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SoLoMo. Huh?

As I have discussed in virtually all of the blogs I have written, I believe our industry can learn from other industries how to maximize the use of technology to improve NOI.

I attended my first HITEC this year, and OMG! Where to start? There were over 2,500 exhibitors each with a “must have” product and strategy focus. I continue to be excited about what I am learning from successful retailers. So how can I leverage that learning into an improved NOI?

Mobile technology: Local Access to your potential customer

“‘Hyperlocal search’ may be dying, but the phenomenon is evolving and becoming more mobile,” says Greg Sterling, senior analyst with San Francisco-based consultancy Opus Research. “SoLoMo is a more mobile-centric version of the same concept with greater local precision: It’s about getting nearby information on demand, wherever you may be.”

“If you ever had any doubt about whether you needed to worry about your mobile presence, chew on this: There are more people on this planet who own a cell phone than people who own a toothbrush. And not by a small margin either; 1.1 billion more people own a cell phone,” says John Elston, principal/founder of YoDog Marketing. “With 17% of the global population surfing the web via their mobile device, not having a mobile-optimized site isn’t even an option! People traveling and on the go in a new area are looking to make a decision fast and searching via their mobile device for restaurants, accommodations and activities. So if you’re in the travel industry, your mobile presence is imperative! Not to mention the conversion — 61% of people call the business after doing a local mobile search.”

Service companies ranging from Groupon, Yelp and Foursquare to retailers such as Starbucks have embraced SoLoMo (social, local and mobile) and geo-location tactics, primarily in the form of apps. For example, a shopper craving a cup of Starbucks coffee can search for the store closest to his location.

Here is just one digital marketing resolution your hotel company should consider adopting in 2013. In our test hotels where we adopted this strategy, RevPAR has improved 21% in markets with declining RevPAR, and NOI has improved 17%.

I will bring SoLoMo marketing initiatives to the forefront of my hotel digital marketing plan, enabling me to reach more customers.

The success of location-based social media such as Foursquare has shown us that rewards and recommendations are only the beginning. Hoteliers need to consider how to best utilize SoLoMo to engage their customers and generate incremental revenues. When you consider building your NOI, think about how much revenue potential there is in your “local” customer when added to your Internet based “guest room” consumer. Where will your SoLoMo puck be in 2013? I would love to hear from you.

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