of e-commerce for the Palm Casino Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas, having people talkingabout a brand is considered the best form of advertising; therefore, social rewardsempower customers to just communicate about the hotel. However, these tools and widgets enable hoteliers to set up an infinite numberof marketing strategies, which is an opportunity for them to differentiate fromcompetitors. Their challenge is to use these tools in a very simple, funny and originalway in order to entice customers. One example using Klout scores is that hoteliers may select high-ranking socialmedia influencers according to their grade on Klout. For instance, the Casino Hotel& Resort in Las Vegas wanted to reward the best influencers among loyal customersso they created “The Klout Klub.” They decided to reward high-scored loyalcustomers with amenities in hope that they will share their experience with theironline network. On a similar note, hoteliers can choose to reward people who contributed to thecommunication of a brand by tweeting out a review about a hotel or checking-in onFacebook or Foursquare or even simply Liking a Facebook page. Tweeting outreviews often gives points to guests whenever they tweet about the hotel. Forexample, the Palm Hotel in Las Vegas offers 10 points for each tweet and adds 250points if the tweet has influenced one of their contacts to purchase. According to the64 http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/15/klout-adds-topic-pages-to-give-users-more-context-around-a-subject-and-its-influencers/, News, September 15th, 2011 55
  • 56. number of points cumulated, customers can receive a free room, dinner, drinks and soon. Concerning check-in or liking strategies, they often consist of offering amenitiesto customers such as drinks, slippers, and so on. The Palm Hotel in Las Vegas offerstwo drinks to customers who show they checked-in to the hotel via Facebook. TheRadisson Edwardian hotel chain showed itself more original by offering guests anextra two hours in their room before checking out, if they checked-in on Facebook orFoursquare. The social reward trend is being extended in that social media is evolving tomake it easier for businesses to reward their influencers. For instance, Klout andInvolver, social marketing platforms, have teamed up to allow brands to engage withand reward fans on their Facebook page according to their online influence. Brandsonly have to add a Klout app to their Facebook page, the app suggests users tomeasure their Klout score and according to the score, the brand offers a product orservice to the customer. It is a way for a brand to offer a customized experience topotential customers, but also to encourage influencers to keep being active on thebrand’s social media website. The brand’s communication is indeed more effectivewhen it comes from potential or loyal customers themselves. 56
  • 57. Conclusion This chapter mainly focuses on the changes that the hospitality industry hasbeen facing in recent years. The first decade of the new millennium has been markedby the growing evolution of mobile technologies and social media, despite one of theworst world economic crisises. The whole industry, independent hotels and hotel groups, had to repositionthemselves. They had to adapt their marketing and communication strategiesaccording to their loyal and potential customers’ new needs, expectations andbehaviors. Business travelers had fewer budgets for accommodations but they wereinvading the mobile and social media space. Independent hoteliers, with more limitedbudgets as well, had to turn mobile and adapt to social media. This situation made thecompetition between world hotel groups harder than it used to be, especially with theannounced return of business travelers in 2011. Given the evolution of smartphones, world hotel groups rapidly invested inmobile websites and applications. However, they invested less time in social mediadevelopments. This must be due to Facebook domination among social networks.Hoteliers’ priorities were to be on Facebook first, then Twitter. Now they maintainthese accounts and mainly set up innovative marketing strategies. However,customers are passing more and more time on social networks everyday, which meansthat they don’t limit themselves to Facebook and Twitter. Consequently, thedifficulty for hoteliers is to enlarge their presence on social media while continuing toadapt to mobile evolution. To finish with, if mobile and social evolution stands for a challenge in worldhotel groups, it led to an entire revolution for small and independent hotels. Theyhave to take up the same challenge as hotel groups with even less budget and a fewskills in mobile and social media space. 57
  • 58. CHAPTER 3Mobile and Social Media Strategies for Independent Boutique Hotels 58
  • 59. Introduction Independent hotels faced the economic crisis in a different ways. Independentluxury upscale and mid-scale hotels saw their customers, business travelers for manyof them, reduce their stay or make reservations at independent, small or mid-scalehotels. As strange as it may seem, during the economic downturn, small and mid-scale hotels took over market shares thanks to their affordable prices. Independent boutique hotels, which are small or mid-size luxury hotels andmore and more frequented by business travelers, were more affected by the economiccrisis than luxury hotels belonging to world groups or chains. First, they lost marketshares. Second, they were budget limited to turn digital at a time when potential andloyal customers were starting to be heavily influenced by good deals on the Internet.However, boutique hotels’ concepts based on offering guests a unique experience arestill part of the current trends, which means that with the economic crisis calmingdown, the market is back. World hotel groups and boutique hotels are both targetingbusiness travelers, which oblige independent boutique hotels to turn digital as muchas possible, especially as world hotel groups and chains have already invaded themobile space. CitizenM, an independent boutique hotel chain, launched an attractive conceptfor both business and leisure independent travelers. The idea is to provide “luxury foran affordable price.” At CitizenM, luxury is actually a cutting edge modern hotel,where guests can be as independent as they are at home and offering only what guestsneed. CitizenM banks on simplicity, originality and efficiency whether for the hoteldesign or its digital marketing and communication strategies.Part of CitizenM’s success is due to its excellent online presence, which earned it aremarkable online reputation. Unlike world hotel groups and chains, CitizenM choseto invade the social media space before turning mobile. As a result, CitizenM is agood example that shows how to benefit the most from online and social mediastrategies without neglecting the importance of mobile strategies on smartphones. 59
  • 60. I- The Evolution of Independent Hotels since the Beginning of the Economic CrisisA- The Situation of Independent Hotels during the EconomicDownturn1- The Different Impacts of the Economic Crisis on Independent Hotels As mentioned in the previous chapter, the hospitality industry has been highlyaffected by the economic crisis, which started in September 2008. However, whetherthey were independent or belonging to groups or chains, whether they were luxury,mid-scale or economy segments, hotels suffered from the economic downturnaccording to different scales.A study led by Cornell University65 in February 2011 revealed that luxury and upscalehotels were most negatively affected by the crisis, essentially because four monthsafter the beginning of the crisis, their situation continued to deteriorate. They indeedexperienced a 5% to 6% reduced occupancy in November 2008, and in January, theywere still experiencing a 2% to 3% reduced occupancy. Additionally, luxury and up-scale hotels had to drop their prices. Luxury segments cut down prices up to $1,80and upscale hotels reduced prices up to $0,80. Concerning economy and mid-scale hotels, independent for many of them, theysuffered the least from the economic crisis according to the Cornell University study.They indeed saw the customers return in January 2009 and even experienced a rise inoccupancy at this period. This situation can be explained by their affordable andreasonable prices in an economic crisis. As a result, they took market shares fromluxury and upscale hotels. However, when the crisis started, they also experiencedprice drops that went up to $0,90. Consequently, the hotels that suffered the most from the economic recessionwere obviously independent luxury and upscale hotels. World hotel groups saw abusiness slow down in their luxury and upscale hotels but the fact of belonging to agroup saw to it that they did not lose market shares. Loyal customers kept bookinghotels belonging to the group they were used to; they only booked inferior categoriesof hotels.2- Digital Marketing Strategies as a Solution to Face the Economic Crisis When the economic crisis started, digital marketing strategies were more andmore experienced by hotel groups. However, most independent hotels did not havethe budget to set up relevant digital marketing strategies. Even if they were the leastaffected by occupancy slow down and price drops, the crisis weakened them evenmore.65 http://www.travel-impact-newswire.com/2011/02/upmarket-u-s-hotels-worst-hit-by-two-big-shocks-of-last-decade-cornell-study/, Study, February 27th, 2011 60
  • 61. In December 2008, the Big Agency66, a marketing agency from London, lookedat the problem encountered by independent hotels and wisely recommended that theyset up digital marketing strategies, for the main reason that they would get a fasterreturn on investment than with other marketing strategies. At this time, digitalmarketing was already considered “the most important distribution and marketingchannel in the hospitality industry” according to the managing director of the BigAgency.In addition, the agency revealed that online booking was quickly growing in use.They estimated that at the end of 2010, online booking would reach 45%. Hotelbrands were already registering 40% of bookings via their websites. Given that independent hotels were behind in terms of digital marketingstrategies, the crisis was an opportunity to make them aware of the importance ofturning digital. Most of them had a website and the first advice they were given wasto redesign their websites and improve the performance on their websites, especiallyin terms of page loading and reservation loading. In the previous chapter, studiesshow that the performance of many hotel websites are still low today, even if thesehotels have introduced social media and mobile strategies. Independent hotels werealso advised to implement booking engines in their websites. The next step (oncewebsite redesign and booking engines set up), was to gain visibility on the Internet.In order to achieve this, they were advised to invest in marketing strategies such aspay per click, search engine optimization and user-generated content. Then, they hadto realize that digital marketing had to be maintained on a day-to-day basis via socialnetworks, search engine positioning, online travel agent listings and mobile platforms. The situation of independent hotels was such that they were running a businessaffected by both the economic crisis and a fast growing, new technology industry.Though the crisis was expected to slow down, more time and money were continuallyrequired to manage online presence. In front of these two challenges, there wasreason for independent hotels to worry about the future of their business.B- The Situation of Independent Hotels in 2010/20111- The Monopoly of World Hotel Groups and Chains in the HospitalityMarket Two years after the beginning of the recession, independent hotels felteconomically steadier and more comfortable with the use of the Internet. In addition,travelers were back, especially business travelers. However, world hotel groups andchains also benefited from the improvement of the situation, and unlike independenthotels, they also made the most of their huge online presence and digital marketingstrategies. Consequently, since 2010/2011 independent hotels have suffered more thanworld hotel groups and chains in the economic crisis. The latter have invaded theinternational market so much so that the number of small independent hotels is66 http://www.eturbonews.com/6649/digital-marketing-help-independent-hotels-prosper-during-financia, News, December 9th, 2008 61
