Social media has completely revolutionised the way we live our lives – it’s hard to imagine that there was a time not even that long ago where a day didn’t involve checking our news feeds for vital posts about where are friends are off to on their holidays.
However, sites like Facebook have also changed the ways in which businesses operate – and if you want your hotel to be a success in the 21st century, then you’d do well to get a hotel social media presence and be on top of this vital marketing tool. Here are some of the top ways that social media could work harder for you and drive more direct hotel booking engine for your website.Inspire your would-be guests Much of the content on sites like Instagram and Twitter is aimed at inspiring people – that’s why feeds like ‘the rich kids of Instagram’ are so popular. We want to aspire to a better, more glamorous life, so we take to the internet to do it and use the images and text we see to daydream about what might be.
Even for people who aren’t prone to daydreaming, social media is still an essential tool in the travel research process. According to a Google study, 83 per cent of leisure travellers look at social networks, video or photo sites for inspiration before deciding where to go and what to do.Your job as a hotel owner is to make would-be guests want to be a part of what you have to offer. Take professional-looking photos of your property’s best features, the wonderful beach nearby, your fabulous restaurant and anything else you think might be inspirational, then post them and encourage sharing. Don’t forget YouTube either, as video traffic is becoming ever-more important online and clips can be easily created these days.It’s also possible to inspire people with your words, so think up useful, interesting ideas for articles and get them linked to your social media sites – try topics like ‘how hiking in winter can really chase away the cobwebs’ if you’re on a popular walking route, for instance. Whatever you publish, don’t forget hashtags and the other details that can assist people with sharing content and getting the word out there.
Be there for your guests Gone are the days when guests or would-be travellers would look up your hotel’s landline number in the phone book and sit waiting for you to pick up – today, people typically expect to use social media channels as their customer service portals, especially Twitter. That means you need to be there for them and respond as soon as possible if they have a question, comment or problem.There was a famous incident in which a man became accidentally locked in a bookshop overnight and used Twitter to contact the owners. Had he not been able to do this because the phone line was abandoned for the night – and had they not been monitoring the feed – he might have been trapped until morning. As it was, he was rescued. To effectively use social media in this way, you need to monitor your channels 24/7 and help people out using those same channels, rather than trying to fob them off to another one.
Manage your reviews Social media reviews are becoming ubiquitous and they can be hugely useful – but they can also be a double-edged sword if you get a few bad ones. To ensure your social media is encouraging bookings rather than putting people off, thank as many writers of positive reviews as you can and respond quickly and constructively to negative feedback. This will help other people see you really care about your guests’ wellbeing. Remember that you should be aiming to stay on top of social media trends such as booking via social portals and paid advertising, as it is the hotels that do this that tend to be most successful in the long term. Use your social media pages to reflect your brand, try these techniques and you may see an upturn in your bookings.