GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, will go into effect in the European Union on May 25th.
Silly, Leena! Rancho Cordova's hotels aren't in the European Union! This is true!
However, this regulation is about the personal data of citizens within the European Union not their hotels. Do you have guests from the UK (remember, #Brexit is still a process not past event), Germany, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Netherlands, etc? Are you marketing to these countries on social or other digital platforms? Then this applies to you as it will be "the first global data protection law that impacts the entire hospitality sector," (Ward, Social Hospitality). Well, GDPR's goal is to protect the personal data of its citizens from collection and management to storage.
Review these systems:
(Ward, Social Hospitality)
Keep in mind, this includes data from apps and location based marketing. Does corporate handle that? Great! Does your social coordinator use targeted audiences in their ads based on location? They should and GDPR still applies if the information collected includes EU citizens (Johnson, ADWEEK, 2018).
Of course your sales team doesn't want to stop perusing the EU. RCTT doesn't either. Let's use this time to make sure our processes, terms and conditions, marketing efforts and third party vendors are compliant. None of us want to deal with fines up to $20 mil (lottery winnings: yes; fines: no, thank you).
I can't believe it's almost May! Where has the year trended??? So, let's discuss. 2018 trends will still largely focus on personalizing your brand for your guests. Chatbots are no longer a thing of the future. They arrived and they are absolutely the new normal. Largely, this is due to the high engagement guests have with brands, especially travel brands. One way to address this, without having to buy a bot, is to reset your hotel page's Facebook Messenger settings. You can set away messages, automatic replies and even limited FAQ responses. Additionally, given the recently announced changes in Instagram's API, be sure set your property's IG to 'business settings.' Let me know if you have any questions on how to do this.
One of the most direct methods to communicate your brand this year is Instagram. Stories on Instagram are becoming more popular and effective methods to message a lot of information to your guests (former, current and future). Not sure where to start? Follow these "10 Commandments" from our partners at Chute. However, UGC (user generated content) can feel like a lot of work, especially given the current sensitivity to content and data rights. Therefore, know the relevant policies about reposting. I'm happy to help!
An easy way to engage your guests with your Instagram? Give them a space and a prop! You don't need a grand vista to get your guests engaged with your #s or Instagram. Take, for example, the photo below. It was taken in 2015 Miami. My friend and I were so excited to broadcast our photo, we didn't even find a better backdrop. If I recall correctly, the hotel had placed this prop in a corner in the lobby (suggesting to just stay there for the photo). We immediately posted this photo, tagged the hotel and used the caption "Best hotel EVER *praise hands emoji x3*"
Provide your guests with some direction. In the era of personalization, guests expect their brands to provide more than a clean room and bath. They expect engagement; even beyond the front desk.
While AirBnB shifts its focus to experiences and all platforms deal with new data rights trends, Trip Advisor has decided to cannonball into the vacation rental business. Earlier this year, they announced that vacation rentals will be included in their listings next to hotels. While TA insists that their algorithm will remain focused on "the quality, quantity, and recency of reviews... they (will) introduce a new ranking factor: the consistency of each business’s performance over time," (Wojeck, Travel Media Group, 2018). Yet the sky is by no means falling. Make sure your property's information on Trip Advisor (including photos) are up to date. Then you can do what you do best: provide consistent and outstanding service to your guests.
Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism
2729 Prospect Park Dr. #117, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670