When it comes to marketing, there is absolutely no doubt that social media is really one of, if not the, most imperative factor to take into account. From the early days of Facebook when it was created for university students to network with one another, to the more recent sites such as Instagram, being able to immediately connect with others has really changed the way in which we work online as well as how society interacts.
After all, most companies have roles created specifically for someone to manage their online presence, and so many celebrities would perhaps not be where they are today if it wasn’t for the opportunities that social media presents us with. Even some of the most traditional businesses who may have at first struggled with implementing a social media strategy are now beginning to embrace it. While it may seem a bit daunting as you are opening up the floor for criticism should any followers post negative reviews, the benefits of using social media totally outweigh any negatives and even if a customer does report something that isn’t so favourable, it offers you the opportunity to respond and show others just how much you value constructive criticism. It is, therefore, no surprise that social media is now something that is necessary within the hotel industry.
However, a recent study by TravelClick has surprisingly shown that almost 25 per cent of all hotels don’t actually use social media at all to help increase their brand awareness and, in turn, their business. This is somewhat concerning and the research also showed that such hospitality management companies were more likely to spend money on actual paid advertising instead of using social media sites. While investing money into such a service may seem appealing, it does mean that the businesses are losing out on increasing profitability through social media, which is not only cost-effective as the majority are free to use, but also more personable.
Through social media, hotels can really expand their marketing strategy and given how many establishments are, of course, interested in saving as much money as possible, this is one of the greatest opportunities available to reach potential and returning customers for no extra cost. If you haven’t yet implemented social media, then why not think of it as an extension of customer service? It is there to be used in a bid to show customers what your brand is all about, what you can offer and what a stay at your establishment would be like. You have the opportunity to speak for the company, to offer a glimpse of the etiquette and standards you adhere to while still letting some of the hotel’s personality shine through. You shouldn’t be afraid while posting online, either, as the more approachable you are, the better. Any special offers that you have coming up, such as a free bottle of wine with dinner, or any particular suites that your establishment has can be further promoted through Facebook or Twitter by simply uploading a relevant image and a quick, catchy tagline about what it is. Similarly, if the offer is only available for a set amount of time, make sure you post exciting messages to let your customers know that this is limited and so they need to act quickly.
The more followers you have, the more you will appear to be a leader within the industry and many potential customers are likely to look through how many people follow and recommend you. In this respect, you must see social media platforms as mini review sites. Why not start up some conversations with followers? Ask questions such as “What is your favourite part of staying away in a hotel?” and you will naturally begin to converse with potential customers, and, if you are able to, can mention some of your features without it seeming like a direct sales pitch. Offer advice to your guests to engage them and interest them in seeing what they can learn from you. If they feel that through your social media platforms you are an approachable company that is knowledgeable when it comes to the travel industry, they are likely to trust you more and want to stay at your establishment.
Whatever you decide to do, it is important to create a social media presence within the hotel industry as the benefits of doing so are simply terrific.