  • 62. declining. According to the French national statistical office INSEE67, in 2008, 45%percent of hotel rooms were available in France, which is 11% less than ten years ago.The reason why a growing number of small independent hotels are closing down oronly a few number dare opening every year is due to the impressive presence of worldhotel groups and chains. Most of them are American groups or brands that areinterested in the European market. According to Otus & Co68 (strategic analysisexperts of the hospitality industry), in June 2010, Four Seasons hotels, StarwoodHotels and Resorts and Marriott International were already stepping up theirexpansion effort in Europe. The Internet essentially contributed to world hotel groups and chains’expansion. They first invaded the digital space, reaching top ranking in search enginesand online travel agent listings, as well as fully managing online advertisements andusing social media websites. As a result, they were the most visible on the Internetamong all hotel categories and started to target Europe. European countries havebeen affected a lot by the economic downturn and are still trying to recover.Consequently, in Europe the domestic traffic drove more revenue than theinternational traffic. For example, according to PRS Oberoi69 (CEO of East IndiaHotel Limited), in May 2011, international guests contributed to 70% of the demandin luxury hotels, whereas for mid-market hotels, domestic travelers contributed tonearly 90% of the demand. With competitive prices and high visibility, world hotel groups and chains areattractive for European travelers with limited budgets. As a result, the Internetcontributed much more to the success of large hotel groups and chains than it did toindependent hotels. With bigger budgets they set up strong digital marketingcampaigns that enabled them to expand abroad.2- Solutions of Independent Hotels to Remain in the Market With the competition of world hotel groups and chains becoming harder andharder for independent hotels, they have to make a decision whether to close downtheir business or collaborate. Given the growing demand in the hospitality industry,independent hotels are reconsidering their status in order continue their activity. Independent hotels have several possible solutions. All of them require losing abit of independency in exchange for joining forces in this tough competition.According to the independent hotel’s size and requirements, they can choose to join areferral chain, an affiliation group, an independent organization, or take part in anindependent loyalty program. With so many possibilities, the entire hospitalityindustry is changing. Nowadays, with no recognized brand names, hotels can’tsurvive for a long time.The table below sums-up the different groups or chains that exist for independenthotels.67 http://independent-hotels.info/small-hotels.htm, News, 201168 http://nishithsblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/small-mid-sized-european-hotels-can-still-increase-their-online-bookings/, Statistics, June 16th, 201069 http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-05-30/news/29598841_1_occupancy-average-room-rates-hotel-industry/2, News, May 30th, 2011 62
  • 63. Branded group/chain Examples Benefit Brought ResultsReferral/ voluntary - Logis de France - Recognized brand name Chosen by many IH* but thechains - Inns of Tradition (UK) - National and International competition is still hard advertising (offline and online)Affiliation groups - Autograph (Marriott) - Access to millions of loyalty- - Marriott expects 120 to 130 - Ascend Collection (Choice program travelers autograph hotels in the next 4 years. Hotels) - Marketing resources - Starwood has 73 luxury collection - Luxury Collection - The association with worldwide properties in more than 30 countries (Starwood) hospitality player without strict (franchised or managed branding standards and operational obligations options) - Afford more freedom than - More and more hotels are joining traditional branded asset do even if they have to meet some standards and criteria.Marketing groups - Small Luxury Hotels of the - Gain worldwide exposure - SLHW* increase members’ World - Gain marketing and sales support revenue (+15%) and reservation - The Kiwi Collection (+18%) - Kiwi Collection has 2,100 hotels in 127 countriesIndependent - Leading Hotels of the World - Recognized brand name - 73 hotels ( a record) joined Worldorganizations - World Hotels - Services: sales, marketing, Hotels in 2010. - Design Hotels technology and distribution.Independent loyalty - Voilà Hotel Rewards - Travelers sign up for the program, - Voilà: 250 members since 2008 +programs - Stash Hotel Rewards earn points that can be redeemed for 300 to 400 ROI* room nights - Stash: 107 members since 2010*IH=Independent Hotel* SLHW= Small Luxury Hotels of the World* ROI= Return on Investment
  • 64. The table shows the development of hotels’ affiliation with brands whether theyare affiliation groups, marketing-oriented groups or independent organizations. Thehotels affiliated with referral chains benefit from a brand name but they are still lessvisible than hotels affiliated with renowned hotel groups or organizations. However,even if these affiliation groups or organizations attempt to win over independenthotels by providing ways for them to maintain their independence, the latter have tomeet certain criteria and standards, adapt to different operating strategies, and facefinancial pressure. According to Linda Bruno, managing director of ConsultcareInternational Limited, affiliation groups and organizations don’t understand thatindependent hotels are appreciated for the guest experience they provide, whichrequires a lot of involvement in the process. As a result such pressure and changes forindependent hotels can affect their business. The table also highlights the growing success of independent loyalty programs.These programs are valued because they enable independent hotels to benefit from anaffiliation without the negative points mentioned above. Belonging to such programsallows hotels to enhance the guest experience through rewards and to keep runningtheir business as they used to do. However, these reward programs are only beneficialto mid-scale and upscale hotels, because many of them maintain their online presenceand are able to communicate about their products and reward programs on their own.C- The Rise of Boutique Hotels1- The Growing Development of Boutique Hotels The economic crisis and the fast growing evolution of the new technologies didnot spare boutique hotels, whose strengths are their independence and unique styles.The success of boutique hotel began in the 80’s at a time when world hotel groups andchains were dominating the hospitality market. Like many independent hotels,boutique hotels are small establishments with usually less than 100 rooms, havelimited marketing budgets, and have their own booking system. However, theydifferentiate from independent hotels by their unique charm – usually pretty chic andquirky. Steve Rubell, co-founder of the first boutique hotel “Morgans” on MadisonAvenue, was inspired by these characteristics when he characterized these hotels as“boutique.” According to him, these hotels were more like boutiques than departmentstores. As time passed, the term “boutique hotel” expanded and was attributed to smallluxury establishments with a modern and elegant edge, and slick and personalizedservices. They also have innovative designs in relation to the hotel theme. Nowadays,boutique hotels are not only in local areas but can also be found in any fashionable orinspiring locations, whether in the city or countryside. Since about two years ago,they started to target business travelers and extended their range of services to includea “relaxation” theme in cities – spa treatments and technological features such as Wi-Fi connection in every room to start with. Targeting business travelers was a clever idea, especially as business travelersare more and more looking for a home away from home, with personalized andspeedy services for customers. However, during the economic crisis, among theindependent hotels in general, boutique hotels suffered the most. As explained inChapter One, during the economic crisis business travelers shortened their stays and 64
  • 65. could no longer book luxury and upscale hotels. According to the article “boutiquehotel deeply affected by crisis” on cpp-luxury.com70, during the first six months of2009, boutique hotels, and especially recently opened hotels with less than 20 rooms,lost up to 60% of their sales. Concerning luxury and upscale boutique hotels, theycould hope to survive the crisis but were widely advised to adjust their rates, be moreflexible, and keep offering high quality and personalized services. Last but not least,boutique hotels had to keep developing the unique experience they offered to guests,especially through digital technologies and the Internet.2- The Solution of Boutique Hotels to Face Economic Downturn Boutiques hotels, despite the fact they are becoming more and more attractivefor business customers, have been facing so much unsteadiness since the economiccrisis that they especially have to take measures to keep their independence andremain in the market. The current success of boutique hotels, especially in Europe, developed theambition of big hotel groups and chains to acquire properties in economic difficultyand, in addition, encouraged boutique hotels to join chains. Therefore, boutiquehotels’ owners have the choice between two solutions to remain in the market: - Become affiliated with a hotel group or chain: This solution is interesting forboutique hotels in real economic difficulty. This measure enables properties to keeprunning their activity but in exchange they have to adopt the hotel group procedures.One example of affiliation is the Wyndham Hotel group that announced its futurefranchise with Chatwal Hotels and Resorts’ Night and Dream boutique brands. - Join a chain of boutique hotels. It is a way for boutique hotels to join forcestogether and stay out of the hotel groups’ target. In order to keep their independencethe most, these chains of boutique hotels put their priorities on keeping each propertyindividual and display a discreet branding. For example, the Stein Chain has now 10boutique hotels in Europe. However, the craze for boutique hotels is such that it created a rush among hotelgroups and chains to acquire boutique hotels. In order to benefit the most fromboutique hotels, hotel groups and chains decided to convert existing hotels intoboutique hotels. In a post crisis situation, it is a much better solution than buildingboutique hotels from scratch. For example, Hyatt Hotel, Inc.71 is looking to doubletheir 34 joie de vivre properties in the USA by acquiring independent hotels.3- The Success of Boutique Hotels since 2010 Created in the 1980’s, the boutique hotel’s concept started flourishing only in2010 for two reasons.70 http://www.cpp-luxury.com/en/boutique-hotels-deeply-affected-by-crisis--eastern-europe_362.html,News, August 24th, 200971 http://www.ttgnordic.com/news/item/439-boutique-hotel-brand-race-is-on, News, April 6th, 2011 65
  • 66. First, despite the economic crisis, these independent hotels had to invest indigital marketing. They had a website but needed to provide customers with onlinebooking. Then they started showing their presence on online travel agencies in orderto directly compete with big hotel groups and chains. Secondly, the concept of boutique hotels matched with today’s guestexpectations, especially business travelers. Typical customers of boutique hotelsindeed are creative and innovative young people who are most of the timetechnologically savvy with mid-upper income revenue. According to an expert in thehospitality industry interviewed by the New York Times72, they appreciate boutiquehotels’ unique styles, and would pay more for the experience enhanced in boutiquehotels. Consequently, according to experts in the hospitality industry, boutique hotelsare expecting to rise to 10% in urban areas by 2025. As a result, with the return ofbusiness travelers on the road since the beginning of the year, 2011 is obviously afavorable period to launch new boutique hotel concepts, raise prices and developalready existing properties, especially in the digital field.72 http://www.ttgnordic.com/news/item/439-boutique-hotel-brand-race-is-on, News, April 6th, 2011 66
  • 67. II- Digital Involvement of World Hotel Groups and Chains World hotel groups are the first concerned with digital developments, especiallyin terms of marketing strategies. They indeed have marketing budgets to adapt todigital platforms and hire social media managers. Moreover, they survived theeconomic crisis better than small and independent hotels and are currently investing indigital space to differentiate from other competitive groups and chains. Furthermore,being luxury and business brands for most of them, they have to satisfy guests whoare familiar with advanced technologies and are used to using them for personal andprofessional reasons. These are the three main reasons that explain the rapid digitalinvolvement of world hotel groups. However, turning digital requires time and specific skills to have new digitalplatforms, such as mobile websites or applications developed, to get informed of thelatest trends in social media tools, and to set up updated and relevant marketingstrategies. This is why in 2011 there are very few hotels using the entire potential ofmobile platforms and social media websites to implement relevant marketingstrategies.A- The Digital Strength of the Best World Hotels Groups and Chains Turning digital is currently the most important priority for independent hotels’success. One of the first steps to take is to follow what is being done in terms ofdigital marketing in the hospitality market. For world hotel groups and chains, beingcurrently the most digital savvy, it is essential to regularly follow and analyze thedevelopment of their digital strategies. The table below compares world hotel groups according to their mobile andsocial media strength. The basic usage of a mobile platform and social media by ahotel group is not mentioned in the table because it is not related to digitalperformance. For instance, if a hotel has created a YouTube account only todifferentiate from competitors but never maintained or updated it, then it’s notconsidered digital competence. Some hotel groups even admitted operating asamateurs on some social media websites. In an article on 4Hoteliers.com73, accordingto the hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel Malanie Nayer, “Hyatt is one of themost active hotel groups on Twitter but considers itself an "enthusiastic amateur" onFacebook.” Acting as an “amateur” on a mobile platform or on a social mediawebsite is actually the main weakness of most hotel groups. Thus, by highlighting the world hotel groups’ digital strength, the table showsthe disparity of the use of mobile and social media among the brands.73 http://4hoteliers.com/4hots_fshw.php?mwi=6087, News, June 8th, 2011 67
