One such innovation is Google+, and Madigan Pratt, who heads up Madigan Pratt & Associates, a digital marketing and advertising company, thinks it's time for hoteliers to take a close look at the social media service -- despite the fact that it's still too early to deploy a branded page at Google+.
One reason Pratt sees Google+ as a powerhouse is that fact that it reached 20 million users in 24 days -- much faster than Twitter and Facebook took to reach that level.
While noting that Google+ has so far, with very limited exceptions like Ford, taken down company sites, it will at some point open the network to them. Pratt believes hoteliers should be prepared to stake their Google+ claim as soon as it becomes available.
In a blog about Google+, Pratt laid out a plan for hotel marketers that included:
1) Start using Google+: He even offered to provide a still-required invitation to the site.
2) Develop a plan: Marketers should have a clear set of objectives and strategies -- in the belief that marketers should have a different strategy for every social media program. He recommends reviewing your Facebook strategy and seeing how it can be adapted to capitalize on what's unique about Google+.
3) Anticipate Google+ Circles: Hotel markets should figure out how they can segment people based on their interests -- then control the content they deliver through Google+. Another option is a Circle for the hotel staff to control message distribution.
4) Hangouts: This is the Google+ video conference tool and Pratt envisions the possibility of video conferencing with a group of past or potential guests -- answering questions about your property.
5) Buzz: This is the Twitter-style micro blogging page on Google+ and Pratt thinks it's worth the time for hotel marketers to familiarize themselves with it.
Another reason to latch on to Google+, according to Pratt, is that it might prove a potent influence on search engines at some point. Finally, Pratt also likes the privacy policies at Google+ -- a contrast to the continuing issues involving Facebook.
With all that, Pratt is not predicting that Google+ will supplant Facebook as the premier social media network. However, with the power of Google behind it -- and the fact that it seems destined to be hugely popular, hoteliers should spend time on anticipating their marketing strategies on the site.
The question then becomes: Is Google+ unique in requiring that hotel marketers pay such close attention? How should they gauge how much time to spend on the next new thing? Those are tough judgment calls but some judgment calls seems a little clearer than others -- and that appears to be the case with Google+.