What can Hospitality Learn from Clubhouse?

Social media trends and platforms continue to rapidly evolve, which has brought about the rise in the latest viral platform, Clubhouse. Savvy technology users are growing the popularity of audio, eager to engage with the latest devices, interfaces, wearables, podcasts and audiobooks, etc., and have found Clubhouse as an attractive opportunity to socialize and participate in like-minded conversations in a unique setting. In fact, in May 2020, the social networking app was valued at nearly $100 million. On Jan. 21, 2021, the valuation reached $1 billion.

Clubhouse is experiencing incredible success as a new platform, due to its intimate and authentic nature. Audio in itself is more engaging, and the app allows users to not only listen to, but actively participate in the live, unscripted conversations. The concept falls at the intersection of live podcasting and a live event, providing a space for participants to interact with many different personalities, whether celebrities or thought leaders, and have conversations about content that interests them.

The question remains, though: How can the hospitality industry utilize this platform to interest future travelers and inspire locals? There are tremendous opportunities in Clubhouse, as it begins to form “communities” surrounding specific content topics and themes. Hoteliers should consider the potential for Clubhouse’s abilities, such as:

Communities: Clubhouse offers the ability for hospitality leaders and their team members to connect with their audience and community, participating in conversations on specific topics or interests related to destinations, whether outdoor activities, sports or fine dining, in a much more personal and intimate setting. This provides greater authenticity for the location, helping potential visitors feel more welcome and eager to travel.

Host a room: Parent companies and independents alike, have the ability to train, educate or entertain their audience and partners, bringing different speakers or guests into the conversation to discuss travel tips, safety or trends.

Influencers: Influential partners, ambassadors or fans of your destination, can further engage with loyal followers, in warm conversations. Partnering with content creators will take the visual stories, normally developed by social media-focused influencers, and combine them with more in-depth stories – context beyond a perfect photograph.

Listening: Smart brands will use Clubhouse to listen to what aspects of travel and tourism are relevant and most important to travelers. Clubhouse has the potential to offer fantastic resources and insights directly to the hospitality community, which can be a source of inspiration for strategy and product development.

Higher-level awareness: Clubhouse is also a great place for brands to generate awareness and establish their executives as thought and industry leaders, by hosting or participating in chats with fellow leaders, partners and stakeholders.

What makes Clubhouse so unique in this age of travel restrictions and quarantines, is its ability to help those who may be starved for connection. Users are able to talk and listen; connect about shared interests and passions. Currently, there are numerous thoughtful moderators hosting positive and constructive conversations. It’s still unclear how the app will evolve or what additional opportunities will be available, but it’s time for the hospitality and travel and tourism industries to take advantage and join in the Clubhouse conversations.