Last March, we reminded you that, “…with the heightened popularity of social media and hotel review websites, people are talking, leaving reviews, and influencing potential guests. People talk, so give them something to talk about: your incredible service.”
Clearly then, social media has its impact. But how else can you harness the power of social media and why should you? That is what we will be exploring in this post.
Hospitality venues need to understand consumers’ attitudes toward social media, and find ways to access and use the bank of information available on social media sites. Too often, many people – whether those in the hospitality industry or not – may not understand the full value of having an active, engaging social media presence, while those who do know prosper.
However, simply having an online social presence is never enough. The goal is to actively engage with fans and followers in fun ways. Develop real, genuine, and long-lasting relationships with them.
For example, Facebook holds an immense amount of potential for hotels because guests can not just share ideas and ask questions on the page, they must “check-in” to the hotel – not literally, however. Whoever checks-in to your hotel on Facebook will be voluntarily telling their friends and family where they have decided to book their reservations – with you.
But as mentioned, guests have the opportunity to spend time on your page and the more they are being engaged, the more time they are spending on your page seeing your name.
Use this opportunity to remain transparent so that complaints and concerns are addressed promptly and efficiently. Most people are aware that all places can have problems or make mistakes, but they want to know how well you find solutions. Social media proves it to potential guests.
Also, remember that people regularly look into the surrounding area when choosing a hotel. From nearby restaurants to upcoming events, guests look for places to go and things to do.
Use your page to showcase events, travel adventures, opportunities, and just about anything else going on in the area. Work with area companies, restaurants, etc., to offer guests discounts.
Additionally, social media can help you reward loyal customers, fans, and followers. For example, some hospitality services offer special rates for those that ‘like’ them on Facebook. You can also create engagement on social networks by giving out special rewards, such as discounts or prizes, to your most active users. Encourage past guests to write reviews about your venue on sites such as Yelp and Foursquare. Keep track of who your most engaged social media connections are and reward them. When others see how your business values loyalty and engagement, there is a good chance new people will choose to interact with your hotel more.
This post only explores the tip of the social media iceberg. Opportunities for those in the hospitality industry are vast and much of it is still unexplored territory. How will you use social media to boost your business?