Any hotelier in charge of managing their destination’s social media accounts can tell you that it can be a rollercoaster of a job. One hour someone might be loving the poolside pic and the next they could be griping about their steak being under cooked when they ordered it rare. Sometimes it might even seem like it’s not worth the investment, but studies show that 71% of consumers who have a good social media service experience are likely to recommend your brand to others. So how do you keep face and maintain your hotel social media marketing efforts effectiveness? Here are a few tips to keep your following engaged and back through your lobby doors.
1. Shut up and Listen
Before you try and get people do something, (like book their next vacation at your hotel) you need to understand what they want. What are they saying about your hotel? What are they saying about the competition?
One mistake a lot of businesses make on social media is thinking that they’re the only ones producing and posting content about their brand. Even though it’s the largest source of branded content, whatever your guests or prospective guests are saying about you and your competition is relevant for your social media strategy. So before you launch a huge campaign, listen to your audience.
2. Be timely
Let’s go back to that disgruntled guest who got the rare steak exactly how he ordered it. How do you deal with that? The exact same way you deal with a guest who posted a 5 out of 5 star review: quickly and personally.
When you’re actively responding to your following, you continue the conversation your audience is having with your hotel. Say the steak comment went unnoticed for a few weeks. Not only was the issue not resolved, it shows your entire following that you don’t care about your guests’ problems. Make sure you keep the conversation going with your audience, regardless of the situation.
3. Maintain a multi-channel presence
Social media is more than just Facebook. In reality, your hotel social media marketing strategy is just one piece of the pie. Nowadays people are spending their time switching between Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and whatever the latest social craze is. Connect with your guests wherever they are, and you’ll establish a better connection and drive engagement.
4. Use tripadvisor to your advantage
Whether TipAdvisor is a part of your hotel’s digital marketing strategy or not, people use it when they’re deciding on what hotel to book. Encourage your guests to leave a review about your hotel. A “You’ll have a great time” message from a past guest has a lot more value for someone looking to book a room than a branded post does.
5. Host a contest
With that being said, host a social media contest. Whether you’re offering a free weekend getaway for the best Instagram pic or exclusive VIP access to your hotel’s club, a contest is a great way to increase user generated content. User generated content is great because it creates a branded consumer to consumer message that conveys the value your hotel offers to its guests.
If you haven’t caught on yet, content is essential to a successful hotel digital marketing strategy. Having a killer content strategy will allow your hotel to capture the attention of people who visit your website and ultimately increase direct bookings.
6. Forget bookings for a sec…Focus on your audience
Take a step back and remember tip number one. Shut up and listen. You can sit behind your desk and post things you think people will like, but if they’re not engaging than what’s the point?
Focus on exactly what brings people to your hotel. What's relevant to them? What’s your unique selling point? If you don’t know, ask them. Leave a little review slip on their nightstand the day before they check out to get a discounted ride to the airport. Anything that will allow you to get feedback, do it. Once you get the feedback, analyze it and focus your posts around what captivates your guests during their stay.
7. Promote local businesses
Unless you’re a full resort with pages and pages of amenities and attractions, try promoting local businesses that guests can enjoy. Part of travelling, especially for international guests, is experiencing the local culture. Tag local businesses in twitter posts to establish a local feel, and you’ll get guests excited about everything the local scene has to offer.
Regardless of your hotel's style, social media marketing can help your digital strategy by driving engagement and establishing brand equity. Especially for the millennial generation, people are spending their time on digital. Social media is a great way to deliver valuable content to a targeted audience to increase direct bookings, just listen to your audience first!