Consumer Generated Media and Hotel Item/Services Questions


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• Hospitality companies can gain feedback about their operations through blogs, discussion boards, hotel review sites, social networks, etc. These are an example of what type of media?

This type of media is called Consumer Generated Media (CGM). Today’s customers are looking online for feedback on hospitality establishments. “Approximately 300 million public comments are made online worldwide every day” (32). Customers read previous guest experiences posted on the web to choose which hospitality establishment to visit. Negative online reviews spread faster than positive ones. Reputation software can monitor the online conversations and minimize the impact and visibility of negative search results.

Consumer generated Media is the Word-of-Mouth in the Age of the Web-Fortified Consumer. CGM describes a variety of new sources of online information that are created, initiated, circulated and used by consumers’ intent on educating each other about products, brands, services, personalities and issues. Online word of mouth is nonetheless owned and controlled by consumers, and it often carries far higher credibility and trust than traditional media. CGM is also measurable. Online word of mouth leaves a “digital trail,” allowing its content to be located, categorized, analyzed for basic data and trends, emotion, and experience. CGM provides unclouded, real-life entry into the minds of consumers, more than traditional types of market research.

Jump To The Beat – Hotelsbycity.net

Back in 2009, when user-generated social media campaigns were first getting popular, HotelsByCity.net launched an online campaign encouraging users to submit photos of themselves jumping on hotel beds was an instant internet hit and even got picked up by mainstream media.
The premise was simple – go to a hotel; have someone take your picture as you jump mid-air onto the bed; post it to the website titled BedJump. (http://goo.gl/uINvTM)

As the example above demonstrates, the hospitality industry is already using the CGM to market their product and establish an interactive relationship with their customers. The way of advertising and marketing of business and brands has changed significantly. Using CGM as one platform for advertising can proof to be a low cost method of sharing your business. The content though needs to be creative and worthy for customers to recommend and share with their friends. This UK website http://goo.gl/YEHucQ lists the SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS: HALL OF FAME of 2010.


• What system, which evaluates one or more biological traits, can be used in conjunction with a time and attendance system to eliminate buddy punching and unauthorized early-in and late-out time punches?

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This system is called the Biometric system. Biological traits, the unique characteristics of a person, are captured through biometric scanners, converted into digital format and then stored in databases. To verify a person’s identity a new image is captured and compared with the digital format in the database. Hospitality companies use biometric time clocks to punch in and out, this way buddy punching and early or late-out punches are eliminated.

Watch the example of a biometric time clock that also has multi-lingual functionality: http://goo.gl/j3CQgE Fingerprint and face readers are used to authenticate employees at hotels and to control access to restricted areas. The Hilton hotel in Houston uses facial recognition software to locate missing suitcases.
In May of 2012, an article on the HotelierMiddleEast.com reports that CADD Emirates out of the United Arab Emirates has implemented a hotel patron biometrics identification system that is replacing electronic key cards. Guest will be able to access their hotel room by placing their finger on a device attached to the room door. This will be implemented first for exclusive club members of the hotel. The system will store guest preferences across the globe with the information saved against their finger prints.
http://goo.gl/QmkdWc
At the airport, biometric identification is standard now. An international traveler, going through passport control, has his/her fingerprints, iris and facial features scanned to compare against the images in the database and in the passport. The link shows a video about a biometric security program developed by SITA. http://goo.gl/3Chfl

In the near future, the hospitality industry, the border security, and the law enforcement and more could combine their biometric information in their databases to help locate person of interests, as well as criminals around the globe. Actually an assuring as well as scary thought and it reminds me of a quote in the book 1984 by George Orwell: “Big brother is watching you.”


• What type of non-impact printer, which uses heat to burn dots, is commonly used by restaurants for credit card processing and for producing customer receipts and food orders?

The non-impact printer used to produce customer receipts and to process credit cards is called a thermal printer. Heated styluses burn dots into specially treated paper.

Thermal printers are a fast, cheap, reliable way to create mini paper documents. They work by selectively heating up parts of thermo-chromic paper. This paper is a special fine paper that is coated with a chemical that changes color when exposed to heat. The parts that are warmed up turn black, the rest stay white. Thermal printers do not need ink, they are cheap to run, they are fast, quiet, and reliable and it is easy to replace the paper. Point of Sale thermal printers are on the market with SMS/GPRS communication for customers to order their food online or send SMS from their mobile device. The restaurant acknowledges the order and specifies delivery time. This is the perfect printer to use for all take–out or delivery order restaurants. To use a thermal printer in the kitchen can present a problem, since the temperature in the kitchen surrounding the thermal printer could prevent it from working effectively. A dot matrix printer is a more reliable printer for food orders in the kitchen. I found an article about a fun way of using thermal printers on the web: “Your Twitter Feed as Newspaper”. Here is the link http://goo.gl/jRLlQl

Thermal printers could be used at the front desk or concierge desk of a hotel to print messages for hotel guests, print tickets for performances, coupons and promotions for hotel restaurants and more. In the back of the house, work orders for repairs in hotel rooms could be sent by email to the correct maintenance area, then printed and distributed.




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