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Think about the moment when you first enter your hotel room. Look around: Does the room tell you anything unique about the hotel where you are staying? Or is it all beige walls and double beds with white covers, and you have to walk back outside and look at the sign on the hotel’s facade to even remember where you are?

Hotel guests commonly bring multiple devices with them during their stay. However, many hotel environments don’t provide easy access to charging outlets. This situation can lead to a guest feeling more than inconvenienced. A recent survey found almost 90 percent of people "felt panic" when their phone battery dropped to 20 percent or below.

Spam is one of the major problems that most hotel website owners face on regular basis. It is a bad practice used by spammers to persuade the page rank of a site.

GBTA recently partnered with AccorHotels to conduct a study investigating the role of loyalty in managed travel programs in Europe with the goal of understanding how loyalty programs currently fit within company travel policy and what opportunities may exist in the future.

People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 



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Four Social Media Channels the Hotel Industry Can Use to Get More Customers

12/05/2014

Establishing an impressive online presence where guests can find, review and even book a room is now as important as the bed itself. Many social media channels help create more impact on the target audience. Top social media channels include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Foursquare. Facebook is still the 'big kid on the block' with over 1.3 billion users and counting, but you can use Twitter and Foursquare for maximum gains.

Selecting a social media platform

You have to understand that the audience at every channel has different expectations, so be selective about the social media channels you commit to. Ask yourself what you want to achieve through social media. Do you want to get new fans? Do you want to engage the existing customers? Do you simply want to raise awareness about your business? Is it about driving bookings and getting new orders?

Remember, what you want done will determine what social media channel works best for you. However, hotels can always start by maintaining presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.

Facebook
 
If you're new to the hospitality industry with limited budget, you may want to start by building awareness and consideration through interesting content. Facebook should be your first choice in this case.
  • Design an attractive page, introduce your business concisely, write about your team and motivate your potential customers to use free resources in exchange for their email addresses.
  • Share thoughtful information with the community and encourage them to add you to their circles. 
  • Even better is to look for groups with travel, tourism and other relevant topics and post helpful tips to create new customer interactions.

Remember, it is more about becoming a part of the conversation than making calls to action. Conversations will automatically take it to the next part of the sales funnel – consideration.

Twitter

Once you've done the hard work on Facebook where you need to be more conversational and put in effort to build the community, you can use Twitter to humanize your brand.

  • Be consistent, tease exclusive incentives, offer access to giveaways and all the latest news with compelling content to justify why your tweets are valuable to them.
  • Use Twitter to resolve customer issues. Send a tweet saying, "thanks for visiting," to set the tone. Encourage your guests to send a tweet when they have an issue.
  • A concierge with a twitter feed is yet another powerful thing. It saves your guests from stopping at the concierge desk to collect brochures and ask info even when they are out exploring. This way, they can even access the questions that previous guests have asked in the past.
  • Tweeting last minute special offers to unload your unbooked inventory is another great idea. The approach can even achieve bookings. The real-time features of Twitter set it apart, and as it is free, the guests can always use it to communicate with the hotel. 

Foursquare

Over 50 million people use this location-based social network to share what they love about others. The fact that Foursquare allows you to setup your own branded pages to share tips, acquire followers and even check in places makes it a suitable channel for hotels.

  • Be sure to seed Foursquare with numerous tips and info about your hotels.
  • Share stories behind different things about your hotel, including the more lustrous decorative embellishments.
  • Consider posting quality pictures of menu items to raise interest.
  • Create links to your brand website and other social channels to create incoming links for your site.

Certain features and functionalities of social media channels

All top social media channels have a variety of functionalities that hotels can utilize. Facebook's targeted advertising and contests have their benefits, but Foursquare works great with its geo-location feature. The 'likes' on Facebook promote you from a customer's standpoint and work more as a personal recommendation for others.

Facebook graph search drives traffic effectively and makes Facebook a go-to source loaded with videos, images and blurbs of information about cafés and hotels. You can now insert photos in individual comments as well, which helps a hotel offer a more intimate perspective.

Twitter has collaborated with Aviary, so now you can share quality images of your hotels and rooms with special effects. You will also be able to upload a photo in the header to personalize your account and business. Similarly, Foursquare lets you send updates from your venue to engage with others who have checked into your location once already. The feature is quite useful for sending updates to users' feed about coupons, specials, announcements, deals and other info about your hotel.

Management and monitoring

Staying active on social media channels is not enough, you have to monitor your success as well. Negative mentions and comments should not be ignored. Define goals, such as traffic that reached your hotel's webpage or number of bookings and track your success using Google Analytics or another analytics software. Crowdbooster is another good choice as it tells you when to post and what your Facebook and Twitter audience cares about. TweetDeck is a free-to-use social media management tool that social media managers can use.

Alternatively, you can work with a professional marketing firm and benefit from detailed monthly reporting of specific metrics for all social networks. An expert can help hotels get in-depth analysis and adjust strategies as per the latest channel tune-ups.

Conclusion

The fact is that hospitality businesses of all sizes – from the little neighborhood café to the biggest hotel chain – are harnessing the power of social media to grow. Where Facebook improves brand reputation, enhances listing and allows the business to offer unique deals, Twitter lets you connect with your guests in real time. However, it is not easy to setup and optimize your Facebook page and maintain your Twitter or Foursquare account. A social media marketing firm can handle it on your behalf though. Wait no longer– start connecting with your guests and prospective customers today!

About The Author
Nimesh Dinubhai
President
Websrefresh


Nimesh Dinubhai completed his studies in 2003 and launched Websrefresh to help businesses grow their ROI. He also owns two Arizona hotels, one of which earned the Historical Hotel Award in 2014.

 
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