Social Media is an easy go-to for Hotel reviews and ratings. And reviews and ratings often have a different sentiment than traditional review websites.
Reviews and ratings when shared through Social Media posts have a more positive sentiment.
As much as 2/3 of Hotels guests that posted something on Social Media about their stay had some positive to say. While less than 1/3 of Hotel guests had something negative to say. (Sojern)
Social Media and Online Reviews impact on Hospitality
Social Media and customer review websites have changed the way the hospitality sectors are managed. This change implicates travelers and the way they access information to plan travel using online resources, as well as Hotels and the way they manage their relationships with customers.
Interaction and response
Social Media is one of the top ways customers and guests interact with Hotels.
It’s convenient! Customer service expectations are constantly increasing, and customers are looking for Hotel brands to create a seamless experience that spans the Hotel room to the Facebook timeline.
Don’t leave them hanging!
Your Hotel must be proactive in its Social Media communication efforts. The key is to be responsive.
No response is often the worse kind of response!
If guest’s comments or raise a concern on your Hotels Social Media profiles as much as half of them expect a response within one hour.
Performance improves with Social Media Reputation
Hotels have today realized the value of online reviews and Social Media as a key source of customer insight, and a tool to achieve operational and service excellence. (Cornell Research)
Yet many Hotels have been undecided on the best way to measure direct return on investment from Social Media and reputation.
The research shows that as a property’s Social Media reputation improves, its overall performance also improves. A stronger online reputation increases a Hotel’s pricing power – allowing it to increase its prices while maintaining the same occupancy levels.
This price increase results in higher revenue and improved performance. The reverse is true as well – properties with weaker Social Media reputations perform worse because they must reduce prices to maintain occupancy levels.
Shift to High-Value alternative
When defining a new or renewing customer segments, look for aspects of the value proposition that are lost in the translation to digital.
Customer experiences today is shifting towards technology experiences. Facebook has in the last years made it clear that their focus is on connectivity, the online experience, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality.
Hotels need to be prepared to embrace a unified experience. To better understand this shift we need to look at Airbnb, and how they have embraced this principle.
The Airbnb Success recipe
Is a key to their success in disrupting a stodgy old Hotel industry?
Using Social Media to connect with customers. By taking an individual approach and engaging with clients on Twitter and Facebook, Airbnb could create a rabidly loyal community.
Their customer service team, sales team, and operations team are all completely socially integrated. And to keep track of it all, they use Social Media tool.
Airbnb understood that is was the Social Media communities that were the key drivers of experiences.
They implemented Stories from their Community as an inspiration. They wanted to customers to imagine themselves taking part in the experience. Airbnb started to collaborate with locals to share unique stories that travelers could relate with.
Airbnb’s content strategy extends to Social Media, where it embraces visual marketing to attract fans. On Instagram, the brand posts user-generated photos that it curates from its hosts and guests.
A Community Responds to Reviews
Airbnb understood early on the value of collaborating with their fans.
They created their own Community that educates and respond to hosts on a multitude of topics.
Airbnb has turned into a global community that supports local experience providers. They also encourage hosts to discuss local issues and find clubs and meetups near them.
Innovation will bring new fire to the Hospitality Industry
Hotels have over the year competed on location and price. And the market has become oversaturated. Hotels try to deliver more at a lower price. When competing on price alone the lowest price will always win.
Airbnb is not sitting on the sideline waiting for Hotels to figure it out.
They are now considering new areas like branded apartments and corporate travel.
Airbnb is not taking away anything from Hotels, they are providing high-value alternative cost-effective solutions.
The key for Hotels is to start providing their own high-value alternative cost-effective solution.
Hotels a sleeping beauty
Moving the Hotel and Hospitality fulcrum is a tedious and slow process that goes through an abundance of gatekeepers.
I’m sorry but Prince Charming will not come to a wake up the sleeping beauty. The change must come from within.
I am Hotelie by heart and passion. I truly believe the future is bright for Hotels. The industry needs to start innovating and focus on new alternatives. Just a little advice added fees have nothing to do with innovation and new alternatives. Added fees are what will kill the last frontiers that keep the heart of hospitality pumping.
Hotels can do like Blockbuster and ignore the warning signals and sit on the sideline when Netflix figured it was all about offering a new alternative.
If Hotels keep waiting for Prince Charming to show up and somehow a kiss will bring new life to the industry Airbnb will already capture the princess and the whole kingdom.
At that point, online reviews and reputation will not really matter. Customers will select new alternatives that provide a new set of high-value alternatives.
Customer Experience is the new Loyalty
As Hoteliers, we can always question the validity of Online reviews. But this will not resolve a growing challenge for the industry. It is the same for Hotels as for other similar industries that the real revenue lays in back-end upselling.
Airbnb is beating the Hotels now on price and experience. Customers today will go for the experience.
Hotels need to recognize the real benefits of Social Media and learn how to leverage them.
Social Media is a great tool that fosters new relationships. New technology and service alternatives make is possible to provide a multitude of new alternative experiences.
If you can nurture and embrace the experience then you turn your Hotel guests into fans.
Your Hotel fans are the foundation for a Social Community that will help your Hotel shape new high-value alternatives.
The Hotel Content Funnel – a dynamic process
I work on content strategies that support The Hotel Content Funnel. This is an ongoing dynamic process where data, information, and innovation will reach the relevant consumers for a given Hotel.
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Learn how to nurture your influencers and the Community.
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