Social Media the Focus to Start HITEC

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Randi Zuckerberg, taking a short break from being a new mom, kicked off HITEC in Austin, TX Monday evening with an opening keynote address touting the “extreme opportunity” social media, and in particular, Facebook, provide for the hospitality industry.

“Recommendations and negative information are traveling faster than ever,” said Facebook's director of market development, thanks to the social media site created by her brother, Mark Zuckerberg. “Traveling is one of the most social purchases someone can make.”

She cited several personal examples of how she has used Facebook to keep her friends and family updated on her recent travels. She said some of her followers are now taking trips to the same places and staying in the same hotels based on her pictures and posts.

Zuckerberg said hotels couldn't afford to ignore social media because “every guest has a megaphone now.” She offered several tips on how she thought hotels could take advantage of Facebook, from offering unique and personalized promotions to tracking keywords and the analytics of the people following the property's Facebook page.

Zuckerberg, who gave birth to her son seven weeks ago and is currently on maternity leave, headed home immediately following the speech. HITEC, the largest hotel technology gathering in the industry, continues through Thursday with exhibits and educational sessions.

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