Posted 9/6/2012 - 9:35:04 PM
America's Best Franchising chairman & CEO Doug Collins (left) and AH&LA EVP of public policy Marlene Colucci
ATLANTA–The opening session of America's Best Franchising, Inc.'s 2012 Owners & General Managers Conference here examined the increasing importance of social media on driving business to its 272 hotels.
Since starting a reputation management department in January, the franchisor has received more than 5,000 customer reviews online on a range of social media and online travel agency sites, America's Best Franchising's chairman & CEO Doug Collins told the 200 attendees gathered at the Emory Conference Center Hotel for the three day event.
Research shows that 85% of customers go online to research their choice of hotel before booking and this includes reading reviews that have been posted by guests. Owners and managers are encouraged to read these reviews and to respond to reviews, whether positive, negative or neutral, Collins explained.
Another highlight of the session was the presentation by American Hotel & Lodging Association EVP for public policy Marlene Colucci, outlining the various issues the Association is currently lobbying Congress about on behalf of the industry. The list ranges from swimming pool lift requirements being sought by the Department of Justice to the high number of hotel audits presently being conducted by the Department of Labor. Colucci urged hotel owners to make their feelings known on these issues to their representatives in Washington and, above all, to vote in the upcoming election.
America's Best Franchising franchises four brands: upscale 3 Palms Hotels & Resorts and limited-service America's Best Inns & Suites, Budgetel Inns & Suites and Country Hearth Inns & Suites.