  • 68. Hotel Mobile Strategy Social Media Strategy groups/chainsMarriott - SP* app: - Twitter:International • Make and modify reservation, corporate rate via • Centralized growing account codes • Ritz-Carlton (12.2 tweets per day) - "App-like" mobile website - 4SQ**: • Find nearby hotels, book a room, check upcoming • World Concierge (Ritz Carlton) reservations - Ritz Carlton’s “Let us stay with you” (digital global • Enroll in Marriott Rewards, check their point campaign) balance - Tablet PC: • Virtual concierge (JW Marriott Hong-Kong) Recruited people on social media sites to be mystery guests Giant Marriott Hotel: top performing hotel booking site so they can share a review (less than 2 sec homepage loading) - Unique site platform for all brands - Personalized social media websites for each brandStarwood Hotels - SP app: - Personalized Website pages and tabs in mobile& Resorts • Make and manage reservation applications for each brand. - Personalized app for each brand: - Facebook Like button: used to start conversation with • Order room service, request housekeeping service, customers 24/7. steaming music player (W Hotel app) - 4SQ check-in loyalty program (1000 Starwood hotels) • Virtual concierge (SLS Hotel app) - Digital check-in + door opening from SP: for business Link@Sheraton: Internet lounge + social networking hub travelers at Sheraton, Le Meridien, W Hotels. in 400 hotels 360° customer experienceHyatt Hotel - SP app: - Twitter:Corporation • Check-in and check-out remotely • 10.4 tweets a day (ranked 6th among hotels) • Corporate / group rates. • Twitter concierge service 24/7 - Mobile platform (for Gold Passport members) - YouTube: ranked 1st among hotels - Facebook: growing account (ranked 3rd among hotels)
  • 69. Hilton - 1st app for iPhone, iPad, iPod: provides virtual vacations - Facebook Reservation System (Embassy Suites Hotels,Worldwide to UK and US users at Hilton around the world for the Waldorf Astoria, Conrad H&R, etc.) “Stay Hilton, Go Everywhere” campaign. - Twitter: 24,6 tweet a day (ranked 1st among hotels) - SP app: • Make and modify reservation Tweetup event (July 2011): from 6-9pm, guests were • Order meal before arrival encouraged to share their 1st impression at the hotels on Twitter (red carpet entrance, massage, Twitter-themed food and cocktail, prizes…)Intercontinental - Ipad: Concierge Insider Guide App - Twitter: online customer serviceHotel - iPhone: booking apps for 7 of the hotel brands - Facebook:Group - Priority club reward app for iPhone, Android, Windows • Booking engine system Phone: loyalty points, offers, special rates, click-to-call • Online customer service option… - Virtual Itinerary on Website: videos about each property amenities, dining, local attractions - Mobile booking system + digital key (holiday inn)Accor - iPhone mobile website + classic mobile site: promotion, - TripAdvisor “write a review” widget: offer reviews of the hotel location, booking engine properties on Accor hotels sites + TripAdvisor - iPhone app: promotion - Twitter + Facebook: Online Virtual concierge Sofitel LA: Twitter customer service Sofitel Washington DC: ask Facebook fans what DC tips they would preferGreat Hotels of - Website: removal of booking and credit card fees - “Niche content hub” sites according to each propertythe World services that are present and active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FlickrMandarin - Mobile site: - Active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr:Oriental (hotel • Compatible with 95 percent of smartphones • Social media campaignschain) • Check availabilities and call for reservation • Customer interaction • Geotargeting system to find the nearest Mandarin • Reputation management Oriental hotel 69
  • 70. - Smartphone app: • Support, etc. • Real time reservation possible • Send digital post cards, photos… • Geotargeting to find nearby restaurants, bars and attractions. - iPad: • Real time reservation possible • Geotargeting (underway) - QR codes in bedrooms leading to the brand appCarlson - iPhone & Android App: - Facebook Reservation System (Radisson EdwardianHospitality • Express booking Hotel, Park Plaza H&R) • Personalization option • “Explore Destination” linkFour Seasons - iPhone app: (English version only) - Twitter:Hotel • 11.1 tweets a day (ranked 5th among hotels) • Active customer service (every staff member is empowered to answer) - Facebook and Twitter accounts for each property + a centralized account - YouTube account - “Have Family Will Travel” blog + blog tab on Facebook*SP = Smartphone** 4SQ = Foursquare 70
  • 71. By highlighting the world hotel groups’ digital strengths, the table shows the disparity of theuse of mobile and social media among the brands and brings out three distinctive trends thatare being developed.B- The Three Latest Digital Trends Developed by World Hotels Groups and Chains1- Combining Mobile and Social Media PlatformsFirst and foremost, we can notice that hoteliers want to recapture lost grounds in the use ofdigital tools and mobile platforms. Hotel groups have realized the importance of mashingsocial media and mobile tools to fully satisfy their guests and be more visible to potentialcustomers. Combining different tools and platforms, also known as the mashing process, is aclever solution to create original marketing strategies and to enhance guest experience evenbefore their arrival at the hotel. When talking about the mashing process, we can distinguishthree steps:- Using and linking together several social media websites (Facebook, Twitter,YoutubeYouTube, Flickr)- Linking hotel websites and blogs to these social media websites- Ensuring Websites, blogs and social media websites are compatible with several variousmobile devices (iPhone, Android, iPad…etc.)In the end, the mashing process can provide customers with a complete range of digitalservices through the use of mobile devices. As a result, mobile devices are no longer only usedto make sales, but to also enhance guest experience with digital services provided. The hotelgroup analysis shows the hoteliers’ awareness of the necessity to use mobile tools to provideboth services (virtual concierge, hotel service requests, geolocation) and make sales (makingand modifying reservations). All hotel groups use nearly the entire potential of mobile devices.They provide a complete range of services (booking system, geolocation, promotional offer,virtual concierge) through mobile apps or mobile websites or both.Starwood H&R and Hyatt Hotels distinguish themselves from the others by providing mobilecheck-in and check-out, which are highly appreciated by business travelers. On the other hand,no hotel group or chain fully uses the entire potential of social media websites. Most of themuse Twitter for customer services and have a Facebook account, only a few use YouTube(Hyatt, Great Hotels of the World, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons) and have set up aFacebook Reservation System (Carlson, Hilton, IHG). To finish with, only Great Hotels of theWorld and Mandarin Oriental Hotels uses the four main social network websites (namelyFacebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr). As a result, hotels groups use in a more diversifiedway mobile platforms to provide sales and services to customers rather than social mediawebsites.
  • 72. 2- Personalized Platforms and Services to Entice Customers Secondly, we can notice a personalization trend for platforms and servicesdedicated to customers. Hotels started personalizing mobile platforms and socialmedia tools to enhance the customer experience and differentiate from others.According to Stephen Gates, senior creative director for Starwoods New York, “Theoverall thing to remember when creating a digital and mobile strategy for a luxurybrand is that each consumer is expecting something new and innovative that noteveryone gets to experience.” This personalization trend starts at a digital level onmobile platforms and social media tools and can be done according to two ways. First, hotel groups can decide to differentiate each of their brands by creatingcustomized websites and applications. This is what Starwood decided to do. Theyhad different smartphone applications, website pages and social media websitescreated for each of their brands. Secondly, hotel groups may choose to give the possibility to guests to customizetheir app or website pages. For example, Carlson’s smartphone app has apersonalization option, which enables customers to set up the app as they wish beforeusing it. Hotel groups are probably developing digital personalization in order to satisfythe interests of leisure customers. Hotel websites in general have been more business-oriented than leisure-oriented so far. As a result, digital tools make it easier for hotelsto attract both business and leisure customers. However, personalization is not apriority; we can indeed see from the table that the majority of hotel groups preferputting their time and money into mobile websites, applications and social mediastrategies, which is a more relevant investment for now.3- Enhancing the Customer’s Participation Thirdly, mobile and social media developments are increasingly enhancingcustomer’s participation. At the time when hoteliers were at 100% for customerservice, today customers want to be autonomous as much as possible, especiallybusiness travelers in order to gain time. To answer this need, more and more hoteliersare setting up widgets on mobile devices and social media. First we can notice a growing trend to display booking engines on smartphoneapps and websites with the additional ability to modify reservations. On social mediawebsites as already mentioned, only Carlson, IHG and Hilton provide bookingsystems. The other hotels might not trust social media abilities to take care ofreservations, or they simply don’t want their customers to do transaction activities onsocial media websites, or they have other higher priorities. Another appreciated widget especially for business is mobile check-in andcheck-out. Customers can either check-in alone on mobile tablets within the hotel orfrom their smartphone on the way to the hotel. Among all the hotel groups analyzedonly Starwood and Hyatt have set up this service. Hyatt even went further byenabling to check-in and check-out remotely (for example, on the way to the hotel). Itis a smart positioning strategy given mobile check-in and check-out is one of the threemust-have functions for business travelers. To conclude, customers are taking part more and more in the hotel’scommunication through the review process and the social media customer services. 72
  • 73. Many hotels are working at finding new ways to encourage their customers to writereviews on social media websites. It has become common for hotels to useintermediaries such as TripAdvisor and Yelp to display customer reviews. As forsocial media customer services, hotel groups prefer Twitter to Facebook, probablybecause Twitter allows fewer characters than Facebook for comments and areconsulted more by professional and older people than Facebook. Out of the 10 hotelgroups analyzed six are dealing with online customer services. Hotels either answercustomers’ requests online or act as a concierge service. Online customer services areways for hotels to both answer the customers’ need while communicating aboutcustomer care, which moreover enhances positive feedbacks and reviews. To sum up, this world hotel group analysis shows that still recently, thehoteliers’ priority was to adapt to smartphones by creating mobile websites andapplications. They took care to provide the ability for customers to make and modifytheir reservation and to set up mobile customer services. For now, they are moving tosocial media websites, mainly using Facebook and Twitter. Their priority is again toset up social media booking systems and enhance online customer services. Hoteliers are obviously aware that the most important thing is to be where thecustomers are. Customers being everywhere on social media, hoteliers have toenlarge their social media space. Twitter and Facebook have become familiar to mosthoteliers; they are active on them and use them for marketing purposes. However,customers are also on YouTube and Flickr, unlike many hoteliers. In the monthscoming, customers will also be using Google+ and Foursquare much more than today.Instead of following customers, hoteliers should anticipate where their customers willbe and surprise them by being there first. Starwood, with the highest Digital IQ index level, has a position of leader. Thegroup keeps innovating, with the use of digital tools to differentiate from competitorswith the personalized platforms, to satisfy the customers’ needs and to anticipatefuture needs (with the digital door opening system for example). The other hotelgroups, especially IHG, Hyatt, Accor and Marriott have scored high Digital IQIndexes but should develop their presence on social media websites. By enlargingtheir social media space, they could easily and rapidly achieve a higher Digital IQIndex. 73
