This morning, I woke up this morning, switched on my smart phone and checked Facebook. I noticed that a Facebook friend had posted some photos of their hotel where they were staying in Monte Carlo, Monaco – somewhere I am visiting in a few months.
After checking their hotel photos, I followed the link to the hotel’s Facebook page. Their page did not have a lot of information and I could not book directly through social media, so I went to their website where I was about to book – I found it difficult to search for availability because the site was difficult to operate on my smart phone – especially the ‘check availability’ and booking system.
Then I thought – wait a minute! I better find out if this hotel has good service, is in a suitable location and had the facilities are up to scratch. So I did what I thought any savvy, intelligent traveler would do – check the ratings on Trip Advisor. The reviews that were left by visitors saying that their internet connection was slow and the service was not that great lead me to deciding not to book. The lack of social presence and the poor booking capabilities
Then something happened… I then decided to look back to analyze my behavior as a consumer. Then I wanted to know if other travelers had the same or similar buying behavior as me.
The results of my research shocked me.
It seems that I was not the only person that checked my phone first thing in the morning. A new IDC Research report that was sponsored by Facebook, found that 80% reached for their smart phones within 15 minutes after they wake.
Also, in the same study, those polled checked Facebook on their phones an average of 13.8 times a day, for 2 minutes, 22 seconds per visit — about a half hour a day. Well I am a bit below the average on how much time I use Facebook – at least I think I am.
My research found that my friend who posted the photos of the hotel in Monaco was in the majority of travelers that post social media updates. In fact, 70% of travelers update their Facebook page while on vacation (Source: Daily Mail).
As I looked back I realized that I was certainly influenced by his photos. Again – I wasn’t alone. 52% of Facebook users say their friends photos inspire their travel plans (Webbed Feet).
Another similar study by Google Inc.’s certainly backed this up. The 2014 Travelers Road to Decision Research Studies, 47% of people were influenced by social media when making their travel plans.
Let’s not forget that I would have booked the hotel if they had an easy check out process, or even an active Facebook page that could accept direct bookings. Again, I was not alone – a recent Eye for Travel survey discovered that 52% of travelers use social media to plan a trip. I feel that for me at least, that the hotel was a little behind-the-times because they didn’t have any of these two things. I also felt that there was a lack of trust. I was shocked to note that a recent Forbes study found that 82% of consumers trust a company more if they are involved with social media.
But it is not just about having a Social Media presence. You should also ensure that it is updated because a social media account can make you look if it contains old posts. In a survey by Vocus, 85% of customers actually expect businesses to be active in social media.
You should also make sure that you engage your audience too. A lack of social media response can be very detrimental to your hotel and may even lead to cancellations. For example, a Media Bistro study found that 52% of travelers change their plans based on social media activity and responses.
So What Does All This Mean for Hotels?
What is the moral of this story? Make the both on your hotel’s website is mobile-friendly and be sure to have a booking system within your hotel’s Facebook Page. Oh yeh, if your hotel doesn’t have a TripAdvisor profile – get one, fast. 53% of travelers that were surveyed in a Sparkloft Media study found that travelers were adamant they would never book with any business that didn’t have a TripAdvisor profile.
What Should Hotels Do?
Firstly, from this research sharing on social media is important – mainly because friends and friends of friends are influenced by posts shared and photos posted. Start a competition for a holiday at your hotel. The condition of entry is that the person must like your Facebook page and share it with 5 friends. This can be amazingly effective due to its viral nature.
Once you get this social media traffic, remember to engage with your audience. You can do this by posting posts with news, information, videos and photos. But beware, Facebook now wants you to “Boost” all of your posts. You will be best to pay for this, as you can “Boost” your posts to people that have liked your page. This means you are sending offers to those who are likely to actually make a reservation at your hotel.
Be sure that you keep your Facebook page up to date with fresh and engaging content and be sure that you have a mobile-friendly booking system. Also use a system that can accept bookings directly from your social media page.
Allotz Autopilot booking engine now has integration with US company Kaptivating Hospitality’s The Konnector. The Konnector allows you to include a social media booking system – right within Facebook. But it gets even better than this. The Konnector also monitors many social media posts, pins and pages and alerts you when someone is talking about your hotels or hotels in your area.
This allows you to engage directly with your customer. And of course, I don’t need to remind you how important these things are to do. In fact, boosting direct, commission-free bookings is a breeze with this system.
Allotz Autopilot has is the leading channel manager that has a mobile-friendly and secure booking system.
To find out just how easy it is to get The Konnector & Allotz Autopilot visit our website at www.allotz.com or call our office in Australia on +61 7 5667 3400