Why some social platforms aren’t worth hoteliers’ time
Hotel companies must take advantage of social media to market to and engage with guests, but not every platform out there meets hoteliers’ needs.
One of the largest and fastest growing travel markets in the world, China presents a unique opportunity for hotels. With more than 100 million Chinese traveling abroad every year, the market has become the single biggest source of global tourism income. According to GfK, international Chinese tourists spent close to $230 billion in 2015, and this number is expected to grow as the middle class in China continues to grow.
Tapping into this market successfully, however, requires a separate digital marketing strategy. Although China has the largest base of social media users worldwide, its unique government-run Internet means that traditional means of marketing won’t work for the 300 million Chinese people online. In China, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are blocked, as well as sites like Google and YouTube.
In lieu of these sites, the Chinese have built their own robust social media networks populated by hundreds of millions of users. Hotel marketers that want to better appeal to the Chinese market should have a strong understanding of these Chinese social networks, their demographics, and how they function in order to build targeted marketing campaigns for these consumers.
Author Alexandre Coussy, source
Many marketers fail to understand how big of a damage poor reputation can do to a company and when it comes to running a business, whether small or large, utilizing a good online reputation management is no longer an option. Rather, it has become a complete necessity.
No one should underestimate a negative reputation. Even if your business is not online, your reputation (regardless if it’s good or bad) will always be plastered on the web, especially in this day and age where digital technology and internet connectivity is almost unavoidable.
Before the Internet came into picture, the reputation of a business was built, not managed. Today, the Internet opened a whole new dimension for reputation management, and the world wide web served as a magnifier that intensifies every mistake, imperfections, and perceived insult.
Many small firms attempt to utilize the Internet themselves to broadcast their goods and services online. While there may be a few who will succeed, most businesses will not. It is not a matter of how much effort they put into it, though. Frequently, failing simply means they need a little push from online reputation management experts.
ORM professionals know that the most ideal way to attract prospects is to rank high for search terms that are related to the business. If you had experienced one or several of the following situations, it might be time to consider investing in online reputation management
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Instagram has become the “hot” social media network for hospitality brands due to its highly visual platform and large engagement. But what of its predecessor, Twitter? Is it still useful for hotel marketers?
If a hotel brand is using Twitter the same way it utilizes Instagram and Facebook, then the answer is “no.” When it comes to sharing content, Twitter is less effective than other social media platforms. But with more than 284 million monthly users who are hashtagging and utilizing the mentions/replies system, Twitter still reigns as the platform for listening, conversing, and starting real-time buzz.
Therefore, Twitter is most useful for customer service, not marketing.
Research shows hotels are pretty bad at using Twitter for customer service. Hospitality brands have been overwhelmed by the volume of inquiries and complaints delivered via social media. A 2014 study indicates, on average, hotels take more than seven hours to respond via Twitter, with less than 20% of @ mentions receiving replies.
While a prompt response demonstrates a company is listening, extended silences implies the opposite. Part of the problem is there are more messages to sift through on social media than traditional phone or email channels. Hotel staff may not possess the necessary skills to respond since replying to tweets differs from in-person customer service.
While the industry as a whole might lag in using Twitter as a customer service tool, certain hospitality brands are doing it better than competitors. Some hotel groups have dedicated social media teams, while others integrate social channels within larger customer service departments.
Starwood has received a great deal of praise for its social media efforts. The brand’s 33-minute average response time on Twitter is approximately 42x faster than the industry average. It’s made possible with 3,000 customer service representatives in 10 offices across the globe. Starwood’s staff replies quickly, and they keep their eyes peeled to “surprise and delight” new and returning guests, remembering that even small, personalized gestures leave positive, lasting impressions.
Hilton also impresses with prompt response times, aiming to reply within an hour and resolve within a day. The global brand has expanded from providing mere response management to proactively offering recommendations in 120 cities. Managed by a decentralized team to offer the best local travel tips, the hotel group launched the @HiltonSuggests handle to provide valuable, authentic information. Users, whether they are current customers or not, can reach out to the account for personalized expert advice.
One final noteworthy brand is Hyatt, which takes the platform’s listening function to a whole new level. The brand recently hosted the “world’s largest focus group” on Twitter to receive feedback on guest experience, and used the findings to implement on-site improvements.
Hotels can use Twitter for proactive customer service. This strategy involves listening to travel issues of people in the area, complaints about competitors, and reacting accordingly. For example, if a traveler tweets “X hotel overbooked and doesn’t have a room for me now” or “help, we’re stranded in Boston because of travel delays,” a hotel brand can jump in and assist.
Proactive customer service presents massive opportunity for hotels to gain loyal new customers. Follow these tips to develop a proactive Twitter strategy:
Ultimately, it’s clear Twitter is more effective for listening and conversing versus broadcasting. Take a page out of some of the global hotel brands’ books and go a step beyond basic response management. Implementing preemptive tactics on Twitter could be the key to publicly demonstrating outstanding customer service, bringing in more business, and nurturing a valuable new generation of social-savvy brand loyalists.
