Social Local Mobile Ryan Freitas Elena Flottmeyer
IntroductionIn regards to a successful marketing idea in the hotel & hospitality industry, marketers seekindividuals to fill rooms, provide the guests with a positive experience, and maintain thecustomers‟ loyalty. Also, marketers strive to obtain non-existing customers to purchase rooms inorder to gain more notoriety. Today, hotel marketers can promote their product and accomplishcustomer loyalty by targeting groups through the use of social media via the internet.The Significance of Mobile Phones and MarketingIn society, most everyone has internet access via computer but the growing trend is that there isan increasing amount of people purchasing Smartphones to access the mobile web wherever theygo. According to a well-respected research firm, Nielsen, “over half of the U.S. population (50.4percent) currently owns a smart device. In addition, well over half the population (70 percent)use social media regularly.” (Doyle, 2012) The fact is, the percentage of users with mobile smartdevices is increasing and social media via mobile web marketing is the easiest and best way forthe hotel marketers to reach out to the majority of social media consumers. In addition, a studyconducted based on U.S. businesses resorting to mobile marketing states that 84% of thosebusinesses reported an increase in profits. ("Impact of mobile," 2012)This knowledge alonemandates the hospitality & hotel industry to market their product via mobile marketing toimprove sales and profits. In addition to the benefits of marketing through mobile internet, it isparticularly easier for travelers to search for hotel rates and locations via mobile web.Social Local MobileWith that said, marketers in the hospitality & hotel industry are seeking to promote their hotelinformation to guests by applying marketing techniques to the booming social media trend calledSocial Local Mobile a.k.aSoLoMo. According to the SoLoMo Manifesto, “SoLoMo is describedas the convergence of Social, Local, and Mobile into a unified approach and is used withintegrated technology to amount to the proverbial Holy Grail of marketing.” Social Local Mobileconsists of social networks (So) geo-location (Lo) and mobile devices (Mo).Social Marketing ApproachThe social part is made up of mobile phone apps such as Facebook or Twitter that allowcommunication through hotels, friends and networks. These apps are often used by users toshare experiences regarding their stay at the hotel. Offering exceptional service to guests mayresult in the consumer using their social apps to share their experience, which will result inattracting new guests. From this perspective, Social Local Mobile is virtually cost effective forthe marketing team and has the potential to reach a broad range of the guests‟ friends and socialnetworks. Other than Facebook and Twitter, another social networking application that benefitsthe hotel guest is called LivingSocial or Groupon. Many hotels that have created an account withthese applications provide guests a special „deal-of-the-day‟ discount to visitors who use their
services. With the help of social media applications the range of potential population beingreached is limitless.Location Marketing ApproachThe Geo-Location marketing approach refers to the GPS based social media platforms such asGoogle, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare. The importance of a location-basedengagement opens a direct network between the consumer and brand that is unlike any other.Engagements like check-ins and tagged tweets are being shared with a consumer‟s social graphvia Facebook, Twitter, Google and FourSquare. When a consumer‟s social graph has beenreached, word of mouth marketing takes place and that results in a cost free marketing technique.In addition, location based marketing can enable users to find a hotel by using their mobilephone. “For example, the Accorhotels.com Smartphone application informs geo-locatedsmartphone users of the hotels in the vicinity (it lists 3,000 Accor brand hotels worldwide), andallows them to calculate their itinerary, record their preferences, access promotions, seepresentation videos and lastly send precious information to their contacts.” ("Accor hotels:reserve," 2012)Mobile Marketing ApproachThe mobile marketing approach gives the customer the ability to use the internet at anytime andanywhere to check out reviews, find special offers, and obtain coupons that the hotel ispromoting. Social Local Mobile users are part of an internet community, and this community isgrowing very rapidly. The potential for mobile marketing techniques better a hotels chances toincrease sales and profits. The majority of hotels need local traffic to survive, and using SocialLocal Mobile is one of the best options for reaching out to current and future guests.The Ritz-Carlton Hotels Impact On Social Local Mobile Marketing In The World OfBusinessSocial Local Mobile has had a profound effect on the hotel & hospitality industry and there is anoptimistic outlook for hotels and other businesses to use this specific marketing strategy. Ritz-Carlton In the hospitality industry, the Ritz-Carlton has used the Social Local Mobile strategy toconnect with current and potential consumers. The Ritz-Carlton hotel uses the application calledFourSquare, and has created what they call the World Concierge. The World Concierge is a oneof a kind service that provides consumers with hundreds of traveling tips, VIP access, plusinsights about local destinations and trending landmarks near the location of the hotel that isbeing visited. The World Concierge via Foursquare is made possible by the marketing and salesdirector, who continues to seek new and existing insights from experienced and knowledgeableconcierges that are employed with the Ritz-Carlton. The benefit of The World Concierge is thathotel guests gain immediate access to valued information by „checking in‟ at a Ritz-Carltonhotel. Individuals that aren‟t staying at the hotel can also follow Ritz-Carlton on Facebook orTwitter to obtain access to The World Concierge.