  • 74. III- Digital Marketing Solutions for Boutique Hotels through the Example of CitizenM Relevant digital marketing strategies are a considerable strength for independenthotels to gain market shares and compete with world hotel groups and chains.However, web-marketing strategies have to be adapted according to the hotels’ needsand the type of targeted customers. This part is devoted to introducing the main stepsindependent hotels should take to set up strong social media and mobile strategies.Through the CitizenM case study, solutions to problems encountered by small andindependent hotels will be covered. Many possible alternatives will be developed inorder to satisfy the different needs for hotels.A- CitizenM Boutique Hotels1- Presentation CitizenM is an independent hotel chain founded in 2005. This brand introduced the new concept “Affordable luxury for people”, which is totally based on the new global needs of customers. The concept is the perfect solution for people both affected by the new technologies evolution and economic crisis, such as business travelers on a limited budget. CitizenM doesn’t target business travelers only, even if their products and services are totally adapted for them; they target individual and mobile travelers with average budgets, which represents a large segment. They are all mobile citizens; hence the name of the hotel chain on their behalf. CitizenM Glasgow74The previous chapters highlighted the new type of business travelers: young, modern,technology savvy, and independent. They like stylish designs and expect great valuefor a good price, which includes a comfortable bed, a workspace and free Wi-Finetwork. They also want to live a unique experience away from home and benefitfrom all the advantages home provides. CitizenM hotels got rid of useless servicesand hidden costs to provide the customers with all that they wanted at affordablecosts.74 http://www.citizenmglasgow.com/glasgow-lodging-photos.php, Appendix 24 74
  • 75. 2- CitizenM Concept and Development CitizenM hotels provide simple and original products and services. The roomsare only 14 square meters but offer an extra large bed (2m x 2m), a rain shower, a TVwith free movies, complimentary Wi-Fi and a large window. The differentiatorelement is the Moodpad, which controls the TV, the shower and the generalatmosphere of the room. By general atmosphere, they mean lighting. Customers canselect “a mood” (business, party, relaxed, romantic) and the light intensity and colorsof the rooms change. CitizenM Rooms Source: screenshot, http://www.citizenmglasgow.com/, September 2011, Appendix 25 As the schema shows, rooms are actually prefabricated modules that are placedin the acquired buildings. It is part of a development strategy that enables CitizenMto expand rapidly all over the world. They started in 2005 with two hotels inAmsterdam. Another hotel was acquired and transformed to a CitizenM hotel inGlasgow in 2010. In 2012, two others will open in London and one in New York.Another is planned in New York for 2013. The CitizenM team is currently workingon hotel businesses for Paris and Milan, with the objective to open 20 hotels duringthe next five years75. To accomplish its mission, CitizenM is interested in acquiring freeholddevelopment sites, long-term leases and is even considering working in partnership orwith third parties for individual projects or regional portfolios, even if it impliesinvestment joint ventures. The hotel development is not only successful for tourismpurposes but also for environmental protection because it is in agreement withsustainable construction processes. The project ensures minimum construction wasteand on-site energy usage. CitizenM’s modular building system makes it flexible for building acquisition;however, they have restricted location criteria. Still for customer satisfaction, theydemand either prime urban location near:75http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2011/1/18/105829/988/hotels/CitizenM_to_Open_in_New_York_and_London_By_2012_Hong_Kong_Paris_and_Zurich_Are_in_the_Works, News, January 18th, 2011 75
  • 76. - City centers, business districts, night life - Public transportation stops, routes accessible by car and taxi - Urban amenities and entertainment (restaurants, bars, etc.)or prime international airport location near: - Direct connections to airport terminals3- Design and Amenity The entire hotel concept was designed by an award winning Dutch firm“Concrete Architectural Associates” but the brand also calls on local architects toadapt the concept according to local regulations. The Lobby As far as the interior design is concerned, CitizenM offers a modern, cozy and contemporary atmosphere especially in the living room so that guests can feel at home. In the lobby, they can rest, meet people or work, justCitizenM Living Room76, Appendix like they would do at home.26 The combination of modern art design and digital technologies create the unique atmosphere that is an entertainment in and of itself. An unlimited free Wi-Fi network is available in the lobby and in each room to fully satisfy the customers’ needs. To save time, guests can check-in on their own on touch screen terminals with the assistance of a CitizenM Ambassador at any time of the day or night.CitizenM Check-in Terminals77,Appendix 27 The CanteenM Canteen M, Appendix 287876 http://www.citizenm.com/images/masthead/hotel-lobby.jpg, Appendix 2677 http://www.citizenm.com/images/inset/lobby-body.jpg, Appendix 27 76
  • 77. Concerning food and dining, CitizenM offers a 24-hour self-service with a largechoice of food and drinks, which looks like a huge modern house kitchen. Hotelguests can even order or pre-order a “grab and go” bag or eat at a table. In theevening, there is a bar that offers fine spirits, cocktail, champagne and beer as aluxury hotel would do. To sum up, the experience provided by CitizenM hotels is a home-like comfortwith the amenities of a luxury business hotel in a gallery-like atmosphere for the priceof a mid-scale hotel. These characteristics make CitizenM a full boutique hotel thatdifferentiates from usual boutique hotels as described at the beginning of the chapter.All the efforts provided by the brand have been rewarded by their customers.Actually, the CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam City received the title of “trendiest hotel inthe world” for the second consecutive time by TripAdvisor traveler’s choice awards. On top of being trendy, the CitizenM hotel concept helps to avoid a problemthat independent and world hotel groups are facing: customers’ reward expectation.Less people ask for discount rates because the price is affordable, they don’t ask forroom upgrades because all the rooms are the same and they don’t ask forcomplimentary Wi-Fi because it is already free and available. If business travelersare used to tweeting about these rewards in usual hotels, at CitizenM hotels they tweetabout the unique experience they are having. The unique experience conveyed at CitizenM hotels is obviously one of themain strengths of the brand. However, the chain also relies a lot on digital marketingstrategies to communicate about its products and services. Just like they do with thehotels, they use social media and mobile platforms in a very simple and original wayand prove that being visible on the Internet does not always require high-level digitalmarketing skills and a huge budget. “Simplicity” and “Originality” seem to be thebrand’s magic words.B- CitizenM: an Example of Smart Social Media Strategies forBoutique Hotels CitizenM chain has fully integrated social media websites within their digitalstrategies, unlike most independent hotels. Their online presence makes them veryvisible, even more visible than some world hotel groups or chains. The previous parthighlighted the fact that social media was not among world hotel groups’ strengths.They generally have two or three social media websites but their priority is given tomobile strategies. However, CitizenM chain is present and active on up to eightsocial media websites (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Foursquare,Gowalla, and LinkedIn) and on approximately seven review websites where theyappear at the top. Their skills in social media strategies is obviously part of theircurrent success, but also proves that the priority might not obviously turn to mobile,especially when hotels are budget limited.78 http://www.citizenm.com/images/masthead/canteenM.jpg, Appendix 28 77
  • 78. 1- CitizenM’s Skills in Social Media Strategies Since 2005, CitizenM is physically and virtually invading the world. Theyindeed started with building hotels in Europe and plan to arrive in the United States ina couple of years. Such a success is partly due to excellent skills in communicationthrough the use of social media strategies for three reasons:a- Social Media Websites are Used in a Simple Way First, they use social media in a very simple way. They don’t look for using allthe possible functions on each social media website but attribute different functions toeach of them. For example, they only use Facebook functions to introduce the hotels. Source: Screenshots of CitizenM’s Facebook accounts79, Appendix 29 As we can see on the screenshot above, making a simple use of Facebook givesa clean appearance and highlights the harmony between each hotel page.By using Facebook, their purpose is clearly to draw people in and make them want tobe part of the CitizenM community. To achieve this they give information about thehotels, display photos and make it possible for potential customers to directly contactthem either via the discussion application or via the wall. They probably don’t wantto upload videos of the hotels because they are already displayed on YouTube, Vimeo79 http://www.facebook.com/citizenMhotels - http://www.facebook.com/citizenMglasgow -http://www.facebook.com/citizenMamsterdamcity, Appendix 29 78
  • 79. and on their website. However, uploading their two high quality and professionalvideos would not be too much to ask for – rather, even advised. Concerning the CitizenM discussion tab, even if people prefer using the wall,they might use the tab in the future when there are thousands of fans. Discussion tabsare mainly used by global brands such as BMW. This global brand has so many fansthat they only interact via the “discussion” tab, which appears like a visible mail boxand makes it easier for companies to answer. Global brands also allow fans to postcomments on their wall and interact with each other, but they don’t take part in anycomments on the wall. As far as CitizenM is concerned, it is important for them tointeract with their fans on the wall because they are building their community. Whenthey become a global brand, they will have no other choice than to manage theirFacebook page as global companies do. All that said, it is important to take note ofthe way global brands use social media, but it is essential to know how to adapt andmake good use of social media websites when it comes to small or medium-sizedbusiness. Regarding the other social media websites, they only use a centralized Twitteraccount for customer relationship management so that people are not confused aboutwhich platform to use to reach them. It also makes it possible to have only onecommunity management team for all the hotels. However, if the chain keepsexpanding as planned, it will be better to create one Twitter account for each property.It would enable hotels to tweet about local community events and about special deals.They also use Foursquare and Gowalla only for check-in functions so that it is easierto manage the associated social reward strategies within the hotels.b- CitizenM Website and Social Media Websites are Linked Together Accordingto the Mashing Up Process Secondly, they put into practice the mashing up process according to threedifferent ways: - By setting up social media applications: on CitizenM Facebook accounts andwebsites, people can access what is being said on Foursquare and Twitter via theirapplications without leaving Facebook. CitizenM takes care to not install too manyapps because it would ruin the lightness and cleanliness of their Facebook pages. It isimportant to limit oneself to the main social media applications. Another goodexample is their LinkedIn account, where people can access what is being said onTwitter. It is a good way to display an image of their activity either for recruitingpeople or attracting investors or partners. - By installing “follow us” buttons: on CitizenM’s website, people can accessFacebook and Twitter centralized accounts by clicking the buttons. Here again, it isimportant to limit oneself to a small quantity of buttons to not overcharge the pages.However, it is also possible to set up to four or five buttons because they are smalland people are getting used to use them. CitizenM would not ruin its page by addingthe Flickr and YouTube buttons in order to display the four must-have social mediawebsites on their website. Adding LinkedIn would not be too much as well. - By displaying links: CitizenM devotes a part of Facebook and its website todisplay in only one place all the links towards its social media websites. It is adiscreet way to give access to all their platforms and show the different services thebrand offers online for potential and loyal customers. 79
