HD Talks

Designing for the Social Media Generation

Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Trends, Web/Tech

In our December issue (out soon!), I wrote about social media’s affect on customer relations in hotels. I’ll be the first to admit that social media is a heavily covered topic, especially in this industry, but there’s a simple explanation for that: It’s always evolving. Who knew how important Twitter would be to customer relations a few years back? Or how powerful Instagram could be in evoking a sense of place with just a simple photo and the right filter? Now, we can all make our own time lapse videos.

Initially, I was reluctant to ask my sources about how design plays a part on social media strategy. They do seem, on first appearance, unrelated, but Benji Greenberg, CEO and founder of BCV, a social media management and strategy company for the industry, told me that “design in hotels today is one of the main aspects you can share on social media to break through the noise.”

Indeed, the two practically go hand-in-hand—and we can probably thank Millennials for that, as they are often the ones posting those hotel photos online, and in doing so, helping to dictate trends.

Thoughtful design details “are being shared on social,” notes Whitney Smith, social media manager for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. The brand’s Goodland Hotel in Santa Barbara, California features a design element that seemed like a small detail—dresser knobs that double as bottle openers—that has taken on a life of its own. They have become of the most shared items. “We take [social media] into account when we choose design elements,” Smith adds.


A guestroom at the Goodland Hotel, where the bottle opener dresser pulls are frequently shared on social media.

While photos are what’s popular now, video is the wave of the future. Greenberg says it’s a major priority on Facebook, performing five to 10 times better than a normal post. Hotels need that presence to attract guests, and the design of those videos should reflect the design of the hotels. “It’s so crucial,” he says.

I can only imagine where we’ll go from here, but as long as a Valencia filter is available, I’m on board.

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