by Peter J. Bates

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are We in Social Media and Technology Overload?

iPad, Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy – these names, among others, dominate our daily lives, whether we’re reading about these devices or utilizing them ourselves. And, today’s marketers are tasked with determining how best to take advantage of consumers’ obsessions with these latest and greatest technology ‘toys’ as well as how to effectively incorporate social media (Twitter, Facebook and more) into their strategies. It seems that every recent conversation I have had with marketing executives includes these topics to some extent as the hospitality and tourism industries try to figure out the best way to embrace new technology and communications channels.

In our effort to be innovative and strategic, it is crucial not to get carried away. For example, on a recent trip to London I dined at a well-known restaurant that recently opened following an extensive renovation. As always the food was excellent, but I was disturbed when the professional and efficient sommelier presented the wine list on an iPad. Was this really necessary? Leafing through the pages of a wine list is part of the enjoyment of selecting a good wine. I grew more concerned when that same sommelier had to spend several minutes at a nearby table explaining to the guest how to use the iPad. What was the restaurant trying to prove? Surely, a wine list on an iPad is no more than a gimmick. Is there any added value in the experience or was something authentic stripped from my lunch?