Social Media in the Hospitality Industry. It can be argued that the hospitality industry is entirely unique in the fact that success or failure will often depend much more upon customer reviews as opposed to discrete products or services. In other words, the opinions of others will have a massive impact regarding how a business is perceived. In the past, this equated to simple word of mouth or the recommendation of a friend. Social marketing has now undeniably changed the playing field. What are some of the most notable impacts within the hospitality sector? More importantly, how can hotels and similar properties leverage this tool to their advantage?
Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can have a massive influence on the perception of a certain hotel (or a chain of properties). To put this in perspective, it has now been shown that no less than 75 percent of all consumers will consult with a social media outlet before committing to a product or service¹.
No longer is a static web page sufficient in and of itself to attract customers and to drive business. This is to say nothing about major online hospitality review sites such as TripAdvisor or Booking.com. Now that we can appreciate the fundamental role of social media in hospitality industry sectors, how can businesses capitalise upon its influence?
To appreciate what customers may be saying, it is first critical to know which sites they are visiting the most. Keep in mind that this may not necessarily be popular portals such as Facebook or Twitter. Due to the rise of the smartphone, guests are now utilising locations which allow them to post pictures and descriptions (such as Instagram). Identifying which sites are popular is the first step towards effective customer relations management.
Engagement is the very same rule which applies to every modern business. It is critical to socialise with customers, and this is why the concept of “social marketing hotels” has been created. Guests need to feel as if their needs are being addressed. Proactive client engagement will serve two primary purposes:
It should also me mentioned that other patrons would see that the hotel takes the needs of its patrons seriously. This is an excellent form of passive social media marketing, and within the hospitality industry, such a benefit cannot be overlooked.
Social customers simply love hearing about new promotions and deals. As a growing number of consumers are now relying upon social networks to retrieve valuable information, it only stands to reason that such bonuses should be made visible. Customers can be rewarded by following or “liking” a specific page while they are also able to be sent timely newsletters. These strategies are other effective ways to build brand recognition and loyalty.
Social media should always be employed as a form of pipeline management. While sales data and occupancy rates are important, these may not provide the “big picture” necessary to make the most informed decisions. Social media posts and comments will provide an additional level of insight, and as a result, specific marketing campaigns can be tailored around trending subjects and issues which guests find the most appealing.
On a final note, it is crucial to mention the importance of online exposure about social media posts. Greater degrees of interaction will cause SERP rankings to increase. In turn exposure within the hospitality sector can grow. This leads to higher click-through rates and ultimately, greater success.
The concepts of social media in the hospitality industry needs to be taken seriously in these modern times. To learn more about this subject or to discover even more turnkey solutions based on your requirements, please feel free to contact us and speak with a dedicated specialist.