  • 80. When done correctly, the mashing up process enables people to virtually visitthe business, go from one social website to another, learn more and more things aboutthe company and in the end, end up making a reservation. This is why it is importantto display booking reservation systems wherever it is possible. For example,CitizenM provides customers with the ability to book via their website, Facebook,many online travel agencies and from smartphones. In addition, the mashing upprocess, which implies linking every websites in relation to one brand, is a good wayto achieve high ranking on search engines and better online visibility.c- CitizenM’s Activity and Frequent Usage of Social Media Websites Thirdly, CitizenM is active on all of their social media websites and uses them in a regular way. This involvement on social media websites shows CitizenM’s real interest in customer relationships. Interacting with people influences them to join the community and take part in the communication process by commenting about the hotels on review sites for example. It also convinces people to make reservations, given they have no doubts whether they will have perfect service during their stay. In case of any trouble, they must be sure they will be able to reach someone in the company to solve it. In addition to being active with customers, they also are active in research and development. They regularly get informed about the latest trends in digital marketing and update their websites. For example, they set up new Facebook check-in features launched in September 2011 that can now display the number of customers who checked-in at the hotel. Some world hotel brands such as Mandarin Oriental Manilla have not installed it yet (see the aside picture).Mandarin Oriental Manilla80,Appendix 30 Another example is Twitter. CitizenM installed the brand new photo-sharingfeature launched in August 2011 on their Twitter account. Most of the world hotelgroups installed this feature as soon as it was launched but many independent hotels(such as the Huntington Hotel group didn’t), which made them competitive withworld hotel groups. We can see the difference between a Twitter account with thephoto sharing feature and a Twitter account without it.80 http://www.facebook.com/MandarinOrientalManila, Appendix 30 80
  • 81. CitizenM Twitter account81Appendix 31 Huntington Hotel Twitter account82, Appendix 32 The example of CitizenM shows that managing social media websites can bedone in a simple way without requiring high-level skills in the digital field; however,it requires times and involvement with the community. It also implies regularlywatching what direct competitors are doing in their social networks and gettinginformed about the latest trends in digital developments. To sum up, independent hotels have to adapt to using digital tools according totheir needs, which takes into account guests’ expectations as well. In order to helpindependent hotels get informed about the latest news in the industry, many blogssuch as Hotel Marketing, Ehoteliers, Hospitalitynet, DDIH “Digital Developments InHospitality” publish articles and newsletters about this subject on a daily basis.81 http://twitter.com/#!/citizenM, Appendix 3182 http://twitter.com/#!/huntingtonhotel, Appendix 32 81
  • 82. 2- How CitizenM Manages Social Networks CitizenM’s success in term of social media strategies is due to thediversification of the platforms they use. The secret is not to use as many differentplatforms as possible but to be where the potential and loyal customers are; this iswhy CitizenM uses both Foursquare and Gowalla for check-in services or YouTubeand Vimeo to display videos.a- Twitter Twitter is primarily used for customer services. CitizenM takes care to reply toeach comment posted by customers. They inform guests about the hotel organization,advise them about local activities and events, and display good deals and promotions.They don’t use former strategies that encouraged the community to tweet about thehotel. Guests do it spontaneously, which is what the CitizenM Twitter account83 wascreated for. Each independent hotel is free to use Twitter as they wish as long as thestrategy encourages guests to be active on it.In addition, Twitter displays its “TripAdvisor Travelers’ choice 2011” title as a trustguarantee, which encourages guests to interact with CitizenM.b- YouTube and Vimeo YouTube and Vimeo are the two best online video platforms. CitizenM usesthem both84 because each has advantages the other doesn’t. In the end, they completeeach other and both YouTube and Vimeo users are satisfied.The table below shows the advantages of using the two of them.YouTube Vimeo - Free + unlimited video upload - Not free to increase upload - 10 min limited videos - No time limit for videos - 2 GB space - 5 GB space - Gather videos by professionals - No advertisers + partner programs and individuals + + video posted by individuals: only advertisement professional videos - No view count + no comments - View count + customer possible comments - Nice designed platform - No aesthetic design YouTube offers the advantage to allow guests and media to share their videosabout the hotels on the channel. However, CitizenM professional videos are hard tofind there. Vimeo can display only CitizenM’s professional videos for people whodon’t want to lose time on YouTube.By using the two platforms, CitizenM answers different customers’ needs, andincreases its chance to gain higher ranking in search engines and get more visibility.83 http://twitter.com/#!/citizenM84 http://www.youtube.com/citizenmobile / http://vimeo.com/citizenm 82
  • 83. However, independent hotels not using video platforms are advised to use at leastYouTube because it is used the most and enables guests to post videos and comments,which is good advertisement for the hotel. CitizenM shows its originality even in the way it introduces its concept andhotels in its videos. The video introducing the concept starts by presenting in a funnyway the type of customers the hotels have been made for, then it shows the differentparts of the hotel with computer generated images, and finishes with what the hoteldoesn’t have in order to explain its cheap price. The video is obviously very attractiveand conveys the originality and the unique experience the brand offers. Concerningthe second video about CitizenM hotel Amsterdam, the video doesn’t present thehotel because the concept is the same for every hotel. As a result, the video has beenmade to welcome guests in a funny way, by introducing Amsterdam, its traditions andcultures. This kind of video doesn’t require a high budget because we just seesomeone’s hand writing on sheet of papers and playing with typical objects fromAmsterdam. CitizenM shows again that it is possible to do something that is simple,original and successful.c- Flickr Flickr was the fastest growing photo sharing site on the Internet and is stillprobably the best photo management service. CitizenM uploads on this platform allthe hotels’ photos because Flickr imposes no quantity limits and requests no payment.The advantage of using Flickr is the ability to join groups and share photos in thosegroups. CitizenM joined the following groups: hotel, Amsterdam, and interior design.Joining groups is the best way photos get exposure, which is important tocommunicate about the hotel. For example, people joining the Amsterdam group,because they are planning a trip there, will see CitizenM and might be lured by theconcept through the photos. People joining the interior design group might beprofessionals looking for design project contracts in the future. CitizenM also provides a link to its Flickr account85 on its website but has notinstalled the Flickr button as they did for Facebook and Twitter. A button wouldmake the access toward the account easier, so it is recommended to install it.Moreover, people visiting the website might have a Flickr account and might want toadd the hotel to their “contact list” for a future trip. To finish with, the link from thewebsite to the Flickr account is recognized by search engines to encourage higherranking and more visibility. Flickr can also be used for marketing exposure if done “discreetly.” ExploitingFlickr for commercial exposure is against the terms of use; however, if hotelmanagers limit themselves to using the hotel website address as the Flickr screenname and mentioning the name of the hotel and the website address in tags anddescriptions, then it remains discreet. CitizenM is not going so far, they use it asindividuals do, because they don’t expect much exposure with Flickr given the goodmarketing strategies they have overall on social media websites.85 http://www.flickr.com/photos/citizenm 83
  • 84. d- Foursquare and Gowalla Foursquare and Gowalla are the best location-based social networking services.CitizenM uses both of them for its check-in reward program, which consists ofoffering free coffee or CitizenM water after the first check-in and offering theCitizenM cocktail “bender mender” after each subsequent check-in.CitizenM uses the two platforms to satisfy people using either Foursquare 86 orGowalla87, thereby covering a larger customer segment. It also enables CitizenM tomake the most of the advantages provided by each platform as they do on YouTubeand Vimeo.They also interact with customers on both platforms: posting tips on Foursquare andphotos, places on Foursquare and Gowalla. The table below shows the advantages ofusing the two of them. Foursquare Gowalla - Users can post their check-ins - Users can post their check-ins on on Twitter and Facebook Twitter and Facebook - X* - Incorporate the logo of actual business - Less accurate with location - More accurate with location from from iPhone and Android iPhone and Android - “Friends recent check-in” - “Friends activity” + maps showing friends venue. - More attractive design and - Less attractive design and colors colors - Reward check-ins with points - Reward check-ins with badges (expire at the end of each week) - Reward special check-ins with - Reward special check-ins with badges special badges when the location has been newly created by someone. - Reward people with the title of - Display people who checked-in mayor when they checked-in the most on a leaderboard more than anyone else X*: function not providedFoursquare and Gowalla provide more or less the same functions. As a result it isbeneficial for CitizenM to incorporate the two of them in their check-in strategies.86 https://foursquare.com/v/citizenm/4b3bb64ff964a520627925e387 http://gowalla.com/spots/1676932 84
  • 85. e- LinkedIn CitizenM being a fast growing independent hotel chain, it is to their advantageto maintain a LinkedIn account.CitizenM’s profile on LinkedIn88 works to: - Inspire confidence in the brand for potential customers: CitizenM hotel’spresentation and the number of followers are factors that might encourage people tomake a reservation - Find employees, prospective clients or investors through the network of thepeople added (years of experience, employee’s degree, university attended, annualcompany growth, etc.) through CitizenM’s information CitizenM could be more active on LinkedIn by joining groups and associationsto take part in, but its objective remains simple in that they just want to provideessential information to their customers. CitizenM took care of installing a Twitterapplication on LinkedIn. It displays all the tweets in real time, which gives an idea ofCitizenM’s activity, the quality of their work and their involvement to gaincustomer’s satisfaction. As a result, maintaining a LinkedIn account doesn’t requiretime investment; it just requires an update from time to time. The LinkedIn account isnot mentioned on their website, which is a shame given it also contributes in gaininghigher ranking in search engines and better visibility. Independent hotels are advisedto set up a simple, not overcharged LinkedIn account similar to what CitizenM did.f- CitizenMag Online Magazine The CitizenMag is a quarterly online magazine whose topics are linked totravel, new technologies, events, cities and so forth. They are both business andleisure-related in order to capture all their guests’ interests.Creating a magazine is a way to differentiate from hotels in general, which usuallycreate a blog in parallel to running their website. It is also a smart way to avoid thenegative points of running a blog. The main problem when running a blog is beingable to be active on it regularly and being inspired by posting articles able to attractguests’ attention without the blog being a copy of the website. Rolling out amagazine every four months, as CitizenM does, allows for work on a different topicanytime and when time permits. Moreover, a magazine provides a more thrillingapproach in guests’ mind than a blog does.88 http://www.linkedin.com/company/citizenm 85
