ROI or Return On Interactions: Knowing Your Guests Using Social Media for Hotel F&B Operations


In a recent email, (August 27, 2012) Paul Cerrato examined 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013. He stated, look for growth in mobile health, telemedicine, clinical analytics, and personal health record. It is interesting to note that during our “great recession,” that healthcare and hotels/hospitality have continued solid gains in employment and profitability (two key drivers of our economy). In fact hotels and healthcare are becoming attractive partners as they hook up with Hotels Bridging Healthcare, we coined and use the term H2H. Our recent June 2012 conference in Switzerland offered solutions for these H2H “marriages” for the future, and provide opportunities for hotel F&B operations as part of H2H. Read more here on the H2H and Switzerland Model.

So let’s look more closely to healthcare and how some of these technology practices can bridge and advance hotels and hospitality (H2H). In Paul Cerrito’s article he discusses 11 Super Mobile Medical Apps Mobile Health. This segment of the industry offers the most promise. It’s no exaggeration to describe consumers’ and physicians’ embrace of mobile health apps, smartphones, and tablets as transformational.

Docs are in love with their iPads, and for good reason. When IT teams were asked “Which mobile computing devices are doctors in your organization using for medical purposes” in InformationWeek Healthcare’s 2012 Priorities Survey, 66% cited iPads or other tablets, up from 45% just a year earlier. This love affair continues to develop because tablets give them access to EHR data, drug reference materials, and a host of valuable data that in the past was only available in the office or hospital (Cerrato, 2012). Applying to hotels, imagine how a similar Customer Relationship Management – CRM Device throughout the hotel, resort and F&B areas to recognize guests, their wants and desires, previous stays at the property, F&B preferences, etc. and provide “instant concierge” services on the spot—anytime anywhere on or off the hotel property (think shuttle services from airports, valet, etc.). A great example for this use of Tablets (iPads in this case) is the new Andaz Hyatt Hotel concept.

Hospitals are digitizing personal health records. They are staying connected or “sticky” to their patients using social networking. These digital tools can link personal health records to electronic health records. The Hotel and Hospitality (H2H) industry is starting to see a return on this Customer Relationship Management. I call it ROI or Return On Interactions (with guests) through social networking.

Like the healthcare examples above, the key is knowing who your (best) guests are using a CRM data base, deploying it using social media – which is usually the external or “offsite” property connectivity to guests, but also gathering frequent information as you interact with the guest via the web’s social media technologies including Twitter, Face Book, etc. The key is merging this social networking “conversation” with your existing CRM data base and THEN, deploying this information at the point of service to really communicate effectively in “real time” when the guest arrives (and/or Pre- and/or post arrival).

These strategies of building guest “records,” consistent and sustained over time, like the smart IT healthcare operations above are doing now, can give you the best ROI- Return ON Interactions for your hotel and F&B operations and increase profitability.

Dr. Fred DeMicco, Dr. Food Tech, Professor, the University of Delaware College of Business & Economics. Correspond to: