There really is no industry in the world that carries the hopes and dreams of people like the hospitality sector. No industry is as strong a force for good in the world, or has the power to connect people across age, gender, religion and different cultural backgrounds, like ours.

That influence, though, is under threat. Too few people within hospitality understand the fundamental shift that has taken place in the way people now consume travel and hospitality content. A little under 25 million people interact with us on social media platforms every single day, whether that’s on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Weibo in China. All of these potential customers are looking for guidance on where to travel, where to stay and what to do while they’re there. If you are not showing up on these platforms, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Insightful social media

Obviously, amazing organisations like Deloitte will be able to give you tons of research in their reports. These insights, however, are never complete without real-time responses from people on social media, who are giving you data showing what they care about, where they go and where they want to stay. To that end, at Beautiful Destinations, we conduct research polls on Facebook and Instagram to ask people, ‘have you heard of this place? Would you visit this destination if it has a luxury property there, or if it was an adventure tourist site? Do you care about A, B, C and D.’ The insights you glean from this combined data set will allow your marketing to become truly dynamic.

The second thing we as an industry should be doing is extending our brand into places consumers care about. It’s no longer enough to be a stand-alone hotel or destination. If you want to be relevant in culture today, you have to appear in so many more places. One of the ideas we have developed is testing physical brands and products, developed exclusively on social media, to better craft destination marketing content. A case in point is our partnership with Chanel and one of our hotel brands. We found an enthusiastic market for both in high-net worth, affluent male travellers. With that in mind, we created a series of swim shorts related to the property, before selling them on Instagram. They went viral.

None of this is rocket science. If it helps, a lot of people in my business are between 20 and 25 years old, [and] capable of training themselves. In fact, one of the most effective things you could do right now, to upscale your workforce, is to give them one hour every Friday to surf YouTube and teach themselves what content people are viewing, where and for how long. Influencers are already doing this, building audiences of millions of people who hang on every word that they say and selling products in ways that we can only dream of as marketeers.