Time To Start Considering Your Google+ Strategy

It's overwhelming for the average hotel manager, even the most tech savvy, to keep track of the latest technology, and more so, to do something about it. But sometimes an innovation emerges that calls out for action because of its potential power -- if not immediately, then soon.

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+.

3 comments about "Time To Start Considering Your Google+ Strategy".
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  1. Brian Hayashi from ConnectMe 360, September 12, 2011 at 6:01 p.m.

    Forget all of the shiny bells and have a unique relationship with their guests that is a perfect fit for Google +. More than almost any other business, the profitability of a hotel (RevPAR) comes from how well it implements revenue management. And what is the essence of revenue management? The ability to sell the same product at different times to different audiences in order to maximize asset utilization.

    Google +, more than any other form of media (social or otherwise), enables the kind of one-to-many relationships that are at the heart of RM. Consider Hilton and its new Huanying initiative. Google + enables hotels to publish content specifically tailored for the needs of Chinese audiences that are distinct from anything that gets released to English speaking audiences. As a hotel gains more confidence in its ability to attract that Chinese audience, it can start creating niche Chinese channels for tour groups, meeting planners, families whose children are attending American colleges, etc.

    Once you start down that path, then contact your existing partners and share your vision. If you're trying to attract Chinese tourists, why not publish menus of local restaurants in Chinese to your Google + account?

    Many hotels have daily meetings where they discuss where their guests are coming from. I suggest that hotels spend just five minutes a day, not talking about Google + as a technology, but talking about guests they'd like to see visit more often. If your management is able to agree on that detail, it will be easier to see how Google + helps your property connect with that specific segment.

  2. Gary Dauphin from Oak Alley Plantation, September 14, 2011 at 10 a.m.

    Most fail to realize one very key point at this time: Google does not officially yet support businesses, non-profits, organizations, or other loyalty-focused marketing entities AT THIS TIME. Currently, the agreement only allows for individuals.

    You risk having your business site taken down if you startup a page as of today.

    This should have been clearly stated in the article.

  3. Gary Dauphin from Oak Alley Plantation, September 14, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.

    Apologies. After a thorough re-read, the author does state "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."

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