What does it actually take for a hotel to maintain it?
Social media serves as a powerful way for your brand to develop and nurture a relationship with potential and existing customers. While there are hundreds of ways to build and maintain these relationships on social media channels, the following three factors must always form part of your strategy:
A strong reputation is a brand’s most powerful asset in terms of social media. At the same time, a negative reputation could be detrimental for any brand, but more so for hotels. The best analogy is to imagine your property as another product being sold on Amazon.com. Amazon customers usually don’t have firsthand experience with a product they’re interested in purchasing. While viewing a product on Amazon, the customers rely on the description and photos, but more importantly, the consumer reviews, in order to make a purchase decision. It’s the same with travel shoppers looking for hotels online. Often times, shoppers will land on properties’ social media pages at some point during their process. On social media, particularly Facebook, the posts, reviews and other user generated content are exactly how shoppers are going to identify your property’s brand before making a reservation. They gain valuable insight into other guests’ experiences and see how much your staff cares.
Engagement is Key
To fully take advantage of social media and make an impression on travel shoppers, you have to converse and interact with them on a consistent basis! This is one of most challenging and time consuming tasks regarding social media, but one that’s imperative. Would you really want a question or negative review without any response from your property displayed on your Facebook page? Whether it sits idle for two hours or two days, countless travel shoppers that once considered your property will probably turn the other way. And that most likely means lost revenue for your property and gained revenue for your competition. We find there are MANY properties out there not interacting with any guests. Someone on your staff or your online marketing partner should always be prepared for the best and the worst, and also understand how to effectively interact with guests in both cases. And this doesn’t only apply to negative comments or reviews, but to social media engagement across the board.
Followers & Fans Matter
Although it doesn’t hurt to have many, followers and Fans are detrimental to your Social Reach. Your competition could have twice the amount, but are those fans interacting? Here’s the story on how you gain most of your fans or followers. One day they were taking a break from their day job and visiting Facebook. A friend of theirs, perhaps a past guest at your hotel, shared a picture from a post you recently made. They become engaged with that post, and then click through to your page to read earlier posts. Their thought process is “this hotel is in a location I might visit, and they seem to make some interesting posts.” They then click “follow” or “like.” Throughout the next few months they begin to share and interact with your posts. When it becomes business travel or vacation time, they already know exactly where they’re likely to stay based on their social engagement with your property.
So we end with some things to consider. Is your staff available to take charge of your social media accounts? Who on that staff has the best written skills when it comes to customer focus and your property’s goals? Does that person have the ability to empathize with the guests and positively engage them without going by a scripted handbook?
Lastly, how do you keep engagement high and encourage more user generated content on social media? That’s something that we’ll discuss in a future article on the Vizergy blog.