Reaction and Thoughts Regarding The Ritz-Carlton Marketing TechniquesI believe that the Ritz-Carlton Hotels did a fabulous job using Social Local Mobile to theiradvantage for several reasons. For starters, they took advantage of the opportunity to useFourSquare to connect with their target market. Also, they are reaching out to new consumers bygiving them a taste of the lavish benefits that the Ritz-Carlton hotel offers. By marketing with theSocial Local Mobile app, FourSquare, and developing their own unique service travelers areblessed with the access to the wisdom of The Ritz-Carlton staff wherever they go via mobileweb! This is particularly important for Ritz-Carlton hotels sales and profits because it is yetanother luxurious service given to the consumer that‟s accessible via mobile web. I believe thatthe Ritz-Carlton marketing team are excellent innovators and do an outstanding job of achievingquality service. However, I recognize that the Ritz-Carlton‟s majority of guests are loyalcustomers that are mostly the upper class, therefore, the middle and lower class groups probablywon‟t ever hear about The World Concierge service offered via Foursquare unless they visit thehotel itself. Given that fact, the mobile audience that follows their brand is fairly limited andmarketers need to target all classes in order to gain maximum profits.NH Hotels Impact On Social Local Mobile Marketing In The World Of BusinessStory telling with pictures is one of the most efficient ways to captivate an audience. Through thesocial media application, Instagram, hotel marketers have the ability to capture positiveexperiences through photos and share these events via Facebook and Twitter in order to bettersell their product to consumers. Likewise, consumers have the ability to use Instagram to reachout to friends and networks. This is exactly what NH hotels are doing to market their product andcapture more guests to their hotel. NH hotels have given the opportunity to its followers achallenge to capture a moment when something is beginning, or in other words a wake-upmoment. It is important to note that NH Hotels slogan is, „Wake up to a better world‟ Thisparticular brand of hotel encourages social media followers to take the pictures via mobile phoneusing Instagram and share the picture on Twitter using the hashtag #WakeUpPics. The panel ofjudges then goes about choosing the winner based on uniqueness and creativity and prizes aregiven to the winners of the completion. ("Nhhoteles," 2012)Reaction And Thoughts Regarding NH Hotels Marketing TechniquesI believe that this marketing strategy for NH Hotels is very smart because it involves andconnects their followers through Instagram. Given that Instagram is one of the largest socialmedia networks around their content has the opportunity to be viewed by many consumers iftheir competition can reach a large amount of users. Also, it is a creative marketing strategy toincorporate their slogan with the twitter hashtag to begin to make their hotel well known to hotelcoinsurers. However, I believe that NH Hotels should encourage their followers to be involvedwith their hotel and take pictures in regards to their experience while staying at the hotel ratherthan just capturing any particular moment “wake up” moment. I believe this because at the
moment they are just interacting and connecting with followers instead of selling theirconsumers the product.Banking with Social Media AppsThere is a social media application called simple, this app offers bankers the ability to controltheir finances via the mobile web. This new service requires only two tools: a Visa debit card anda smart phone. The app allows bankers to do all their banking needs, such as set up directdeposit, make transfers to other bankers and even offers the consumer the control to set up billpay. The good news for bankers seeking to use this mobile app is that it is free to set up anaccount. In addition, there are no monthly fees such as account maintenance fees and debit cardfees.Auto Dealers using Social Media AppsAuto dealerships are attracting a large amount of customers via Facebook. Liquid motors, atrending car dealership offers potential and existing customers with a new Facebook applicationcalled New Car Research. New car research allows Facebook users the ability to obtaininformation on the newer models of cars that Liquid Motors sells. The application allowsviewers to view photos of each new car model and view the specific features the vehicle has tooffer. Also, consumers can request a quote for their car insurance.Interview with a SoLoMo ProfessionalWhen researching the effects of Social, Local, and Mobile applications on business, numbers arealways important, but it is also important to get a first-hand account of how these applicationsare being used for marketing