Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Social Networking and Its ROI

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....

1 comment:

Ben Johnson said...

Glenn, I would have to agree that social networking/marketing is still in the very early stages from a sales angle. I've recently started a test project for my resort using Facebook and I have to say the positive side (from a group perspective) has been the ability to target very specific groups of Planners from my territory.

As I'm sure you know, the most common mistake is corporations (and Sales Managers) thinking they can setup a page and just start blasting special rates and offers. Obviously not the best use of time...

It has been my experience that a combination of Facebook contacts, phone call follow ups, and email correspondence is working very well. There seems to be a change in judgment from Planners on social sites that allows the Sales Manager to easily "befriend" and in turn the barrier to entry on that relationship is much easier.

Best of luck to you all!

Ben Johnson, Area Sales Manager
LXR Luxury Resorts | BJohnson@LuxuryResorts.com