Why Should Hotels Engage On Social Media?
When we look up the synonyms of Engagement we discover that this word has a major representation of aggressive words.
The Hotel Industry is recognized as a service industry where we primary show empathy towards our guests. Hotels have been built up on Customer Service Principles.
Today with Social Media guests have now found that they have a voice. They see themselves as stockholders in your Hotel Brand. And if there is a concern they expect fast responses, or you face the potential risk of spreading negative messages about your brand.
So why should Hotels engage on Social Media by putting their brand on a limb?
Since Hotels Guests now have discovered they have a voice the answer is simple; Hotels should start to focus on Serve Your Guest principles.
This require that you listen and measure the engagement and passion surrounding your brand.
You are involving your guests in new ways with your Hotel. Your Champion Advocates will be expected to be consulted on decisions you make. Make sure you implement creative ways to involve your guests.
If you serve your guests well they will assist you with customer service when a concern is raised.
How Should Hotels Engage On Social Media?
1. Identify Your Strategy
Social Media is no Hocus Pocus or some magic wand that automatic will flood guests in your doors. Social Networks are coming and going. New Social Media Tools pop up almost daily. The Word (World) of Mouth effect can spread a message to thousands in seconds. Guests interact with Hotels live and in real time.
The first part of your engagement process is to identify an Social Media Strategy that will capture the ongoing conversations.
- What are your window of opportunity?
- Do you want to create awareness?
- How do we bring the Conversations to the Hotel?
- Can we create a Hotel Idea Wall?
- How to convert engagement into bookings?
- Which touch points can provide higher SGI (Satisfied Guest Index)?
- Build more brand equity?
- Who are you targeting?
- Where does these guests go for information?
- What type of content do they want?
- Who in your Hotel can provide that content?
- Where are the biggest opportunities for engagement?
2. Listen To The Conversations
We still keep one of the important principle from Customer Service with us – Listening.
Someone once said that you were given two ears and one mouth because you should listen double as much as you talk. This is one important part of serving your guest. Listen in to their needs and wants.
On one side of you want to create more awareness and on the other side your want to provide proper response.
3. Empower Your Peers
Have you taken time to identify if your peers is active on Social Networks?
You want to involve your peers early on. Let them take part in developing your Social Network Strategy.
If you tell your employees today that they can’t get involved with guests on Social Networks due to privacy and security concerns, then you will face some challenges. This is almost like telling your peers not talk to your guest while at the Hotel.
Empowerment is often misunderstood. It is all about proper ongoing training and involvement. You don’t give away control, you still control what is needed.
Remember happy peers often results in happy guests.
4. Be Where Your Guests Are!
There is hungry crowd out there begging for you to engage with them. Millions are active on Social Network daily. Facebook alone soon has reached One Billion users! So it is no longer a question of if and why, but now and where!
Do you know where your guest hang out?
Set up communities on some of the major networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. It can also be a good idea to have a YouTube Channel for your Hotel.
- Do you have a Facebook Fan Page?
- Do you have a LinkedIn Group?
- Do you have Twitter Profile?
- Do you have a Google+ Page?
- Do you have a YouTube channel?
- Do you have a Blog?
Develop unique strategies for each of the networks you set up, this will help you identify your target market segments.
Your main Social Network Hub should be your Hotel Blog. Here you can repurpose content your guest has shared via your Social Network communities. Share ideas and suggestions that your guest has provided through Social Media, and then share stories on your blog how you have applied these ideas and suggestions.
5. Reward Your Champion Advocates
One of the benefits of being where your guests are is that you have golden opportunity to identify Champion Brand Advocates.
Touchpoint services for Hotels are today created by Champion Advocates that share their hotel stories in such a passionate way that their network begs them for more information.
Champion Advocates very often have a high-quality Social Network. And when they share content related to your brand then you will experience the power of word of mouth.
You have to be willing here to think outside the box and involve Champion Advocates in new ways that never been done before now.
Companies that has applied this type of strategies often experience very positive feedback, and a positive increase in return customers.
On crucial element here since you in some sense is allowing part of your brand to be in the control of your Champion Advocates is to set up a proper Reputation Management Systems.
6. Measure Success – Behind Every Challenge, There Is An Opportunity In Diguise
Measuring Success is probably one of the elements that have turned out to be the most complex challenge today with Social Media for many Hotels.
Very often this is a result of that some jumped on the train without being familiar with the direction of the train. You are on a train that moves very fast, and the impulses you get are overwhelming. And we start to question ourselves;
- how can we keep track of these conversations?
- how can we measure something as complex as engagement?
- how will this result in more bookings?
- how do we protect the integrity of our brand?
- how do we stop network and peers from providing negative reviews of the hotel?
There are several challenging concerns that will come to the surface. And it is important to talk about these challenges and have a strategy for how to handle them. But don’t get yourself into an analysis paralysis dilemma.
Measure traditional know variables for your Hotel; ADR, RevPar, Occupancy etc. Google Anyltics now provides several great tools that will allow you to measure Social Engagement. Put in place a strategy that allows you to measure standard online marketing variable, and then make adjustments when you experience low booking conversions.
People do business with people they know, trust and like. Real engagement focus on these values.
What have you done to engage with your guests?
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