Why Social Selling Is The Hotel Marketers Best Friend

What is Social Selling? It is described as leveraging your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights, and relationships.

For the Hotels Sales department, the transaction processes been similar to what other departments has experienced. Customers are no longer coming in at the top of the Hotels sales funnel where they seek general information and awareness of the brand. Previously both parties anticipated someone from the Sales Team would guide them through the sales process. Instead, now customers are defining the buying process.

Customers utilize Social Media for research, comparison and Community input. The point here is for Hotels to understand that by the time customers end up on your Hotels website they are almost at the end of the buying process. They did all their research, narrowed down their options, and in many cases, they have an established relationship with the Hotel brand.

In this process, the customer is so close but yet still so far for many Hotels to make a direct booking. I will in this article give you the answers to why, and what your Hotel can do to fix this.

Why is the Social Customer NOT making a Direct Booking on your Hotels Website?

One part is due to that many simply just misunderstand Social Selling. Many in the Hotels marketing and sales departments believe this process requires the implementation of a whole new sales process. But nothing could be farther from reality. Services like Airbnb and UBER has not replaced other already existing services, they are just providing alternatives that take advantage of new marketing mechanism.

From a Hotel perspective, our job is to use the same marketing mechanism to create new awareness and focus on alternatives that will add new values for the customers.

Customers are a creature of Habits. The Hotel options available has to meet basic needs like location, amenities, price, availability all in one place.

Customers also prefer information that will add value to their experience. This is also one reason why many customers will check Hotel reviews before a booking decision is made.

Though we see that Airbnb and HomeAway have been able to identify new intriguing trigger points that appeal to customers when it comes to their booking patterns. What they understood is that the key lays in;

  1. Identity
  2. Personalisation

Learn to understand your customer identity and where they belong. What does this mean you might ask? Customers today identify themselves with their Communities.

Social Communities are today the real drivers that influence the customer’s decision process. And building a foundation around listening, awareness, trust, and culture.

Tony Hsieh CEO and founder of Zappos understood these principles. Zappos implemented games so when employees logged into their computer a face of a fellow employee would pop up. They were then asked to put in the name of this employee. Either the answer was wrong or correct a bio and profile of this person would populate on the screen.

Zappos also had a four-week training program for all new employees. At the end of the first week, everyone was offered $2,000 to quit.

My personal favorite was every employee at Zappos was challenged to make at least one improvement, every week, that better reflect Zappos core values.

One interesting point is that Tony Hsieh believed that the telephone is one of the best branding devices out there.

What Hotel can do to fix this challenge

Social Media today is very disruptive and noisy. And we rumors tend to amplify in ways that cause many Social Marketers to jump. We hear Twitter is dead, Millenials don’t use Facebook, Snapchat is the new thing. Yeah, the sky is falling.

Zappos build their foundation around culture, happiness, and their core values. They focused on building their communities having employees that supported the customer experience. If a customer had a concern this was handled swift, efficient and they did not question the customer honesty. Their action supported the culture, happiness and core values. Which laid a solid foundation for a unique Social Community.

Communities are similar to Social Networks, where people with similar skills and interests gather to discuss and exchange ideas or participate in events of joint interest.

As you can see here this is very similar principles that should be very familiar with many Hotels.

If your Hotel is experiencing several challenges where you see a drop in customers, drop-in inquiries, drop-in guest satisfaction, high employee turn-over then Social Media will not fix this.

You have to start within the Hotel to build a new foundation around culture, happiness, and your Hotels core values. Make sure you include listening, awareness, trust and relationship strategies.

Many might believe what Zappos did is a bit extreme. Four-week training program for new employees? $2,000 to quit?
Can you put a price on employee happiness? We know happy employees are more productive. Some of Zappos core values include be humble, do more with less, be passionate and determined, and create fun and a little weirdness.

And in the training programs if you focus on embrace new technology and new marketing mechanism together with listening, awareness, trust and relationship strategies you have a foundation to communicate with the Social Community.

If you take a deeper look at Zappos there was nothing unique with their products. The uniqueness was in the culture, employee happiness, and their Social Communities.

Their mission was to value the customer experience. And Zappos Social Community became their best Social Media Ambassadors as a result of this.

Zappos did not sell their products, they exchanged experiences.

Are your Hotel building the right foundation for Social Selling?


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About the author

Are Morch is the founder and owner of Are Morch – Hotel Marketing Coach. Get more from Are on Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Instagram| Podcast