Help! There is no room for Social Networking in our Hotels budget!

Today many Hotels faces budgeting challenges due to an economic turmoil all over the world. Still Hotels has to utilize various marketing strategies that will appeal to consumers.

Social Media and Web 2.0 has brought new challenges for the Hotel Family.

How do Hotels capture new consumer segments that primarily engage through Social Media and New Media channels?

Information today is exchanged live and faster then anyone could imagine. And consumers will share info about Hotels either it is related to some positive feedback or general concerns. They will not take time to stop and ask the Hotel if it is ok to post their info.

So the question is not if Hotels should be on Social Media, but more about how to apply the proper strategy on a shoestring budget.

Where should Hotels start?

Having a presence on all Social Networks can be very tedious, and a rather daunting task. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, FourSquare, GoWalla, Google Buzz, Jaiku, Digg, Orkut, Ning, Plaxo, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Posterous, MySpace and the list goes on and on.

I just mentioned a fraction of Social Media channels available today. There is no reason to jump on the train and join all these channels. Social Media is a fast moving train. Don’t jump on it because ‘everyone’ say so. You want to make sure you step on the train at the right station, and make sure you are aware of which direction the train is moving.

Hotel Hub

You want to create a hub for your Hotel that creates an engaging mashup from your hotels network and peers.

A professional blog is an inexpensive investment today. There are free alternative available. But a paid option gives your Hotel much more flexibility.

One of the costs involved that will be beneficial for Hotels is to invest in a blog that will be the Social Network Hub for the Hotel. I recommend WordPress & Go Daddy Hosting – A Winning Combination For Your blog! (*aff. link)

Allow for all Social Networks you participate in to point back to your blog. This a great way to apply principles of cross promotions. Capture your networks and peers stories on your blog. Make it easy for them to share their experiences and memories with new market segments.

Listening Outposts

One of the simplest and most effective strategies every Hotel should apply is to create an effective Listening Outpost strategy.

Know who is mentioning your hotel – know what they mention about your hotel – and know why they mention your hotel.

Keep track of where you consumers mention your Hotel. Don’t focus all your efforts on Twitter just to learn that your Social demographics hang out on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Respond

And then follow up with crafting a proper response. Show your consumers that actually care about them.

Engage

The best and most effective ways for for Hotels to engage is to share their networks and peers stories unfiltered. And ask open ended questions.

“If you could decorate your Hotel Room, how would it look like?”
“What is your earliest Hotel Memory?”
“If you could pick one item from the Hotel Room that you could bring home, what would it be?”

And here some simple ideas you can also test – I give them to you for free;

Do you your Hotel have Facebook Fan Page? Then be creative with your Fan Pages. Put it on a key card:

Comments? Visit http://facebook.com/myhotel

Or put it on one of the survey cards in the room. What about: Leave your Comment on our Facebook Fan Page and we will reward you with a Free Upgrade on your next reservation with us. Visit http://facebook.com/myhotel to leave your comments.

Engagement is about being a little gusty and innovative.

Networking

Social Networking is all about networking, and building a solid fondation for your Hotel.

  • Bring your own unique attitude
  • Think of networking as an investment
  • Educate your network so they know where you can help them
  • Have fun
  • Keep your daily growth aligned – focus on at least one action element a day toward initiating and maintaining your network
  • Be present
  • Introduce contacts that can help and bring value to each other
  • Follow up on your contacts
  • Networking is all about giving – start leave your Social Footprints

Learn the principles of Networking – Social Networks will come and go. It is important that you are able to adapt and change.

Champion Advocates

Partner up with a Champion Advocate within your Hotels network or peers. Find a Champion Advocate that not only have a strong network but know how to serve it well.

Help! Where do I find a champion advocate for my Hotel?

I have already provided several tips here. But one of my favorite tips is ASK!

And combine this tip with servant leadership – a servant leader is someone who is servant first, who has responsibility to be in the world, and so he contributes to the well-being of people and community. A servant leader looks to the needs of the people and asks himself how he can help them to solve problems and promote personal development. He places his main focus on people, because only content and motivated people are able to reach their targets and to fulfill the set expectations.

If you then would come to me and ask I would profile and act as your Hotel Champion Advocate my answers not only be YES, but I would be honored to represent your Hotels values.

Empower

Empower your network and peer. If you take time to identify employees within your Hotel that already are familiar with Social Networking principles you are one the right track. Find creative ways to reward employees that embrace Social Networking on the behalf of your Hotel. Make sure they follow proper guidelines.

Team

Work as a team and design creative ideas together.

Can you utilize your employees outside their traditional work area for Social Networking purposes?

Can you send your employees to a Social Media event?

Can you use a team of employees as your Facebook Fan Page Admins?

Can your employees tweet on behalf of your Hotel?

Can your employees run a LinkedIn Group for your Hotel?

Have you given any of your employees a Flip Cam to capture stories at the Hotel?

Could you provide your Front Desk with an iPad to showcase restaurants, museums, activities, tour info etc of your local area?

Could you let Front Desk track any location based check ins, and allow them to reward the guest with upgrade, one free room night on next reservation, extra rewards points for membership program?

Would you like to learn more?

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