I've always been a fan of the word "exploit." Others will say it is negative, but in my lexicon it is a very positive word. Sort of like synergy. And similar in a sense.
Synergy takes the best attributes of two items or services, combines them to make something even more powerful. Another name, actually, for heterosis -- an old term from plant and animal agriculture.
But I digress ....
Exploiting a problem is coming up with a solution that no one has thought of. Exploiting new technology is forward thinking, progress (no, this isn't political) in the application of new tools to solve problems. Exploiting new ideas? It simply means you got there first.
So the hotel industry recently has latched onto social media in a BIG way. So much so, in fact, that a number of chains are not using their websites so much to push lodging specials. Oh sure, they still promote their many locations regionally, nationally or globally, using it as a central communications portal.
But ... the real action is now found on Facebook and Twitter. Hotels are pushing special deals, promotions, packages with airfare and auto rental, and "limited-window-of-opportunity-to-book" getaways via these tools. Think auto rental, when you book over the phone or online and a CSR or online window informs you, "hey, because you are booking now, you get a free upgrade to a larger car!" Specials just come and go depending on the time.
Hospitality groups are using social media to offer various incentives -- offers that constantly change and come and go -- to build excitement among their customers, with the goal being to entice repeat lodging stays.
For the more technologically savvy, often higher-end hotel chains, "Liking" one of their Facebook sites may get you entered into special drawings for free night's lodging, or t-shirts, or discounts. "Share" or "Retweet" a site or offer on Facebook or Twitter and you may get more. Viral marketing on a global scale.
Business Insider notes that a number of forward-looking hotel groups are linking their intimate knowledge of what existing customers like with bleeding-edge tech. Says one such operator, "Web strategy is only a part of what makes the company industry leaders. First and foremost, we have a keen understanding of what our customers like because we focus on so many different aspects and touch points on service. We firmly believe that there's nothing easier than to keep an existing customer relationship than building a new one."
Lessons many businesses can use. As well as investors and managers of, say, in multifamily projects. In fact, savvy multi-unit housing operators are using Twitter and Facebook to promote community events, help with resident retention, promote special events -- all of which encourage a sense of excitement and opportunity.
For operators of hotels and apartment communities, that spells repeat visits, and lease renewals, respectively.