A modern online presence | episode 92 min read
People from Las Vegas are usually easy to spot as they wear a big smile on their faces. Best example of this at FITUR was Larry Friedman, the interim director for the Nevada Commission On Tourism.
[youtube width=”599″ height=”361″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8c2-CY59Z8[/youtube]
It’s funny how the best examples for the small hoteliers come directly from the biggest guys in the industry. I mean, you can’t get much bigger than Vegas?!
The first thing that Larry points out is that most hotels had their budget reduced. What they found through the internet was the ability to reach more people with less money. Better than that, the web is a place where you can measure your reach so you really know what works and what doesn’t.
Larry gives a funny example about the mysterious ways of the web; over 25 years ago. Life magazine considered highway 55 as the loneliest road in the US. The State picked on that and developed a campaign where they created a survival kit with all the info needed to get to Las Vegas (http://travelnevada.com/documents/guides/survival_guide.pdf). Nowadays, 25% of Highway 55 travelers are Europeans that are discovering the survival kit on the internet. This is due partly because smaller independent properties are acquiring a strong online presence and promote the kit.
As far as the biggest challenge for this year, what Larry points out is really one of the major problems for the smaller independent hoteliers: to keep up with all the changes and to know how to maximize social media for their hotels. TripAdvisor is a challenge, Facebook is a challenge, Twitter is a challenge. The good news is once they manage to find their balance and leverage these tools and social media for their hotels, they can start filling those rooms. We totally agree!
Hope to see you soon Larry, but next time, let’s do this in Las Vegas!