  • 86. The table below lists the different impacts between an online magazine and a blog tothe reader: Online Magazine Blog - Keeps the readers in suspense - If not maintained every day, until the launch of the next readers get bored to see nothing magazine new regularly - The arrangement of articles, - Templates don’t put out photos, photos, videos, etc. is more articles, and videos in a attractive because the templates diversified way. enable to diversify their position - People have the impression of - People realized that they are sent staying on the hotel website on another website and might be confused between the blog and the original website. - People can’t comment but can - People can comment on each post, share information and like the share them on social networks and magazine like them. - Doesn’t require the readers’ - Must encourage readers to interact interactivity such as comment, with the blog administrator likes, etc. - Recent articles are crawled more often in search engines, thus positioning them higher in search engines Hoteliers who can regularly devote time to guest online entertainment will dowell by running a blog. The question is not whether an online magazine is better thana blog, the question is the quality of the content and the impact it has on the readers.Four Season hotels is running a blog called “Have a Family Will Travel”, the“family” and “travel” topics are large enough to have different and interesting articlesto post regularly. Moreover, each guest can interact by commenting on articlesbecause “travel” and “family” are part of life experience. As a result, this blog is asuccess among Four Seasons hotel guests.3- What about CitizenM Mobile Strategy? As strange as it may seem, CitizenM doesn’t provide a smartphone application,and the hotels’ websites are not optimized for mobiles either. However, they succeedin competing with world hotel groups and independent hotels that are turning mobileand who give priority to mobile strategies to get market shares.CitizenM is going the other way; they give priority to online and social mediastrategies and prove that the success of the company does not depend on theinvestment in mobile strategies. 86
  • 87. a- CitizenM Website Just like its social media websites, the CitizenM website is simple, original andnot overcharged. These three characteristics see to it that even if they don’t haveeither a mobile optimized website or a smartphone application, CitizenM still has aleg ahead on other independent hotels even on some world hotel groups. The previous chapter showed that many hotels that are turning mobile are alsoredesigning their desktop website to make it attractive for both leisure and businesscustomers and to improve the loading page time. CitizenM, by creating a simplewebsite with a simple logo, succeeded in creating an original, well-designed websitethat perfectly fits both leisure and business customers and only takes three seconds toload on a desktop and five seconds on mobile platforms.Here is a screen shot of CitizenM’s desktop website: CitizenM’s Desktop Website Source: screenshot of CitizenM’s websites, http://www.citizenm.com/, October 2011, Appendix 33 Furthermore, if the website is not optimized for mobile devices, its simplicityenables the website to be accessible from mobile devices. Mobile websites being alight version of desktop websites, the CitizenM desktop website already not beingovercharged doesn’t require a mobile adaptation for now. The only thing people can’taccess from iPhones are the interactive flash videos, but people using the websitefrom their smartphone just need last minute information and won’t pay attention tothe flash videos. As of date, flash videos are viewable only from Android phones. The website doesn’t display customer reviews but CitizenM hotels alreadyappear on the top of rankings with not less than four ratings on numerous reviewwebsites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, booking.com, and easytobook.com.In a few years, if the brand keeps being expanded, CitizenM will have to turn mobilebecause their website will gather more information. They will have to adapt theirwebsite for mobile devices or create a smartphone application. However, even if CitizenM shows that investing in a mobile website can beavoided with a simple and not overcharged website desktop, some independenthoteliers may want to invest in a mobile application. Mobile applications are wellappreciated by business and leisure travelers; thus, it can be a plus for hotels.Moreover, nowadays, more and more marketing and technological firms are joiningtogether to create applications for hotels. 87
  • 88. C- Smartphone Applications and Competence Measurement Tools Though CitizenM has not decided to invest in a smartphone application yet, it isimportant to point out how relevant it can be for independent hotels. The Smartstay 2application is the object of the following analysis because the app has been madeespecially for the hospitality industry. Concerning competence measurement tools,ReviewPro was selected because it is one of CitizenM’s partners that contributes a lotto the hotel chain’s success.1- Smartstay 2 Application Independent hoteliers who wish to invest in a mobile application have to gothrough a professional specialized in both the mobile application and hospitalityindustry. Decare System, a software development company joined its expertise withO’Rourke Hospitality, a marketing firm specialized in the hospitality industry, tocreate the Smartstay application for hotels. Decare System and O’Rourke hospitalityusually work for independent hotels but they also have world hotel brands (such asShangri-La, Marriott Spring Hill Suites (Florida) or Radisson Fert McDowell Resort)as clients. Recently, they launched the latest version of their application: Smartstay2, a24/7 mobile concierge.Smartstay 2 is a ready built mobile application that hotels can customize (on theirown or with Smartstay assistance) with their hotel brand content. Then theapplication can be downloaded for free by hotel guests and thereby have access togeneral hotel information, make reservations and receive real-time updates. TheSmartstay booking engine doesn’t allow for modifying reservations, which can beannoying for business travelers. However, any mobile optimized booking engine canbe incorporated into the Smartstay app. Smartstay app is a smart solution for hotels in that its product and services areaccessible at affordable prices89, namely: - $200 for the single application without optional assistance + $180/monthsubscription fee for hotel featured on individual app - $400 for the simple application with optional assistance + $180/monthsubscription fee - Additional optional features (multilingual functionality, Google analytics, etc.)requires a monthly payment ranging from $10 to $50 Independent hotels without skills in digital technologies can also add theservices of external web-marketing firms specialized in hospitality. It is a goodsolution to invest in because they can deal with what the Smartstay assistance does,namely entering the hotel information (logos, images, maps, offers, promotions, etc.)in the Content Management System, for a cheaper price. Moreover, these companies work as consultants and can give independenthoteliers solutions to improve their online digital competences. One example isOneglobe Network90, which works for independent hotels and small hotel chains sothey can achieve maximum web revenue and compete with world hotel groups and89 http://www.smartstayapp.com/smartstay-pricing90 http://www.oneglobenetwork.com/ 88
  • 89. chains. They have the expertise to determine hotels’ digital IQ index and the scorethey can reach by applying Oneglobe Network web marketing and revenue strategies. They keep hotels posted on the latest technological trends, tools and platformsthat could be used in the hospitality industry through the help of the “DigitalDevelopments In Hospitality” brand 91 they are developing. Oneglobe network’scommunity strategists take care of scrawling the web on a day-to-day basis to providehotels with accurate and recent information. Furthermore, to ensure hotels’ online success, Oneglobe Networks partners withexperts in the mobile industry, online marketing and reputation management anddesign expertise (Trek Wireless, ReviewPro, Avvio, Smartstay, etc.). Among thisexpertise, online reputation management through web-analytic tools as provided byReviewPro92. The latter provides hotels with accurate information on the website’sonline visibility. Therefore, online reputation management allows hotels to efficientlyorganize and manage their online visibility and presence on social media websites.2- CitizenM and ReviewPro Partnership CitizenM’s success in social media management is largely due to ReviewProexpertise. In an article 93, Diego Sartori, CitizenM’s Social Media and InternetStrategist claimed “I had demonstrations from many different tools, and ReviewProwas the one that fit our needs best: it is the most complete and has shown morereliability than the others. That’s the reason we started working with ReviewPro. It’s agreat product that offers exactly what we need, and has some helpful features likesocial media tracking, task assignments, and so on.” Since the beginning of the partnership, CitizenM got positive results. Thenumber of active Facebook Fans has increased four times as much, their Twitterfollowers doubled in three months and CitizenM hotels appeared in among the topbest ranking hotels on review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp.ReviewPro’s analytic tools that contributed to CitizenM’s success mainly focuses on: - knowing everything about the hotel at all times: it notifies any mentions onTwitter and Facebook, all the photos and videos posted by hotel guests and newonline reviews so hoteliers can intervene rapidly if a response is necessary. - Identifying problems and providing efficient solutions: it provides web-analyticdata about the hotel’s online performance and compares it with direct competitors.Then, ReviewPro tool tracks the evolution of the hotel progress, sends automaticemail reports and assigns tasks to improve the online reputation. ReviewPro expertise is a good investment for hotels, it is a trustworthy toolwhose quality seal is integrated on the website of their hotel partners. For the mostbudget limited hoteliers who can’t offer web-analytic tools, they can start with Kloutand Vrank online services that provide altogether more or less accurate informationabout brands’ online influencers and visibility.91 http://ddih.wordpress.com/92 http://www.reviewpro.com/93 http://www.reviewpro.com/citizenm-chose-reviewpro-4257 89
  • 90. Conclusion In 2011, independent boutique hotels are still facing a complicated situation.They are recovering from the economic downturn, while physically fighting againstworld hotel groups and chains to remain independent, and are doing their best toinvade the digital space. In addition, boutique hotels have to manage a fast growingdemand in the market along with a harsh competition against world hotel groups thatare trying to take market shares from them. Independent hotels and world hotelgroups want to entice business travelers, who have been back on the road since thebeginning of the year. Business travelers are especially attracted by the uniqueexperience boutique hotels provide and are more technologically savvy than ever.What makes the situation critical is the fact that boutique hotels have the advantage ofproviding a unique experience while world hotel groups have marketing budgets toset up mobile strategies and get visible online. This situation is to the advantage ofboutique hotels all the same; it is indeed easier to turn digital than to set up an entirehotel concept in order to provide a unique experience. The independent hotel chain CitizenM currently demonstrates that it is possiblefor an independent hotel to be both successful online (with efficient digital marketingand communication strategies) and offline by creating a unique experience by simplyfocusing on customers’ needs. CitizenM’s secret is before all, to make things simplebut original. Within their hotels, they provide customers with a simple room butequipped with cutting edge technology that travelers are expecting nowadays. Online,they show originality by remaining simple and listening to the customer. CitizenM’sstrength is obviously its online performance, realized with the help of ReviewPro webanalytic tools. As a result, CitizenM excels where world hotel groups are struggling,namely in social media management. In addition, CitizenM demonstrates that thepriority has to be given to online and social media strategies instead of mobilestrategies. The CitizenM case study is nothing else but the proof that independent hotelierscan be successful by turning digital. The time invested in social media and takinggood care of potential and loyal customers is money gained. The most importantthing to remember is that they have to adapt according to their customers’ needs andwhat they are able to give. If independent hoteliers don’t have a big enough budget toget a mobile adapted website or mobile application, then they have to invest in a basicwebsite and be active on social networks with their customers.As a result, by focusing on online and social media strategies, CitizenM is doing thereverse that world hotel groups are doing. 90
