In my article on Touch Points I mention that traditionally Hotels manage their Touch Points in different areas such as marketing, distribution, communication, customer service, public relations, investor relations or human resources.
With Social Media you add Networking, Listen, Predict, Engage and Convert.
Why does these elements make ROI so complicated for Hotels?
|This is where your Hotel jump on the Social Media train without any Strategy or Guideline in place.
Do you go to a party where you don’t know anyone, and start to pitch your product lines?
|Here Hotels have started to apply some sporadic and yes some ‘hot’ approaches.
You heard Facebook is ‘hot’, and you start a contest there.
You get a lot of ‘Likes’, and the engagement is awesome.
But you ‘forget’ to follow up on your leads.
|Now your Hotel got the Strategies and Guidelines in place.
The Hotel brought onboard peers and Champion Advocates to help form a new approach.
You have learned that Networking, Listen, Predict, Engage and Convert is an ongoing process.
You change and adapt when needed without compromising your Hotels products and services.
And you provide proper responses and follow up with all your leads.
Traditional ROI vs. Social Media ROI
Traditional ROI is often based on the Return Of Investment we can measure and follow through the traditional Touch Point channels.
Social Media ROI is equivalent with Return Of Influence. In this new market sphere customers do business with who they know, like and trust.
Many Hotels find themselves in the – Reaction stage. They expect Traditional ROI using ‘old-school’ marketing strategies, and if it doesn’t work they conclude Social Media is a hype.
Now it is no doubt that ‘old-school’ marketing strategies still is important, and will continue to be important for Hotels in the future. It’s not like Social Media suddenly pulled the plug of traditional Hotel Marketing.
Return Of Influence just indicates that we open our doors, and embrace empowerment of our peers and network.
We are not talking about going Hole Hog and embracing everyone in your network, we are neither talking about giving away total control. Mission Impossible is still just a movie title.
All we are talking about is utilizing Touch Points to create an excellent experience for everyone touched by the Hotels service and products. And show that you really care about them as your customer.
Many Hotels has today started to realize that need to adapt some form of Social Media Strategies. These Hotels has moved into the – Realization stage.
Here we see many Hotels do all the ‘right’ things. But there is a missing link.
Social Media is not like a survey or GSI (Guest Satisfaction Index) scores, where you get a response and follow up to the Hotel.
You will have to follow up on leads, responses, and suggestions from your guests.
Customers today have very short attention spans, and it wants to take much to persuade the customer to make a booking with a different Hotel if you don’t follow up.
If you follow these important principles customers will know, like and trust your Hotel. And then it is a much higher likelihood of earning their business.
Now remember with follow up it don’t stop with just earning their business, you want them to become return guests. And from there you want to find creative ways to identify Champion Advocates for your Hotel.
Results of Social Media ROI
Now we are all moving into the new Relationship stage.
Awareness – Networking, Listen and Ask
There are many Hotels that do a brilliant job with Social Media. It is ok to model strategies that work well for others and adapt these strategies to fit your Hotel.
Do your homework and take the time to research your competition, existing and new market segments. Learn where your customers hang out. Then dress up and participate.
You can uncover a lot of ground with listening to your Social Networks. Start to ask open-ended questions to your Network. ‘What do you think about…’, ‘ How do you feel..’, ‘What will it take..’ etc.
Interest – Predict and Segmentation
You will soon start getting thousands of friends and followers, likes, subscribers, pins, tags etc. But they are not what we will normally define as our traditional targeted market segment.
This is where you now have different types of targeted market segments. Customers are now embracing storytelling, they share an idea or just a good story that appeal to them. People love to share information that will add value to how they want their ideal experience of any given situation to appear.
If that situation happens to be a Hotel Experience, make sure you give them the Touch Point tidbits that they can share with their friends and network.
Obviously, it is ok to add in Objectives that will focus on market trends, goals and growth. We want Social Media to be a business tool not just a lot of noise. If you let noise be the driver of your Strategy you might end up experiencing a Kodak Moment.
Conversion – Engage and Convert
By now you have an idea of how your Social Network looks like. Many within the Social Media sphere has focused a lot on growing their followers, friends or likes.
The real power of your Social Network is not in your first degree of followers, friends or likes but it is second and third degree. It is like throwing a big stone in the water; your first degree is like a big splash in the water, your second degree is the waves created from the splash and your third degree is what happens when the water arrives ashore.
So the growth of your Social Network is not all about the numbers, it more to identify Champion Advocates with a strong network. Then find unique ways to engage with them.
Social Engagement focuses a lot on giving a lot of value to your customer, and then find unique ways to make yourselves receivable.
Champion Advocates – Rewards
Now when it comes to the end of the day for your Hotel what really counts is RevPar, ADR, and Occupancy.
Social Media does absolutely not provide you with any magic wand. If you believe so then you will spend a lot of time in the Reaction stage.
You need to take strategic action steps to identify your Hotel Social Network Champion Advocates. And should reward them for their involvement and appreciation of your Hotel Brand.
Now remember I am telling you to take strategic action steps. Rewarding your Champion Advocates for their support is important. This can be done with showing simple but very effective recognitions.
Eventually, you would build up enough trust so you also can pull off an effective Twitter campaign similar to Four Seasons together with your Champion Advocates.
Achieving successful Social Media ROI is an ongoing process. Adapt and change when needed, most of all have fun with the process.
What is the most challenging aspect of Social Media your Hotel experience? and what have you done to meet this challenge?
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