Methods of Leveraging Social Media for Hotels
Social media is not at all like traditional marketing tools and is not conducive to being utilized for direct sales of hotel lodging availability. Return on investment for social media marketing is nearly impossible for hotels to measure, yet the alternative of not having a social network presence is almost an unacceptable situation in today’s marketing environment. That being a given, some other methods must be applied by hoteliers to effectively leverage the online social medium. These methods should be centered around building relationships between hotel brands and their customers through engagement and the sharing of content on both sides of the sales equation.
- Promotions and Offers
Facebook and other social networks are not effective tools for the direct sales of hotel lodging. However, they can make great platforms for the offering of special promotional deals for followers of the brand. This technique is beneficial for a hotel in several ways. To begin with, every time a follower clicks “like” for a hotel’s Facebook page or anything posted by the hotel, this is then passed on to the follower’s friends who in turn see the brand and the offer. This process acts as a recommendation coming from a trusted friend, rather than an in-your-face advertisement. Over time, promoting hotel brands in this manner can prove to be a powerful device for building brand loyalty as well.
2. Customer Service
The hospitality industry is built around providing exceptional customer service. The hotel brand social media accounts should not be any different. Customer service begins with listening to what customers are saying, followed by the promise of improvements to come and then delivering on those promises. This is the progression to be followed when implementing excellent service through social media just as much as practiced on hotel property. Customers both online or in person respond positively to such service. Once again, in time this will serve the hotel well by instilling loyalty to the brand in its customers. It is also a way of indirectly promoting the hotel to others that see customer service excellence in action.
3. Communicate With Guests
Some hotels are even taking customer service through social media to new levels of excellence. They are accomplishing such outstanding service by offering online concierge services via Twitter, and keeping their guests updated with events being held at the hotel and local area as well, through Facebook. These services provide the hotel with outstanding platforms for direct communication with their customers both on and off property, building customer loyalty even further.
The last part of this series will examine a few more methods for hoteliers to leverage social media for their hotel brands.
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