Garry Trudeau, in his Doonesbury comic strip, has been poking fun at social networking—primarily Twitter—the last few days. In the strip, journalist Roland Hedley has been exploring micro-blogging. Trudeau, as cunningly as only he can, makes Hedley appear as if he has just a little too much time on his hands. I could not help but laugh reading the strip.
One of my favorite lodging columnists of all time, Howard Feiertag, recently wrote about social networking in his "Sales Clinic" column for Hotel & Motel Management magazine. Feiertag, who is on the faculty of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va., asks his readers if spending time on sites such as LinkedIn, Naymz or other sites is really bringing in new business for hotels. "So far, we have not seen any firm results reflecting sales published on this," Feiertag says.
Feiertag argues that sales staff should concentrate their time on the tried and true phone calling and e-mailing to drum up new business. "Sales staffers and managers should start measuring time productivity on these networking sites versus the time spent developing relationships via phone calls and e-mail messages," he says.
I could not agree more. Communication vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. may be fun but when it comes to establishing meaningful business relationships with substance, face-to-face contact, phone calling and e-mailing matter most. Especially in this economy, if there is no ROI on time invested, it is wasted time. Speaking of which, back to work....