Millennials, perhaps more than any generation before, are demanding an authentic, original and social media friendly environment on their trips.
When talking to hoteliers around the globe, they all acknowledge how important social media has become and how it will continue to grow in significance.
Another trend is that of online bragging on communities such as Facebook, Twitter or FourSquare.
People are essentially showing off to their "friends" where they are, what they are doing, eating, drinking, looking at, etc...
Yes, social media is turning our world into one big status competition for the collector-minded individual (myself included).
Image platforms such as Pinterest allow you to become a creative persona, build online poster boards of the most beautiful and original imagery.
Without having to ever leave your sofa, you can redesign your home (in your mind), or plan your dream vacation. It's like a virtual simulation exercise, giving you the sense of being a fully fledged artist.
We can draw a very simple conclusion: to be successful in online marketing and especially on social media, your product needs to be sharable.
Sharable means it needs to be all or many of the following: modern, funky, cool, authentic, traditional, basic, real, luxury, or just simply different.
Your hotel needs to be unique in ambiance, style, design, guest service, technology, environmental awareness, social responsibility, and a very long list of others.
You also need to make a difference to the guest in terms of experience. You need to have a story worth sharing. Your property needs to be worth taking images of which are then posted on the web and seen by others (to be shared again and again and again).
Hotels need to play more in this change of consumer behavior. We see too many hoteliers falling for the usual approach of ad-buying, expand your Facebook fan base.
This game is actually not about (paid for) quantity, but quality which leads organically to increased reach.
Over the last year we have been working together with some amazingly creative hotel companies - their concepts all geared around the guest experience, creating a one of a kind vibe.
Hotels should consider this approach more.
The product almost entices the user (aka hotel guests) to take their own beautiful pictures (because let's face it, not many will be posting your picture perfect images on FaceBook).
The design and style of some of these hotels is so captivating that bloggers passionate about design are writing posts about it, and images get shared and re-shared on Pinterest boards.
It's not just about the visuals - guest service should be original, tempting people to write about their experiences on Twitter and Facebook.
The lesson here is that they did not need to push to get fans, likes or shares. The product provided the natural opportunity for consumers to share and show off.
Some hotels are natural spaces for this kind of activity, such as the Ibiza Rocks Hotel.
It looked at the market, and invented a new concept, one which plays into the hands (literally!) of the social media-hungry punter.
Others have looked at their design, using innovative concepts to get them exposure on relevant blogs or magazines (such as Wallpaper). Targeting a core, social media-led market is key, whom by its nature is shoot, selfie and share minded.
Need I say more?
Let's put the days of the cookie-cutter, copy and paste, dime in a dozen, standard looking hotel rooms and lobbies behind us.
There is nothing is worse than waking up in a hotel room and not knowing in which city you are, because the room looks just like all the
Hotels should cater to this graving of sharing of consumers. We need to provide a hotel experience that blows people away.
It is time to give the Selfie Shooting Sheriffs what they want...
NB:Selfie image via Shutterstock, Selfie spot photo taken at the Nordic Choice.
NB2: More info on Xotels.