Dennis Schaal, over at Tnooz, offered a report yesterday on Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ latest incursion for the Arizona Grand Resort, and their so called SocialConversion suite. If the innovation is important enough for Tnooz to cover it, then certainly Argo Travel should look into Sabre’s most prized social platform. Is this suite as good as it looks?
To begin with, one thing the reader should be aware of is the extraordinary effort Sabre made when creating their Hospitality Solutions aspect (image below). Where stunning presentation, content completeness, even corporate branding are concerned, Sabre clearly knows how to project. All the “t’s” have been crossed, the “i’s” dotted, up to and including the press release about SocialConversion. President and General Manager Felix Laboy, and his team, have done an extraordinary job on this product – even this old startup guru is impressed – at least on the face of things. But, let’s look underneath as far as we can.
Corporate or REAL Social?
Any time a corporate entity utters terms like “seamlessly integrated” within a press release, the reader may want to grab anything not tied down – and at least be prepared for some serious BS. Sabre’s press release, in this case, being no exception. “A fully integrated, seamless Facebook booking engine with the look and feel of the hotel Website” – was my first clue into Sabre’s PR pitch process – however refined it may be – and a 12 to 1 return on investment since activating Sabre’s platform? I wish Arizona Grand Resort would provide me with these metrics. Just how was that determined so fast?
The first thing noticeable about the Arizona Grand Resort booking element on Facebook, if you are an Opera browser user that is, is the fact the booking element does not work. Okay, there are only tens of millions of Opera users, let’s move on. The second (okay, maybe first for some) thing anyone will denote is the fact Sabre’s claim to “emulate” the client’s site – well, the resemblance is not striking, as you can see above (less than stunning) , and below (grippingly stunning). Opps! on the web design coordination there.
On the “operative” end of things though, it appears Sabre’s Facebook booking affords a nice level of workability and usability too thought. The associative social media, however feebly enabled for Arizona, is in tact and operable. I must say I was impressed by the resort’s “transparent” wall posting policy. One user, Alexia Griffiths, posting he would never stay there again – an Arizona scorpion encounter and customer service nightmare reflected. While this kind of transparency is commendable, it seems one of Sabre’s experts might have mentioned what happens when open wall postings are available.
“Will never stay here again!!
I was stung by a scorpion on the couch in my room .front desk told me to go to urgent care or they could charge my room 2.50 for benadryl and gave me a hard time about wanting a later check out because I spent the morning dealing with the bite instead of taking my kids to the water park :( we are locals we only stayed here to swim !!!”
While in depth analysis of Sabre’s product is not feasible for a short report of this type, one thing seems pretty clear, the real time traffic and mentions for Arizona Grand Resort One (at least where Google is concerned) have changed little since this FB aspect went live. The resort’s Twitter aspect is active (as below), but as to who or when their engagement there ramped up, I cannot tell at the moment. Sabre continues to show this writer they have the capability to do anything, but doing it often ends coming up short.
To evaluate Sabre’s SocialConversion suite, I will have to request a sort of test drive, perhaps for Argo Travel itself? One question I do always ask myself where online brands are concerned is; “If Sabre and these other companies are so dedicated to providing social media solution, how come we never hear about them except through some other news source? Is our own digital footprint that small? In this case, does Sabre hate us? What’s up with brand awareness the most wired people on Earth never get first hand?
Summary Social Judgment
On the logical side of things, just why Arizona Grand Resort needs Sabre to hook them up is a mystery to me. Their site is superb, their offerings 97th percentile, the only possible explanation is – Sabre must have built the whole digital engagement? Or did they? If so, then someone at Sabre should have told Arizona Grand Resorts to make more clear and stunning their photos (see Sponge Bob below) for Facebook visitors too (sorry, I am a stickler for this).
Last but certainly not least, if Sabre is providing reputation management services to their repertoire of fine offerings, “then why on Earth can Arizona Grand Resorts’ wall fully open to damaging comments?” And more importantly, “if a guest has a scorpion attack and a service issue, why is the resolution not transparent too?” Or was the problem resolved? This would be in my “reputation management” tool kit.
Our take on Sabre’s latest innovation? The jury is still out, but corporate dogma hurts the brand more than it helps it, at least in my book. Another hint from other than Sabre’s expert social team, Arizona guys, put links to your YouTube Channel on Facebook. You never know when a video might go viral! Here, let me help.