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Elaine Nettleton Elaine Nettleton

Q & A with Elaine Nettleton, Area Public Relations, Digital Communication and Social Media Manager, The Rezidor Hotel Group

TRAVELLERS ARE INCREASINGLY RELYING ON ONLINE REVIEWS AND TIPS AND ELAINE NETTLETON, AREA PUBLIC RELATIONS, DIGITAL COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL

MEDIA MANAGER, THE REZIDOR HOTEL GROUP, ENSURES THE COMPANY MAKES THE MOST OF THESE NEW AGE CHANNELS.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How is social media transforming the ways we communicate and engage with others?

ELAINE NETTLETON: Social media and online communication are continuously evolving and changing, providing consumers around the world a plethora of meaningful ways to engage with people, brands and events that matter to them.

Today, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How does the group utilise social media?

ELAINE NETTLETON: Social media is becoming an increasingly important way for guests to find out information about our hotels.

More than ever before, consumers are looking up brands online before making a purchase, potential guests are reading reviews from peers and experts on hotels and brands, and guests are writing reviews and sharing moments of their stays on various social media networks.

As such, it is crucial we utilise and have a strong presence on the relevant social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and that we build strong and lasting relationships with bloggers and online influencers.

At Rezidor, we are making a significant push to improve our digital and social media capabilities and presence to enable us to tell our story and engage online.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How can a hotelier make the most of social media and effectively manage negative comments?

ELAINE NETTLETON: In the hospitality industry, we are blessed with the fact that we have a rich resource of material on hand that is perfect for social media.

From the people behind the scenes of the hotel and the events we host, to the dishes that our chefs produce – there are many opportunities for us to share what we do in an intimate way that helps us connect with our fans.

On the other hand, digital media has significantly influenced the pace at which crises evolve, and so, digital crisis preparedness is paramount to protecting a company’s reputation and its ability to compete in the marketplace.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How will social media trends change in the near future?

ELAINE NETTLETON: The social media world of the current year will look a lot like that of 2015, but with a greater acceleration in some areas.

User-generated content is not a new phenomenon, but in 2017 it will take on an even greater significance as organisations adapt their strategies to include a lot more curated content from key influencers and interesting posts.

In 2015, we saw the launch of live streaming tools such as Periscope and Facebook’s Livestream, and experts predict that these tools will form the central part of social media campaigns this year as the appetite for visual content grows. Content on social media that contains video is proven to be more engaging, but what will be key this year is personalisation of these videos. Consumers want a real insight into brands and those who lead organisations.

We will see the continued rise of visually dominated platforms such as YouTube, but we will also see a greater number of videos on Facebook.