Why Social Selling Matters for Hotels
Social Selling is the process of converting customers into Experience Ambassadors. Traditionally Hotels has brought the Customer to the Experience, with Social Media Hotels now has to bring the Experience to the Customer.
Today the Social Selling process is effected by Experience Reference Points.
One of the keys to a successful Social Selling strategy is to have a proper Listening Outpost in place.
And it is ideal to funnel as much of the information through one primary Social Customer Relationship Channel.
Social Customer Relationship Management
(Social CRM – sCRM) applications organize and archive social communications with prospects, making them viewable to other team members. Social CRM also improves post-sale services, especially if the sales and customer service functions are integrated.
Nimble (*partner program) allows me to set up an ideal Social Selling Dashboard. Through this Dashboard there is several reference points to engage with your Hotels prospects.
With Nimble I can focus on four stages of the customer’s decision process:
- Curiosity / Awareness
- Specific Interest & Search
- Consideration & Comparison
- Selection & Purchase
The concept of Social Networking Value Proposition is to bundle the Hotel Experience into targeted combination of values – price, quality, performance, selection and convenience. This builds on traditional Hotel Values such as:
- Operational Excellence – which represent consistent quality at the best price, standardized business system that minimize cost and difficulty the customers experience acquiring the Hotels product
- Performance Superiority – is attained by continuous, fast-paced innovations that create a steady flow of leading-edge products that constantly push the state of the art technology or enhance customer use
- Customer Responsiveness – represent the Hotel focus groups; individuals or micro-segments where Hotels nurture long-term relationships
When Hotels start bringing the Experience to the Customer they need to include Experience Reference Points in their Social Selling strategy.
Experience Reference Points
We know from the customer decision process that there several components involved before the customer makes an educated booking decision. One of the essential keys with Social Networking is was we define as referral based bookings.
How should Hotels position themselves in with the Customers Social Networks Ecosystem?
Reviews is an important component in the decision process for many customers. To differentiate your Hotels you need to start focus on Experience Reference Points. What does this mean?
Customers is most cases familiar with a traditional review that provide a short overview of a Hotel Experience. Today customers are engaging with their network in their pre-booking stage. Customers will share their Tweets, Facebook updates, Videos and through Google Map customers can get a 3D experience of your Hotel.
Your Hotel has to be positioned in all parts of this process to learn more about New Media Customer’s needs and wants.
Hotel Reviews is a reference point that will require some form of action, and this is where savvy Hotels utilize Networking and Collaboration.
Networking and Collaboration
There is an abundance of Social Networks available, and within all these Social Networks there exists different types of Tribes. The key to success in Social Selling is to earn trust within the Tribes that is most relevant to your Hotels targeted market segment. Trust is earned through a solid Relationship Marketing Strategy.
This is why it is crucial to have access to sCRM Dashboard that allows you take proper actions in a timely manner.
Start with identifying key Connectors that your Hotel can Network and Collaborate with. The Share & Earn principle work both ways, but start showing good faith with sharing your Tribes information with your Network.
Your Hotel Social Network Tribe should consist of Connectors who have large networks and a habit of making introductions. These Connectors often has a large group of Mavens in their Social Network. Mavens are information specialists that are able to initiate word of mouth.
Social Networks are primarily communication channels. But in the end of the day what will trigger Hotel Decision Makers is real sustainable results.
It is important to monitor and measure key metrics. The rule of thumb I follow is that Average Visitor Value > Average Cost per Click.
A / B Testing
A / B testing allow you to optimize your Social Sales funnel. The cost of traffic to your Social Sales funnel can be costly. And it is not uncommon that many Hotels Social Sales funnel today experience Average Cost per Click > Average Visitor Value.
Some elements that you can easily test are:
- Sub headlines
- Call to Action text
- Call to Action Button
- Social proof
- Social Media mentions
- Awards and badges
The key is to have dynamic Social Sales funnel that allows you to identify roadblock patterns, and then take appropriate action to change the identified content blocks.
Remember that Social Selling is about Share & Earn.
Surprise and Delight
Don’t let Social Media distract your Hotels action. Customers will still view your Hotel as a Service Institution.
Use your Social Network to enforce Surprise and Delight reference points.
- Develop intelligent perspectives, insights and resources to offer customer. IHG Guest Centre share PDF’s and whitepapers with their customer to provide more info about their Hotels
- Contribute to the conversation by offering highly valuable insights, data and facts
- ENGAGE in meaningful dialogue with those who care and matters
— Life at IHG (@JoinIHG) January 21, 2014
— Four Seasons Hotels (@FourSeasons) February 12, 2014
Successful customer retention starts already in the awareness stage, and goes through the lifespan of the relationship. When your Hotels brings the Experience to the Customer you make them part of the solution you can provide to meet their needs.
By understanding your customers better, you can provide the level of service that will increase retention and turn customers into advocates.
Moments of Trust
The ultimate Social Network Sales Funnel allows customers to emphasize moments of trust. This is sharable experience moments.
Develop unique Reference Points that allows the Customer to hold the pen of their story, and then give them a whiteboard to share their story.
Trust is earned through unique reference points. It is almost like an Old School Tupperware Party. The party at your House represent the unique connection that make you part of a big movement that is called Networking. If my Hotel Network Tribe trust me they will carry on this Trust to their Network.
I don’t know how many of you that take time to subscribe to some of the Social Media authorities. But for me it is key to get input and insight from various resources I learned to trust over the years. Very often when a Social Media authority release a new product or service I get several emails from other Social Media authorities that back up this service or product.
Social Networking is P2P (People to People) Networking. Start identifying your Social Networks Ambassadors that will function as Connectors for your Hotels Service or product.
If you are interested learning more contact me, or get free updates when you sign up below. Be part of a Shift where Social Selling will make a difference for your Hotel.
About the author
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