sobota, 7. decembra 2013

Importance of social media for hotels

Is it a useful tool or a waste of time?

The most important fact is that social media is the best advertising tool for word-of- mouth marketing. It´s about creating loyalty among existing guests and getting the attention of future guests. For hotels it means an added value and branding rather than direct revenue. 

Actually instead of explaining what is social media all about it is more likely that hoteliers will find all around the internet something like this: "Go social! it is an important online marketing tool." Because the internet is full of this cheap flashing bilboard, I think it is necessary to specify more precisly what does social marketing mean for hotels.
First of all let´s make it clear what social media literally means. Social media refers to all information that is easily reachable and set out to a great public. This information is constantly updated and has a fresh content.

According to this definition hotels should realize that social media will only work if they have something to say.
Social media has become a global entity followed by countanuosly connnected users. It is more powerful then ever and means a decision maker for guests and a reputation of hotels.  

Because it is a so powerful fenomenon it´s not easy to say what works and what doesn´t.To make it easier for hotels I have collected some useful advices what to avoid or what to apply.

Review sites, feedbacks, comments

What NOT to do:
Don´t respond to a review to prove you are right and a negative feedback is unfair according to circumstances. Take a deep breath before submitting your responce. Remeber that you are representing the brand of the hotel and it should demostrate that both positive and negative feedback is important for you.

What to DO:
Hotels should manage their reputation effectively. First of all be active in managing your reviews. Reply to every respond as soon as you can. Never leave a question unanswered or a critique unresolved.
Prompt answer means that you care and relationship with your guests is important for your hotel.
Remeber that reviews are mainly read by your potencial future guests. 


What NOT to do:
Don´t use Facebook for selling your hotel. It´s not a bilboard where you promote how awesome your hotel is. Don´t put some meaningless crap on your facebook wall 5 times a day. Don´t post only offers, deals and special discounts. Don´t do a cheap flashing bilborad from your facebook page.
Get personal and build a true engagement

What to DO:
The Whole point of Facebook is true engagemant to your existing and also future guests. Show your personal side. Post the employees of the hotel in action, interested them with "behind-the-scene" secrets, inform them with some unknown facts about hotels. Your photos that you share should be likable, sharable and should catch the eye. One social marketing manager will not make a miracle with your Facebook page. Beeing social means that all the employees, all their cameras, all their social accounts should be a part of your Facebook activity and everyone in your hotel should be a part of your Facebook strategy.


What NOT to do: 
Don´t share only things that are automatically shared on you Facebook page as well. Be creative. Having more followers than you follow is not a rule. Mainly not at the beginning. Interact at least with your friends, employees and your guests you already know. Don´t follow everyone. Think about what you can give, what is the added value, why and who is your hotel interesting for.

Fastest way for news to spread
What to DO:
Twitter is a great place for networking. The more employees are representing the hotel brand and the better networking it brings. Tweet about things happening around your hotel in real time. It is the fastest way for news to spread. You can help your followers to find out all important local news happening around your hotel. On the other hand you can get important updates from your followers. For example if you follow travel sites, you can be informed about actual trends and news.


What NOT to do:
Don´t think it is not important to have your Google Hotel Page. Don´t not ignore your possibilities with G+ and  it might be confusing but once you learn it you can get connected with a lot more people than on facebook. Just to exist on Google + is not enough. You need to be active. Having everyone in one circle is not the effective way how to communicate with people you are connected with. You can´t share the same message with everyone. Don´t forget to create Google+ Local Pages when you are creating you Google+ Business Page. Complete as many information as you can including business name, address, phone number, hours, and business category, as well as post pictures, videos and an appealing description.

Increase your prominence in search engines

What to DO: 
All the things you use Google+ for is meaningful with search terms. Google+ content on search results should make every hotel take notice. You can get in touch with different people. If you add people to your cicles properly, you can target your strategy really effectively. You can share information about your hotel in different communities. This way you can reach potencial guests that even doesn´t know that you hotel exists. Even Google + is not yet as popular as Facebook among your guests, sooner or later it will be. You should start to learn how google + works  because it is the way to increase your prominence in search engines and you can show ahead of your competitors.


What NOT to do:
Do not experiment with if you don´t have quality images. You should pin valuable and interesting photos.
Don´t pin every amazing photo you find in google search. The point is to have your goal, what is your aim to reach with your photos on Pinterest. Not just simply "push" the content out, be experiential.

Users are looking to be inspired

What to DO:
There is a lot to do on Pinterest if you know how. You can show off your design, style, brand. You can act as a destination consultant, give an advice, inspire. Make visual your offer and services (take photos of food, beverage, beds, sauna, wellness, etc.). You can also post photos of special events and occasions. Pinterest users are looking to be inspired.

There is a lot to do with your social media. With a little planning it can be really effective way to promote your hotel. The truth about social media is that it is not replacing marketing and it is either not for reaching direct revenue. The main aim of social marking should be to increase the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Power of word-of-mouth marketing

Social media can be the most effective tool for good quality hotels that care for their guests. 

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