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By Killarney Hotels Group, source
An infographic in terms of how social media has impacted on the tourism sector and on hotels in particular as social media has made a huge impact on many areas.
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By Arielle Sanchez, Thursday, 17th September 2015, source
Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the most widely social media channels, with over 72 million users, and this number is not slowing down;
As with most social media channels, one of the most popular subjects that Pinterest users are searching for is travel-related information.
What does this mean for hoteliers? It means that your hotel should definitely be on Pinterest! Just as with other interests, Pinterest is a great way for users to organize their travel plans. Help travelers out by giving them a great amount of information about your property and the local area.
Here are some Pinterest board ideas that hotels can benefit from:
You definitely want to showcase your property on Pinterest, which is why a board about your hotel should be the first thing you work on. Gather some great photos of your hotel and upload them to this board. This can include anything from your rooms, amenities, outside view, the pool, or anything else that represents your property. Make sure each shot is properly labeled. Though you want to make sure your photos are high quality, make sure you are accurately representing your hotel.
Local attractions around your hotel are one of the top reasons guests are in the area. Come up with a list of the most popular attractions near your property that guests are interested in. Chances are, others who are looking to stay in the area will also be interested in these attractions as well. For example, if your hotel is in Hollywood, you would include attractions such as the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign, Universal Studios, the Hollywood Bowl, etc. This board will let potential guests know what is around your hotel and what they have to look forward to when they stay with you.
If you hotel hosts a number of events throughout the year, create a board to show travelers the types of events your hotel is capable of hosting. If your hotel hosts weddings, you will want to include photos of how the venue looks when it is decorated for a wedding. If your hotel hosts business meetings, you would want to show photos of different setups your hotel can offer to accommodate business travelers. Remember, if you wish to include photos with your guests, it is best to get their permission before posting photos of them online.
Not all hotels are created equal. What makes your hotel unique? If your hotel offers something that no or very little hotels in the area offer, you want to let guests know about this. This is especially true if it could make the difference of whether or not a guest books your hotel versus the hotel across the street from you.
Pinterest boards have a great feature that allow you to attach a map. This can easily show travelers the distance between your hotel and different places in the area, whether it be attractions, restaurants, entertainment venues, or other interesting places to visit. Maps on Pinterest are an easy way to give travelers a better idea of the area and the surrounding features.
Does your hotel have dining services? If so, create a board showing photos of the various types of food you offer. This works whether your hotel has a restaurant, mini market, or just room service. Even if you don’t have an actual restaurant on-site, you can still create a food board to show local eateries around the hotel. If you are not familiar with all of the restaurants that are nearby, be sure to check Yelp or other review sites to make sure you are not recommending restaurants that do not provide the same type of service as your hotel.
People love to see the human side of businesses. Though your hotel is essentially a business, it is also made up of real people who provide service to the guests visiting the property. Give potential guests an inside look at your hotel by sharing photos of your staff. This will make travelers feel connected to your hotel and staff before they even arrive!
Though you want to provide a sufficient amount of information about your hotel on Pinterest, you also want to drive traffic over to your website. Sharing your blogs on Pinterest is a great way to drive users back to your site. Make sure you are sharing your blogs on this channel to encourage visits to your website.
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By Nigel J. Rodgers, source
There are numerous digital marketing tools available for hoteliers to effectively promote their properties, one of these useful tools is the hotel blog.
There a few reasons why blogs are important. Blogging helps the hotel connect with their audience on a personal level by providing a message that can directly target the customer.
Blogs are also effective social media content and, when scheduled regularly, can help your hotel appear connected and up-to-date. Google is partial to newer content, so posting blogs with strong copy on a regular basis can help your hotel website rank higher in searches.
Greater engagement with your customer can be facilitated through blogs because they allow readers to directly comment on your posts. A blog will get your website greater visibility which in turn will positively affect your direct bookings. That’s the ultimate goal, right?
Blogging is more than just coming up with an article about a current event. There are steps that can be taken to ensure that your blog is effective. It starts with the title: use an exciting and interesting title that captures the attention of the audience.
Something like “Come see Our Newly Remodeled Rooms” gets the point across, but it isn’t enticing. You want a title that makes your want to read more. Speak to the emotions of the reader with a title like, “Kick back and Relax in our Newly Remodeled Rooms with New Features!”
Adding keywords to your blog will also make your site more likely to rank higher in search results. Use keywords that flow seamlessly into the copy of your blog. In addition, too many keywords will make your copy seem disjointed and clunky, so use them moderately.
Another way to get better results is to add a picture to your blog. When you post your blog on social media, it is more likely receive engagement if there is a picture accompanying the post.
When selecting topics for blogs, choose ones that will interest your target audience. Here are a few topics that have been proven to receive high engagement:
Special Events like festivals, concerts, and conferences.
Popular restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and theatres.
Local attractions, city tours, theme parks, and landmarks.
Hotel Updates- New services, remodels, customer interviews and reviews, events at the hotel.
Once you select a topic, create well-written content with strong keywords, and post your blog on social media. You will be well on your way to increasing traffic to your hotel’s website!
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