Today I proud to present a special preview here of TalkHotels – A Professional Social Network For Hoteliers.
Here is a sneak peak of What Is TalkHotels?
I did an interview with Anand Patel, founder of TalkHotels. And here we focus on the Social Touch Points that will be provided;
- Shop – Find The Product and Services you need
- Meet – Engage with other Hoteliers
- Learn – Unlock a World of Knowlegde
- Give – Reduce your Carbon Footprint
Q: TalkHotels is one of the most exciting Hotel projects I have seen. Can you give us a brief description of TalkHotels vision?
I want to equip each hotelier regardless of where they’re from, how much experience they have, or how many hotels they own/operate with reliable, unbiased, and organized information — all in the name of saving time and money. I want to create an open forum where hoteliers can openly exchange ideas and educate each other on a shifting hospitality landscape. Last but not least, I want to inspire people in the industry to do more for the environment.
Q: Who would you say is the primary market segment for TalkHotels?
From the outset, I recognized that TalkHotels may not be for everyone. I’m ok with that. I think the early adopters will be ‘the little guys’, the people that run hotels with a smaller staff, fewer resources, and less access than the big players in the industry. Obviously, if you own and operate many hotels or if you’ve been in the business for a long time, you have experience to dip into, systems in place, and access to people and resources your common hotelier doesn’t. TalkHotels will be a tool that helps level the playing field when it comes to accessing reliable information, networking, and sharing knowledge.
Q: Some of the more exciting aspects of your service it that you look to bring onboard vendors, and shopping page availabilities. Tell us a little about some of the functions in this social hospitality market place.
It’s really a byproduct of this new social marketing arena: companies can push any message they want through their own channels, but consumers still rely heavily on people they know when they make purchasing decisions. With hoteliers, it’s no different. Why should they run endless (and often fruitless) online searches, flip through thick local business listings, and read one standardized sales pitch after another? Instead, TalkHotels will provide hoteliers with a dynamic library of vendors, distributors, and local service providers — all reviewed by their peers so they’ll know who delivers and who doesn’t.
Q: For the learning module will we see something similar to LinkedIn Answers, or will this be a module that offers specific Hotel training, courses or certification programs?
The goal with the Learn section of TalkHotels is to provide reliable, accessible, and organized information in real time. Obviously, there are still dozens of industry publications, but the content they circulate today is still pretty static. They talk ‘at’ their readers instead of talking ‘with’ them, which makes you a dinosaur in today’s social arena. Now, being truly social is critical to the growth of your business, especially if you’re a smaller company. With TalkHotels/Learn, my goal was to provide an online forum where hoteliers can actually discuss issues, share ideas, and learn from each other’s experiences versus reading a publication and only getting one side of any story. To me, the best information comes directly from your peers; they’re in the business, they know what you go through and the magnitude of the decisions you make on a daily basis. They know what to look for and how to look for it. If that’s something they can share on TalkHotels, and in return get valuable information for themselves, everyone wins. It’s truly decentralized, unbiased information.
Q: One of the most inspiring aspects that TalkHotels brings on is to introduce carbon footprints for some worthy causes. Tell us a little bit about the philosophy behind this idea. Will Hotels be able to submit causes they support?
At this point, no, hotels will not be able to share causes they support but, it is something we considered in the past. For the initial version of TalkHotels, we felt that it was better to have a central cause that all hotels can relate to: the impact their business has on the environment. To me, giving back shouldn’t be a PR stunt; it should actually be woven into the fabric of any business as it is with TalkHotels. That’s why we’ll be donating a percentage each month to help offset the impact hotels have on the environment. That’s the right thing to do and hopefully, people will support us for it and find inspiration from it as well.
Q: Are there plans for an application for smart phones and tablets?
Absolutely. The next step will be to create a series of apps that will help key decision-makers at any hotel access information on the go. Most good decisions are made when you let emotions die down, process the information, and consider your alternatives, but the truth is that when situations arise at your hotel, you often have to make decisions on the fly. Our apps will give you the information you need — eventually, in video format too — so you can get back to what’s important: running your hotel.
Q: Do you see TalkHotels as a platform that will provide the opportunity for Hotel Project collaborations or Joint Venture options?
I definitely see this being a possibility in the future. My first goal is to populate the network with quality individuals, topics, conversations, vendors, and information. Once we gain some traction there, we’ll really be able to open up a whole new level of functionalities, including online collaboration tools. Perhaps that’s one area where we can appeal to the larger hotel groups: providing an affordable, central solution for collaboration. Larger hotel groups have long chains of communication with many people involved. A tool to help consolidate and organize their day-to-day communication is certainly a remote possibility.
Q: Many Social Media savvy business travelers continuously are looking for new ways to connect with others while they are staying at any given Hotel, or get in touch with the Hotels various service options. How will this come into play with TalkHotels?
To be honest, at this time I haven’t given much thought to how (or even, if) TalkHotels will interact with guests. I’m sure after we gain some traction in the industry, opportunities will be unveiled, but I really want to keep TalkHotels as a niche product: a network for the people that operate hotels. In a way, that’s indirect interaction with guests anyway because I’d like to think information found on TalkHotels can provide guests with a better travel experience. If every hotel in the world somehow uses TalkHotels to improve their operations, I believe guests benefit more than anyone else.
Q: And now the question that many Hotel Friends will be asking, when are you planning to launch? And how do they sign up?
We’ll be launching our beta version on April 25th, and initially, it will be an invitation-only network. Anyone can request an invite by visiting www.talkhotels.com.
Anand Patel, founder of TalkHotels
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