Face-to-Face is the Original Social Media

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Face-to-Face is the Original Social Media

In a year of recession that has seen the rise of social media as an effective way to build and maintain networks, the hospitality industry keeps fighting back. In my post, “Staying Connected: The Art and Science of Maintaining Networks,” I mentioned the Hyatt Hotels campaign, “Great Happens When People Get Together.”

In the last few weeks, two airlines have run similar campaigns promoting the business benefits of face-to-face meetings.

American Airlines used the headline, “Eye Contact. Your Most Underrated Skill Set” in a recent Fast Company ad. The copy promotes the substantial benefits of meeting in person: “Sometimes, the more business you do face-to-face, the more business actually gets done.”

Last week in The Economist, British Airways’ ad featured the headline, “Emails Don’t End in Handshakes.” The website features a campaign called, “Embrace Opportunity with a Face-to-Face Meeting.”  British Airways ran its ad in black and white, either to make it stand out or to keep it on a budget.

Indeed, it has been a tough year for the airline industry by any perspective. Even a quick scan of Bureau of Transportation airline statistics illustrates that traffic and fares show consistent month to month decreases. The hotel industry has not fared well either, as last week’s performance reports suggest.

From a sales point of view, social media provides an excellent way to renew old contacts and make new ones. The airline and hotel segments of the hospitality industry may be hoping that though the initial conversation is sparked online, it will continue and deepen face-to-face.