Be social and enter the SoHos

Social media marketing has become a line item on hotel marketing budgets worldwide. There is no ignoring it today and now there is little remaining doubt about the important role it plays in any hotel’s marketing mix.

Even at the hotel investment conferences I attend, social media panels are among those best attended as everyone is looking for better understanding, an edge, new approaches or simple reassurances that their efforts are not wasted.

Arguments continue as to whether social media should focus directly driving revenue, or whether it is best left as an engagement tool, an e-concierge, if you will, and as a brand builder. If revenue can be directly attributed to social media efforts – all the better.

I am writing about social media today because yesterday marked the launch of HOTELS Magazine’s 3rd annual Social Hotel Awards. Here is a link to the entry form.

In its inaugural year we had about 125 entries across multiple categories, ranging from best Facebook page and promotion to best use of video and best reputation management program. We give out awards in each category for both brands and individual properties, including branded properties.

Last year we generated some 250-plus entries from around the world and this year I expect the program to grow again as more sophisticated social media programs emerge.

So, I encourage you and your teams to enter this year’s program judged by industry leaders from the likes of Google and Facebook. Compete, get recognized, brag about your programs and be featured in the October issue of HOTELS Magazine. It’s the social thing to do.