Serve Your Hotel Guests Through Social Networking
Can Hotels serve guests through Social Networking?

I will be provided here a series that will focus on how hotel can serve their guest through some of the most common Social Networks used by Hotel Guest. These strategies are principles that can be utilized in most Social Networks.

Your guests are sharing their stories faster and with a larger network then any Hotels previously have experienced.

The new media guest want to have full control of their experience.

This is why Hotels now need to move from Customer Service to Serving The Customer. What is the difference? you might ask.

Traditional Customer Service is based on expectations and requests. Anytime the guest experience a concern related to their expectations and requests they expect a Customer Service solution that handle this concern.

Serving The Customer is based on anticipations. Anticipation is going that extra mile to help your guests create extra ordinary stories they can share with their network.

Social Networking allows Hotels to really add in some valuable anticipation for their guest. You have the opportunity to discover guest values before – during and after their experience.

Twitter

Strategies for Hotels to Serve Social Network Guest with Twitter.
1. Listening

One of the most important aspect of becoming a great Social Networking Servant is to become a good listener. Take the time to identify guest needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the guest is really saying.

The best ways to listen on Twitter is to use the following tools;

Twitter Search

Learn how to use Twitter Search find information about your Hotel brand. Do a simple search on your username. If you only put in your username, this will include your own tweets and any time your username is mentioned in anyway. Try then do a search with @username this will narrow it down to anytime someone mention your username on Twitter. There are various search operators you can use to find the exact information you are looking for.

Twitter Operators

Google Alerts helps you keep track off relevant Google information based on your keywords. Again you want to include your Twitter username, your Hotel, your product, your market segment etc.

2. Anticipate needs

This require that you get a little more creative. Here you will need a desktop Twitter client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic. Or if you prefer a online Twitter client then you can use Hootsuite.

What you want to do here is to use the search option to create columns related to your guests wants and needs.

Here are a couple of examples;

Lets say you are looking for relevant updates on Hotel Marketing, then you will create a column based on the search term “Hotel Marketing”. If you are looking for guests that are looking for a Hotel room in your city, then create a column based on the search term “Hotel Room” near:”your city”.

Be creative when you create your search columns you can combine “Hotel” and “eco-friendly”. Test out various combinations of the search operators.

This open doors for you where you can engage with these guests.

PS. This can also be done on Twitter Search. Make sure either you use a Twitter Client or Twitter Search to provide the search term in apostrophes “xxx”. This will narrow it more down to the info you are looking for.

3. Make them important

You want to treat everyone as individuals. Compliment either a tweet or article they wrote, make sure you then include their @username. This a great way to create trust. And make sure you thank them every time they mention you or your product. If you have a larger network and many of them start to mention within a short time frame this can be a little tricky. But again you can do this by being a little creative.

Twitter has one feature called Lists. You can create a new list called customer-feedback, where you add everyone that mention your username/product. And then send out a general thank you note recognizing everyone on this list.

4. Be prepared for adversities

You need to be prepared for how you handle real time concerns related your hotel brand.

Always start out with apologize, and then ask what you can do to fix the problem. And then follow up with 2 – 3 alternatives for what you can do for them. These has to be alternatives you know you are able to provide without any extra cost for the customers.

Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes.

Most concerns is caused by miscommunication or misunderstandings. Therefore also take time to make sure your customers understand your information/product.

Make sure you value your customers critique. Remember critique is a opportunity to improve.

5. Be a servant

Always look for ways to help your guest. If you get a request or question that you don’t have the answer to immediate, then inform you will get back to them. Don’t make up a answer that you can’t back up.

What if one of your guests asks on Twitter for a good restaurant in your city. Then why not try and see if you can find out the day and time they wanted to be there; how many will be in their party. After you have acquired this you check up one of your favorite restaurants. Make a reservation according to how many there is in the party, and in the guests name. Find out what the special is that day. Then send them a tweet informing you made reservation for the party at xyz restaurant with link to restaurant at x:xx pm. Recommend them to try out the special of the day.

6. WOW your guest

Social Networking has put the guests in the driver seat. It is no longer enough just make your guest happy. You need to give them a rush. What can you do to WOW, thrill or give them this Hotel rush experience?

Hi @AreMorch today you where our 100 4SQ Hotel CheckIn – room upgrade is on us today. See frontdesk for more details..

Hi @AreMorch we noticed it is your birthday today, stop by frontdesk to pick up complimentary dinner voucher on us.

With creative Social Networking you can give your guests a unique experience rush.

7. Encourage feedback

You want to encourage your customer to leave comments/feedback on your blog or Social Network channels.

Most customers just want to feel they belong, and that someone wants to listen to their needs.

If your customer leave a comment get back to them as soon as possible. Be creative and send your comment as a tweet. Some commenting system has this option incorporated already.

Also if you have the opportunity check out their blog/website and leave a comment there where you thank them for the comments on your blog/website. And then tweet a link of their blog/website.

Or why not put on guest itinerary – add the hastag #hotfeedback and share your feedback with us in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Our Twitter ID: @HotelName

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