One need only open a browser and view a hotel or meetings related news portal to discover how prevalent social media has become and how important it is to the meetings industry. Most everyone is familiar with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, yet many hoteliers have yet to engage beyond those behemoths to reveal the extent to which meeting and event planners have embraced the social media phenomenon.

Community sites such as Engage365.org, Eventpeeps.com, i-Meet.com, and Plancast.com have robust discussions concerning many aspects of the meetings industry, with chief among them being how to use social media and new technologies to create greater value for sponsors and exhibitors, and also to have a better experience for the attendees.

Hotels, on the other hand, are busy pushing out discounts and trivial messages that completely ignore the meeting and event planner. Clear and present opportunities to demonstrate value, provide a resource, and build new relationships are being missed. Here are five suggestions on how to get more involved in these discussions.

  1. Create a profile and begin to monitor conversations
  2. Filter the conversations to subjects that are either close to your property or you have a particular expertise
  3. Identify and qualify key influencers (there are some who are merely trying to get a job)
  4. Follow their discussions and contribute where appropriate and appropriately; don’t attempt to sell your property. Provide solutions first. Remember, you don’t ask for marriage on the first date!
  5. After a relationship is established gently intertwine messages about your property but still resist the urge to sell. A sample message at this stage may be, “I’d just like to announce we hired a new catering manager who has over 15 years experience and is very knowledgeable in working with meeting planners to deliver a great event on a budget.”

The conversations are happening all around you. Get involved, listen, and you will so reap the rewards with increased bookings for meetings.

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