  • 91. GENERAL CONCLUSION The hospitality industry is the travel sector most affected by the smartphonerevolution because hotels are more and more frequented by tech savvy guests, whosereservations can range from one to several nights. On top of managing the world economic crisis, hoteliers were constrained totake up two challenges: - Adapt to new types of customers, especially business travelers - Turn digital in terms of online, social media and mobile marketing The smartphone industry, one of the rare sectors not affected by the economiccrisis, contributed in first changing the life of business travelers and now the generalpublic’s way of living. Whether for work or family purposes, smartphones – withrapid access to the Internet and mobile applications – have become real travelerassistants. As time went on, the craze for smartphones naturally influenced the socialmedia development. Furthermore, the economic crisis played an important role in the new needs andexpectations of hotel guests. They realized that they could get hotel rooms for acheaper price and got used to the “rewards” highly distributed during the recession. In 2011, with the return of business travelers, hotels have no other choice thanto turn digital, which turns out to be more difficult for independent hotels with limitedbudgets and who lack skills in the digital field. World hotel groups and chains, having the budget to set up attractive websitesand appear among the firsts in search engines, show weaknesses in managing socialmedia activities – most of them only use Twitter for communication and Facebook foronline presence. Independent luxury and upscale hotels, including boutique hotels, suffered themost from the recession, and are currently struggling to keep their independence infront of world hotel groups and chains attracted by the boutique hotel concept. As aresult, the economic crisis was an opportunity to make independent hotels realize theimportance of digital marketing in gaining revenue and winning business travelersback. This research paper finally demonstrates that, depending on the marketingbudget allocated, world hotel groups and chains and independent hotels can havedifferent digital marketing approaches. World hotel groups and chains give priority to mobile – setting up mobilewebsites, mobile applications, mobile booking engines, check-in devices and so on toenhance guest experience. Independent hotels can bet on social media along with the help of external web-marketing agencies specialized in the hospitality industry. CitizenM, which partneredwith ReviewPro, proved – by making simple, original and regular use of a largenumber of social media websites along with online customer service – that givingpriority to online and social media activities enables hotels to gain online visibilitywhether on desktop computers or mobile devices, which is a smart solution for savingmoney and increasing revenue. 91
  • 92. As far as online visibility is concerned, independent hotels should also givepriority to geolocation processes. As digital maps are more and more accurate onsmartphones, and hotel guests more prone to augmented reality, the future of hoteliersis being oriented toward last minute reservations from mobile devices. 92
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  • 95. http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/4943/Independents-team-up-with-brandsI-C-1http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/the-complete-guide-to-european-boutique-hotels-469352.htmlhttp://scarver.hubpages.com/hub/How-To-Choose-A-Truly-Boutique-HotelPDF: Boutique Hotel: Fashionable and InspiringI-C-2http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/the-complete-guide-to-european-boutique-hotels-469352.htmlI-C-3PDF: Boutique Hotel: Fashionable and InspiringII- Ahttp://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-06-01-travel-websites_n.htmDigital IQ Index Studyhttp://www.luxurydaily.com/experiential-currency-drives-digital-and-social-landscape/http://www.ausbt.com.au/w-hotels-now-offer-room-service-via-an-iphone-apphttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/19/business/19hotels.html?_r=4http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/154000320/4052346.htmlhttp://www.eyefortravel.com/news/technology/ihg%E2%80%99s-bookings-mobile-devices-1000-percent-12-monthshttp://lhonline.com/technology/Sheraton_Link_computers_Microsoft_renovation_0616/http://www.global-blue.com/merchant-services/corporate/news/social-networking-should-you-take-notice/http://www.traveldailynews.com/pages/show_page/39460-Great-Hotels-of-the-World-introduces-innovative-%22Niche-content-hubs%22http://www.luxurydaily.com/consistency-is-integral-to-maintaining-mobile-consumer-interaction-mandarin-oriental/http://www.apple.com/webapps/travel/marriottmobileforiphone.htmlhttp://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/3000/Social-media-marketing-at-the-Marriotthttp://hotelinsight.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/starwood-adopt-foursquare-strategy-to-promote-hotel-check-ins/http://blog.suitcaseinteractive.com/2011/05/starwood-engagement-loyalty-digital-marketing/http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/2862/Mobile-friendly-sites-essential-as-usage-growshttp://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_fshw.php?mwi=6087http://www.slideshare.net/socialmediasolutions/hotel-guidehttp://www.marketingweek.co.uk/sectors/travel-and-leisure/hotel-owner-turns-mobile-phones-into-room-keys/3024804.articlehttp://www.virtual-strategy.com/2011/07/29/hilton-anaheim-plans-first-ever-tweetup-social-media-eventhttp://www.hotelindustryonline.com/the-latest-news/182-ihg-applies-new-mobile-strategy.htmlhttp://itunes.apple.com/us/app/priority-club-rewards/id368217298?mt=8#http://www.ihgplc.com/index.asp?PageID=116&NewsID=2658http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_fshw.php?mwi=6140http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/accor-club/1201117-sofitel-us-reveal-their-social-media-strategy.htmlhttp://www.haiku-corp.com/ln/en/pdf/HK_Accorhotel_shows_ambition_on_the_mobile.pdfhttp://www.ghotw.com/mediapage.aspx?id=12845http://www.eyefortravel.com/news/hotels/great-hotels-world-eradicates-all-booking-and-credit-card-feeshttp://www.businesstravelnews.com/Travel-Management/Options-Expanding-For-Mobile-Hotel-Bookings/http://www.mandarinoriental.com/social_media/http://appsandwidgets.fourseasons.com/http://lhonline.com/features/marketing_technology_apps_iPhone_BlackBerry_loyalty_printing_0602/http://www.travelagentcentral.com/rewards/carlson-debuts-new-hotel-loyalty-program-launches-mobile-app-27650http://www.eyefortravel.com/news/marketing/how-do-customer-service-twitter 95
  • 96. http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/marriott_upgrades_mobile_apps_supports_now_any_web_enabled_devicehttp://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=9040http://ddih.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/la-clef-d%E2%80%99hotel-reutilisable-et-la-clef-virtuelle-se-repandent-dans-les-chaines/#more-855http://adage.com/article/digital/ritz-carlton-embraces-digital/229963/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+advertisingAge%2FDigital+%28Advertising+Age+-+Digital%29http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_fshw.php?mwi=6306III-Ahttp://www.citizenm.com/rollout/roll-out-strategy.phphttp://www.citizenm.com/http://www.citizenm.com/about-hotel-group.phphttp://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g188590-d1372848-Reviews-CitizenM_Amsterdam_City-Amsterdam_Noord_Holland.html#REVIEWShttp://www.citizenm.com/citizenm-awards.phphttp://www.citizenm.com/about-hotel-group.phphttp://www.citizenm.com/rollout/location-criteria.phphttp://www.citizenm.com/rollout/development-specifications.phphttp://www.citizenm.com/rollout/transaction-structures.phpIII-B 1/2http://www.bullseyehub.com/blog/2011/06/how-can-hotels-use-twitter/http://blog.videohive.net/general/youtube-or-vimeo-pros-cons/http://mddt.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/foursquare-vs-gowalla-big-differences/http://blog.linkedin.com/2010/04/12/linkedin-small-business-tips/http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/articles/marketing-on-flickr/http://www.citizenm.com/hotel-concept-questions.phphttp://www.smartstayapp.com/http://www.eyefortravel.com/news/asia/responding-expansion-facebook%E2%80%99s-location-based-check-ins-hotelierhttp://techcrunch.com/2011/08/22/five-years-later-twitter-rolls-out-image-galleries/III-B-3http://www.reviewpro.com/citizenm-chose-reviewpro-4257http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2011/1/18/105829/988/hotels/CitizenM_to_Open_in_New_York_and_London_By_2012_Hong_Kong_Paris_and_Zurich_Are_in_the_Workshttp://www.citizenm.com/citizenm-concept-movie.phphttp://citizenmag.citizenm.com/issue-06/phone-guideshttp://www.studio1c.com/blog/25-blogs/95-part-i-why-you-must-have-a-blog-if-you-own-a-business.htmlhttp://www.reviewpro.com/citizenm-chose-reviewpro-4257 96
  • 97. LIST OF APPENDICESAppendix 1: Top Smartphone ActivitiesAppendix 2: Smartphones and iPhones: many unused functionsAppendix 3: Smartphones in the total of sold cell phonesAppendix 4: Windows mobile Palm Treo 700wAppendix 5: Apple iPhone 2GAppendix 6: Google Android HTC DreamAppendix 7: Nokia N95Appendix 8: RIM Blackberry ThunderAppendix 9: Worldwilde Top-10 SMartphones Brand RankingAppendix 10: U.S. Smartphone vs. Non-Smartphone Penetration by AgeAppendix 11: Smartphone Ownership/usage (by income)Appendix 12: Social Media: usage by web surfersAppendix 13: Hotel information sources for business travelersAppendix 14: Information sources consulted in the all three phases of a hotel purchasedecisionAppendix 15: Likelihood of booking a hotel that has negative reviewsAppendix 16: Likelihood of booking a hotel that has positive reviewsAppendix 17: Mobile Marketing Trends in the Hospitality IndustryAppendix 18: Social media Usage in the Hospitality IndustryAppendix 19: The Impact of Social Media Websites on CustomersAppendix 20: The Four Main Social Media WebsitesAppendix 21: Average Digital IQ and percent of booking online by categoryAppendix 22: Digital IQ dispersionAppendix 23: Top 10 Hotel Brands: Online and Social Media ManagementAppendix 24: CitizenM GlasgowAppendix 25: CitizenM RoomsAppendix 26: CitizenM Living RoomAppendix 27: CitizenM Check-in terminalsAppendix 28: The CanteenMAppendix 29: Screenshots of CitizenMs Facebook AccountsAppendix 30: Screenshot of The Mandarin Oriental Manillas Facebook AccountAppendix 31: CitizenM Twitter accountAppendix 32: Huntington Hotel Twitter accountAppendix 33: CitizenM’s Desktop Website 97
  • 98. APPENDICESAppendix 1Source: mobile.ecosystem.digital, Econsultancy, page 1, Appendix 1 98
  • 99. Appendix 2Source: http://www.test-achats.be/telephonie/smartphones-et-iphone-beaucoup-de-fonctions-inutilisees-s576103.htm, Surveys, Date not mentioned, Appendix 2Appendix 3Source: http://www.teleco.com.br/en/en_comentario/en_com404.asp, Surveys,February 8th, 2011, Appendix 3 99
  • 100. Appendix 4Windows mobile Palm Treo 700whttp://www.newlaunches.com/archives/palm_and_microsoft_team_to_bring_healthcare_solutions_to_palm_treo_700w.php, News, February 17th, 2006, Appendix 4Appendix 5http://knowyourgadgets.com/apple-iphone-2g/#.TqgV_Jyhnwg, News, February 2nd,2011, Appendix 5 100
  • 101. Appendix 6Google Android HTC Dreamhttp://happy-qi-snoopy.blogspot.com/2009/02/htc-dream-or-google-android.html,News, 2009, Appendix 6Appendix 7http://www.mobilefonereviews.co.uk/phone-reviews/Nokia-N95.aspx, News, No datementioned, Appendix 7 101
  • 102. Appendix 8http://www.tecnocino.it/articolo/rim-blackberry-thunder-e-la-tastiera-virtuale/11031/,News, July 14th, 2008, Appendix 8Appendix 9Source: HIS Isupply May 2011, Appendix 9 102
  • 103. Appendix 10Source : http://www.comscoredatamine.com/, Statistics, July 2010, Appendix 10Appendix 11Source: http://www.onlinemarketing-trends.com, Statistics, April 10th, 2011,Appendix 11 103
  • 104. Appendix 12Source: slideshare "Social media in travel and hospitality business, Katrien Cattoor,Statistics, May 2011, Appendix 12Appendix 13Source: How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choiceDecisions, Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010, Appendix 13 104
  • 105. Appendix 14Source: How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choiceDecisions, Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010, Appendix 14Appendix 15Source: How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choiceDecisions, Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010, Appendix 15 105
  • 106. Appendix 16Source: How Travelers Use Online and Social Media Channels to Make Hotel-choiceDecisions, Cornell Hospitality Report, Vol. 10, No. 18, December 2010, Appendix 16Appendix 17Source: http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8885, Surveys, July 26th,2011, Appendix 17 106
  • 107. Appendix 18Hoteliers probably did not consider TripAdvisor as a social media marketing toolSource: http://linkd.in/nlEe2X, News, 2011, Appendix 18Appendix 19The Impact of Social Media Websites on CustomersSource: Plate of the author, Appendix 19 107
  • 108. Appendix 20The Four Main Social Media WebsitesSource: Plate of the author, Appendix 20 108
  • 109. Appendix 21Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by Scott Galloway, April 26th, 2011, Appendix21 109
  • 110. Appendix 22Source: Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by Scott Galloway, April 26th, 2011,Appendix 22 110
  • 111. Appendix 23Source: By the author, made from Study, L2 Digital IQ Index: Travel, by ScottGalloway, April 26th, 2011 Appendix 23Appendix 24CitizenM Glasgowhttp://www.citizenmglasgow.com/glasgow-lodging-photos.php, Appendix 24 111
  • 112. Appendix 25CitizenM Roomsscreenshot, http://www.citizenmglasgow.com/, September 2011, Appendix 25Appendix 26CitizenM Living Roomhttp://www.citizenm.com/images/masthead/hotel-lobby.jpg, Appendix 26Appendix 27CitizenM Check-in Terminalshttp://www.citizenm.com/images/inset/lobby-body.jpg, Appendix 27 112
  • 113. Appendix 28The Canteen Mhttp://www.citizenm.com/images/masthead/canteenM.jpg, Appendix 28Appendix 29Screenshots of CitizenM’s Facebook Accountshttp://www.facebook.com/citizenMhotels -http://www.facebook.com/citizenMglasgow -http://www.facebook.com/citizenMamsterdamcity, Appendix 29 113