of local hospitality businesses. When researching the most localrestaurant to interview in Menomonie, Raw Deal is the best choice; it is very famous for beinglocal and offering local foods to the public. Raw Deal was founded in 2006, it began as anorganic locally-grown restaurant/coffee shop. It has branched out to many vegetarian and veganconsumers who have a hard time finding restaurants to eat at. Just as the business started MobileApps began to take off, the business tried to move forward and to serve its tech savvy customeroutlet.Lindsey Baker Discusses Raw Deals Step into Social MediaWhen approached Lindsey Baker, Operations Manager of the Raw Deal, had a lot of great pointsabout how Social Media and Social Local Mobile applications has changed Raw Deals businessand sales, “Facebook can be our biggest advertiser and helps us manage events and figure outwhat kind of deals we should give and what kind of turn out we are going to get. It really helpswhen the college is in session to get people to come to our events.” She also adds, “Seeing howmuch people use and enjoy using phone and phone apps, we came up with our own textingprogram to give out local deals by texting them so they can get a discount on certain days, it is
called our „VIP program‟.” Lindsey pointed out that many times people who were may not havegone out of their way will come in just because of the personal discounts, in their own way RawDeal has created their own kind of SoLoMo application, though much like Foursquare it has youvisit the location to get the discounts. Being prompted on applications such as Foursquare andInstragram, newer popular applications in the SoLoMo segment, Lindsey explains that,“Foursquare is being used but I think people are only using it to become major, some of ourregulars were fighting over that, so I guess it brought them in. Instragram is interesting but wehaven‟t used it as of yet to market to people.” When asked about other social media Lindseyexplained, “There is so much out there. We have tried Twitter and it failed, there was just notenough interest. Mostly we stick to Facebook because so far it has shown to be where ourcustomers are, it helps bring in people from Eau Claire and the outer Minneapolis areas. Weoffer a little local organic spice not every business can give you.” Facebook has helped RawDeal advertise for events and help people get the information they need about its local organicvegan menu options, when asked about advertising outside of SoLoMo Lindsey states, “Wenever felt like television was a worthwhile outlet, we have done a few adds in organic magazinesand stuff like that. But for the most part if it isn‟t spread through internet it is still spread by wordof mouth.The Future for Raw DealLindsey was very interested in the point of view we had about Raw Deal and how it could getmore college age consumers. When asked about how she felt Raw Deal was keeping up withother business around them she stated, “We are trying to keep relevant, we keep having eventsand we keep our local crowd involved whether by using Facebook or word of mouth. We keepcoming up with new ways to be relevant whether it is with our specials, or creating a new dishthat will interest the consumer. You got to have a reason to come and we try to give you one.”Social Local Mobile applications are working hard to promote and help advertise for business.Though Raw Deal has yet to see a day when all their customers come in with Smartphones, itwill be able to change when that day does come. The greatest thing about this business is itswillingness to change with the times and give the consumers what they want.ConclusionGiven the large scale of social media users, social media applications are the best way to reachout to new and existing consumers. Whether marketing through the hotel & hospitality industry,banking, auto dealership or any other industry it is the current and future trend in marketing. Inconclusion, industries using Social, Local and Mobile applications via mobile web are morelikely to gain higher sales and profits
ReferencesNhhoteles. (2012, 10 1). Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/NHHotelesAccor hotels: reserve an. (2012, 10 1). Retrieved fromhttp://www.accorhotels.com/gb/mobile/index.shtmlImpact of mobile marketing.(2012, 08 06). Retrieved fromhttp://www.mediaconverged.com/post/28843267744/impact-of-mobile-marketingAccorhotels.comDoyle, K. (2012, 6 19).Solomo-why it matter. Retrieved fromhttp://newsroom.cisco.com/uk/feature-content?type=webcontent&articleId=985956Allison, S. (2012, 5 1). Luxury goes mobile. Retrieved fromhttp://news.marriott.com/2012/05/luxury-goes-mobile-the-ritz-carlton-hotel-company-llc-debuts-mobile-app-with-personal-tips-from-pres.Baker, L. (2012, 10 01).Interview by E Flottmeyer [Personal Interview].SoLoMo Interview.