Today travelers have more places to stay than ever before. With the rise of AirBnb and other startups, hotels need to be more clever than previous era’s to bring guests into their rooms. No longer is it feasible for many hotels to rely on traditional advertising methods to keep occupancy rates high. We spoke with Debbie Miller, founder and President of Social Hospitality, to find out how the industry uses data, AI, and social avenues to edge out competition.

MS: How did you get your start in the field, and how did you get here?

Miller: I entered the hospitality industry in 2007 when I joined a destination marketing organization. I then began Social Hospitality as a blog in 2011, and it evolved into a side business while I worked at a hospitality-focused marketing firm for six years. Last year, I left that company to focus on Social Hospitality full-time.

MS: Can you describe what Social Hospitality is all about?

Miller: Our organization offers digital marketing services tailored to clients, with the goals of helping passionate people and businesses develop their brand identities, create engaging content, and build their social media presence.

MS: What emerging trends have you witnessed recently?

Miller: I am fascinated by the evolution of technology and Artificial Intelligence, and I enjoy watching how hotels integrate AI and how consumers respond to progressive hotels and technologies. Another trend I recognize is that consumers continue to become more involved in their consumption and sharing of user-generated content, especially in the travel space.

MS: What is your organization doing to keep pace with these trends?

Miller: In response to these evolving needs, Social Hospitality continually recreates our social strategies toward alignment with consumer expectations.

MS: What do you see on the horizon for your industry?

Miller: We keep in mind that there is an increased reliance on both new technologies like AI as well as increased relationships between brands and consumers. Travelers are now much more intimately experiencing brands when they travel, so the industry, ourselves included, must remain vigilant about evolving and accommodating consumer expectations.