  • 114. Appendix 30Screenshot of The Mandarin Oriental Manillas Facebook Accounthttp://www.facebook.com/MandarinOrientalManila, Appendix 30Appendix 31CitizenM Twitter accounthttp://twitter.com/#!/citizenM, Appendix 31 114
  • 115. Appendix 32Huntington Hotel Twitter accounthttp://twitter.com/#!/huntingtonhotel, Appendix 32Appendix 33Source: screenshot of CitizenM’s websites, http://www.citizenm.com/, October 2011,Appendix 33 115
  • 116. TITLES - Research Project Title -How Independent Hoteliers can Capitalize on the SmartphoneRevolution through the Use of Social Media, to Entice BusinessTravelers. - Main Subsections Titles -Chapter 1: The Smartphones Evolution and the Impact on Business TravelersI - The Smartphone Development over the YearsII - The Impact of Smartphones on Business TravelersChapter 2: The Impact of Smartphones in the Hospitality IndustryI- Hotels’ Adaptation to Business Travelers of TodayII- Hotels’ Adaptation to Smartphones in order to Entice Business TravelersIII- Measurement Tools: an Evolution in Hospitality MarketingChapter 3: Mobile and Social Media Strategies for Independent Boutique HotelsI- The Evolution of Independent Hotels since the Beginning of the Economic CrisisII- Digital Involvement of World Hotel Groups and ChainsIII- Digital Marketing Solutions for Boutique Hotels through the Example ofCitizenM 116
  • 117. TABLE OF CONTENTSSUMMARY..........................................................................................................................................5!GENERALINTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................6!CHAPTER1........................................................................................................................................8!I8THESMARTPHONEDEVELOPMENTOVERTHEYEARS............................................... 0! 1 A#!SMARTPHONE!PRESENTATION!................................................................................................................!10! B#!BIRTH!OF!THE!SMARTPHONE:!A!CHALLENGING!COMPETITION!FOR!MOBILE!MANUFACTURERS !............................................................................................................................................................................!12! C#!GENERAL!STATISTICS!ABOUT!SMARTPHONE!DEVELOPMENT!...........................................................!16!II8THEIMPACTOFSMARTPHONESONBUSINESSTRAVELERS.................................... 8! 1 A#!BUSINESS!TRAVELERS’!PROFILE!.............................................................................................................!18! 1"#Business#Travelers#as#Smartphones’#Users#................................................................................#18! 2"#Business#Travelers’#Profile:#a#Perfect#Target#for#Smartphone#Manufacturers#.........#19! B#!HOW!DO!BUSINESS!TRAVELERS!USE!SMARTPHONES?!.......................................................................!21! 1"#General#use#of#Smartphone#by#Business#Travelers#................................................................#21! 2"#Social#Media#and#Smartphone#Applications:#Their#Influence#on#Business#Travels#.#22! C#!THE!SERVICES!PROVIDED!BY!SOCIAL!MEDIA!AND!MOBILE!APPLICATIONS!....................................!24! 1"#Before#Making#a#Reservation#..........................................................................................................#24! 2"#During#a#Trip#..........................................................................................................................................#25! 3"#After#a#Trip#..............................................................................................................................................#25! 4"#The#Influence#of#Social#Media#on#Business#Travelers#...........................................................#26!CHAPTER2...................................................................................................................................... 8! 2I8HOTELS’ADAPTATIONTOBUSINESSTRAVELERSOFTODAY................................... 0! 3 A#!BUSINESS!TRAVELERS!ATTITUDE!WITH!REGARDS!TO!HOTELS!IN!THE!AFTERMATH!OF!THE! ECONOMIC!CRISIS!............................................................................................................................................!30! 1"#Business#Travelers#Hotel#Booking#Process#................................................................................#30! 2"#Business#Travelers’#Expectation#Development#on#Rewards#..............................................#31! B#!THE!EVOLUTION!OF!ONLINE!RESERVATION!IN!THE!HOSPITALITY!INDUSTRY!...............................!31! 1"#Business#Travelers’#Online#Reservations:#a#Change#in#the#Hotel#Booking#Process#..#32! 2"#Reviews#Involvement#in#the#Booking#Process#..........................................................................#34! C#!SMARTPHONES:!BUSINESS!TRAVELERS’!PERFECT!ASSISTANTS!.......................................................!36! . 1"#Mobile#Applications#and#Social#Media#Influence#....................................................................#36! 2"#The#Impact#of#Social#Media#Development#on#Hotel#Reputation#......................................#36!II8HOTELS’ADAPTATIONTOSMARTPHONESINORDERTOENTICEBUSINESSTRAVELERS..................................................................................................................................... 8! 3 A#!THE!USE!OF!SMARTPHONES!IN!THE!HOSPITALITY!INDUSTRY!AND!THE!DEVELOPMENT!OF! ONLINE!AND!SOCIAL!MEDIA!TOOLS.!...........................................................................................................!38! . 1"#Mobile#Development:#Three#Difficulties#Hoteliers#Have#to#Adapt#...................................#38! 2"#Mobile#Marketing:#Two#New#Challenges#for#Hoteliers#........................................................#40! . B#!SOCIAL!MEDIA:!POSITIONING!STRATEGY!AND!EFFICIENT!MARKETING!TOOLS!............................!43! 1"#Social#Media#Development#in#the#Hospitality#Industry#........................................................#43! 2"#The#Advantages#for#Hoteliers#to#Use#Social#Media#................................................................#45! 3"#Facebook’s#Success#in#the#Hospitality#Industry#.......................................................................#48!III8MEASUREMENTTOOLS:ANEVOLUTIONINHOSPITALITYMARKETING............ 0! . 5 A#!DIGITAL!COMPETENCE!MEASUREMENT!................................................................................................!50! 1"#The#Digital#IQ#Indexes#in#the#Hospitality#Industry#.................................................................#50! 2"#Digital#IQ#Measurement#and#Classification#of#World#Hotel#Groups#...............................#51! 3"#World#Hotel#Groups#and#the#Use#of#Social#Media#by#Brands#.............................................#53! 117
  • 118. B#!WEB!ANALYTIC!TOOLS:!A!GROWING!TREND!IN!THE!HOSPITALITY!INDUSTRY!.............................!54! . 1"#The#Importance#for#Hoteliers#to#Use#Analytic#Tools#.............................................................#54!CHAPTER3...................................................................................................................................... 8! 5I8THEEVOLUTIONOFINDEPENDENTHOTELSSINCETHEBEGINNINGOFTHEECONOMICCRISIS ......................................................................................................................... 0! . 6 A#!THE!SITUATION!OF!INDEPENDENT!HOTELS!DURING!THE!ECONOMIC!DOWNTURN!......................!60! 1"#The#Different#Impacts#of#the#Economic#Crisis#on#Independent#Hotels#..........................#60! 2"#Digital#Marketing#Strategies#as#a#Solution#to#Face#the#Economic#Crisis#.....................#60! B#!THE!SITUATION!OF!INDEPENDENT!HOTELS!IN!2010/2011!...........................................................!61! . 1"#The#Monopoly#of#World#Hotel#Groups#and#Chains#in#the#Hospitality#Market#............#61! 2"#Solutions#of#Independent#Hotels#to#Remain#in#the#Market#.................................................#62! C#!THE!RISE!OF!BOUTIQUE!HOTELS!............................................................................................................!64! 1"#The#Growing#Development#of#Boutique#Hotels#.......................................................................#64! . 2"#The#Solution#of#Boutique#Hotels#to#Face#Economic#Downturn#........................................#65! . 3"#The#Success#of#Boutique#Hotels#since#2010#...............................................................................#65!II8DIGITALINVOLVEMENTOFWORLDHOTELGROUPSANDCHAINS........................ 7! 6 A#!THE!DIGITAL!STRENGTH!OF!THE!BEST!WORLD!HOTELS!GROUPS!AND!CHAINS!...........................!67! B#!THE!THREE!LATEST!DIGITAL!TRENDS!DEVELOPED!BY!WORLD!HOTELS!GROUPS!AND!CHAINS!71! 1"#Combining#Mobile#and#Social#Media#Platforms#......................................................................#71! 2"#Personalized#Platforms#and#Services#to#Entice#Customers#................................................#72! 3"#Enhancing#the#Customer’s#Participation#...................................................................................#72!III8DIGITALMARKETINGSOLUTIONSFORBOUTIQUEHOTELSTHROUGHTHEEXAMPLEOFCITIZENM............................................................................................................... 4! 7 A#!CITIZENM!BOUTIQUE!HOTELS!................................................................................................................!74! 1"#Presentation#...........................................................................................................................................#74! . 2"#CitizenM#Concept#and#Development#............................................................................................#75! 3"#Design#and#Amenity#.............................................................................................................................#76! B#!CITIZENM:!AN!EXAMPLE!OF!SMART!SOCIAL!MEDIA!STRATEGIES!FOR!BOUTIQUE!HOTELS!........!77! 1"#CitizenM’s#Skills#in#Social#Media#Strategies#..............................................................................#78! 2"#How#CitizenM#Manages#Social#Networks#...................................................................................#82! 3"#What#about#CitizenM#Mobile#Strategy?#......................................................................................#86! C#!SMARTPHONE!APPLICATIONS!AND!COMPETENCE!MEASUREMENT!TOOLS!....................................!88! . 1"#Smartstay#2#Application#....................................................................................................................#88! 2"#CitizenM#and#ReviewPro#Partnership#.........................................................................................#89! .GENERALCONCLUSION............................................................................................................... 1! 9WEBREFERENCES......................................................................................................................... 3! 9LISTOFAPPENDICES................................................................................................................... 7! 9APPENDICES................................................................................................................................... 8! . 9TITLES............................................................................................................................................116!TABLEOFCONTENTS................................................................................................................117!TABLEOFILLUSTRATIONS.....................................................................................................119! 118
  • 119. TABLE OF ILLUSTRATIONSTop Smartphone Activities…………………………………………………………..10Smartphones and iPhones: many unused functions……………………………….....11Smartphones in the total of sold cell phones………………………………………...12Windows mobile Palm Treo 700w…………………………………………………..13Apple iPhone 2G…………………………………………………………………….13Google Android HTC Dream………………………………………………………..14Nokia N95…………………………………………………………………………...15RIM Blackberry Thunder……………………………………………………………15Worldwilde Top-10 SMartphones Brand Ranking………………………………….17U.S. Smartphone vs. Non-Smartphone Penetration by Age………………………...18Smartphone Ownership/usage (by income)…………………………………………19Social Media: usage by web surfers…………………………………………………23Hotel information sources for business travelers……………………………………32Information sources consulted in the all three phases of a hotel purchase decision...33Likelihood of booking a hotel that has negative reviews……………………………35Likelihood of booking a hotel that has positive reviews…………………………….35Mobile Marketing Trends in the Hospitality Industry……………………………….41Social media Usage in the Hospitality Industry……………………………………..44The Impact of Social Media Websites on Customers……………………………….45The Four Main Social Media Websites……………………………………………...46Average Digital IQ and percent of booking online by category…………………….51Digital IQ dispersion………………………………………………………………...52Top 10 Hotel Brands: Online and Social Media Management……………………...53CitizenM Glasgow…………………………………………………………………..74CitizenM Rooms…………………………………………………………………….75CitizenM Living Room……………………………………………………………...76CitizenM Check-in terminals………………………………………………………..76The CanteenM……………………………………………………………………….76Screenshots of CitizenMs Facebook Accounts……………………………………..78Screenshot of The Mandarin Oriental Manillas Facebook Account………………..80CitizenM Twitter account……………………………………………………………81Huntington Hotel Twitter account…………………………………………………...81CitizenM’s Desktop Website………………………………………………………...87 119