I just did a presentation for an organization that house a couple of truly fantastic hotels and restaurants in Norway. I was talking about new media, marketing opportunities and the future traveler. The fact that more people in general can reach out with their message can be a problem if you have a bad product or just a bad day. Before you know it horrible images and videos of your establishment is all over the internet.
But if you have a great product the amount of happy customers will outnumber the angry ones. I keep quoting Hugh MacLeod in my presentations and I still agree with this:
“The best way to control the conversation is by improving the conversation.”
And if you run remarkable hotels or restaurants like this group there is a great chance that a lot of people already want to help you improve the conversation. Here’s the result for a search on Flickr for one of the hotels in the organization. Pretty nice. A problem might be that most of the satisfied customers don’t publish their images and thoughts. The angry ones does.
That’s the reason you need to encourage people to give their opinions. Let them publish their images, their videos and thoughts. If you have a great product this shouldn’t be scary. If this sounds scary you need to improve your product.
But you want to find the stuff they’re publishing, so why don’t do like most technology conferences these days? Define a tag for your business? The next time I enter a hotel room I want to read on the TV: “Welcome Mr. Solheim, the official tag for this hotel is…”
Like “FOWA07″ was announced one of the the official tags for Future of Web apps 07. Like “DLD08″ was the tag for this years DLD conference in Münich. Those keywords make it easy for me to find images from DLD08 on Flickr and videos from DLD08 on youtube.
Put it in the information in the room or on the menu in your restaurant. On your web page. On your business cards. That’s utterly cheap and potentially very powerful marketing.
And by the way. That beautiful image at the top of this post is from one of the hotels in the organization. You find the rest of the images I snapped while staying at Kviknes in Balestrand last autumn over here.