Social media optimization can give your hotel the edge on the competition by connecting with current and potential guests. The social media specialists at Blue Magnet are here to guide you through the power of being a hotel in the social media mix. When most people think of social media they tend to think of two major players: Facebook and Twitter. While these two sites represent the quintessential social media experience, the overall concept of social media covers so much more. In fact, social media is more than just a fad pushed along by a few key sites. Instead, it’s the next evolution of human interaction on the internet.
In the past, businesses, professionals, and your average Joes created online content and broadcast that information out through their websites. It was information flowing in only one direction: from the broadcaster to the consumer. This format was familiar to businesses who had been advertising this way on traditional media outlets for generations--a company puts a commercial on TV and its message is broadcast out to potential customers. This was the way the web used to be as well--a linear type of communication built on the foundation of the old world media structure. This is currently what most websites do.
Enter social media. As the web has evolved communities have emerged to share ideas and opinions, offer assistance, and make recommendations to others. Over time this very unidirectional communication medium began to change from a monologue to a dialogue. Thanks to social media consumers have a voice, and it’s not just limited to Facebook and Twitter.
Your guests no longer want you to be a monologue, so join the dialogue that you can have with your customers and therefore strengthen your relationship with your potential, current and past guests.
If you look around at your favorite sites, most likely all of them have some social media component, because businesses realize that consumers ultimately hold the fate of their company in their hands.
- TripAdvisor features a hotel rating system where travelers can voice their opinions on their recent hotel experience. And the natures of the reviews can often make or break a hotel’s reputation online. Fortunately, in true social media fashion, TripAdvisor allows hotels to respond to guest reviews. Hotel representatives can even respond to guest reviews in order to resolve any issues or thank guests for their patronage.
- Popular news sites and industry blogs now have a comments section below the article, where readers have the ability to contribute their thoughts and expertise to the journalist’s original story. Rather than a one-sided view of a particular news piece, readers have the benefit of many different points of view shared throughout the comments.
Neglecting the social media movement means cutting off the dialogue with your customers, a misstep no modern business (particularly hotels) can afford to make. On the other hand, companies that harness this tool and effectively interact with their customer base are rewarded in the following ways:
- Bond with Brand - Customers have a stronger emotional connection with the product, service or brand
- Humanize - Hotels are personified to the general public, stripping away the cold, corporate shell worn by most businesses
- Customer Service - Hotels become more aware of challenges, frustrations or lack of service experienced by its customers, allowing hoteliers to quickly deal with these problems and win back
- Build Buzz - Hotels can create buzz about their city and their property, giving potential guests exclusive insights
- Market Research - Hotels can find out what their customers want so they can tailor their services to meet the wants and needs of the community
- Direct Sales - Although not always the best primary function of social media, it can be used to generate interest in a hotel through exclusive offers, giveaways, contests
So, what’s my ROI?
What do all the previous bullet points have to do with your ROI on social media? Everything! All these benefits eventually trickle down to your bottom line. Although social media ROI may be more difficult to determine than tactics like PPC ads, your hotel will ultimately benefit from dialogue it fosters with its customers. Like hotel photography, it’s often difficult to attribute an exact revenue amount to social media, since it’s not always best used as a direct sales tool. However, most hotels understand that professional photography, while expensive and difficult to establish a direct ROI, is a crucial part of selling their product online. Similarly, while social media may be new territory for most hotels, the benefits they get from connecting with customers can be tremendous. And even if you’re not connecting with your customers, you can be sure your competitors will be.