By William Bellis III, Corporate Marketing Manager
Social media, particularly Facebook, should be viewed as a sales channel for hotels and resorts. Actually, wait a second, it should not be viewed as a sales channel… it’s only valuable for guest interaction and customer service. Hence, the word “conundrum.”
On a weekly basis, you can literally find a new pair of contradictory articles on the value of social media to hotels (“Social Media Generates Bookings and ROI” and “Traveler Engagement on Social Sites May Thrive, But What About Bookings?“). Some experts say it drives revenue, citing specific booking numbers. Other experts claim travel shoppers are reluctant to book via social media, and that it’s difficult to track data at all. And the debate goes on and on and… you get the point.
Maybe a booking engine embedded in a Facebook tab has driven measureable reservations for one property. But perhaps Twitter has been an utter failure to even generate website referrals for a different property. Regardless, one thing all of us do know, is that social media is important on some level. We work in a complex industry with countless channels to manage, where hotels are constantly vying for more online real-estate. In turn, travelers are jumping from one channel to another during their shopping processes – from Google natural search results, to your website, to TripAdvisor, to Travelocity, to Facebook, and back. And often times, social is one of the visited channels as travelers shop (52% of travelers have even changed their original travel plans based on social media).
Whether travel shoppers form 1% or 100% of their impression of your property based on your Facebook page, social undoubtedly plays a role. And that’s justification to invest appropriate time and money in the channel for almost all types of properties.
What are your thoughts? How has social media benefitted your property?