Like it or not, social media is upon us and the floodgates of transparency have been well and truly flung open.

For the hotel which offers a good service social media can be a blessing but one that does have its perils if you don’t know what you’re doing.

In all businesses it’s said that you need to show up where your customers are and then get their attention.  This remains true in the hospitality industry and one thing is clear, your customers are on social media and that means you need to be too.

Why Social Media?

When presented with a range of hotels many will shop on price alone.

Over the past twenty years consumers no longer call hotels enquiring about room rates and facilities.  They now have the information instantly and you lose the opportunity to connect with them directly.

It’s a very passive process, however, with social media allowing the hotelier a window into the consumer’s world you can now regain that advantage and stand out from your competitors if you do things the right way.

A study by Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research entitled “The Impact of Social Media on Lodging Performance (2012)” found that online guest satisfaction has a direct impact on the financial performance of hotels.

It demonstrated that a one point increase in the hotels ReviewPro Global Review Index leads to a 0.89% increase in price, a 0.54% increase in occupancy, and a 1.42% increase in revenue per available room.

Also, social media users loves to share their travel experiences online and hotels are a big part of that so they are well positioned to take advantage of this.

Guests “check in” on Facebook and share the good stuff but beware because they also share the bad stuff too like a negative review on TripAdvisor.

Too many negative comments can be bad but by being online you can manage those comments and influence them so we recommend every hotel be active online.

What to Write About?

Don’t write about yourself.  Your guests don’t care about you they care about them.

Give them content that is engaging from their perspective and ask yourself what you would want in their shoes?

What attractions are nearby? What things can you offer that other hotels can’t?  What they can do while they stay with you?

Go easy on the promotion and just be casual and conversational.

Marriot post images of luxurious rooms or areas of their hotel.  Do this and use intrigue, curiosity and open ended questions to arouse interest by posting an image of the spa and asking “Isn’t it time you had a break?”

Who Uses Social Media Most?

JPMorgan Chase and Braun Research suggest almost all age groups consult social media when planning travel in the U.S.

Conducted in April 2014, it showed the following percentages of people said they were likely to seek opinions via social media when travel planning:

  • 28% between 35 -49
  • 44% between 18-34
  • 11% between 50-67

Studies from Destination Analysts called “Travel planning methods of (demographic name) in the United States as of July 2014”showed how each demographic used social media to plan travel:

Category

Baby Boomers
(1946-1964)

Generation X
(1960 – 1980)

Millennials
(1980 and 2000)

#1

Destination Website – 30.1%

Mobile phone 53.2%,

Mobile phone 71.6%,

#2

Mobile phone 25.5%

iPad or tablet – 34.4%

iPad or tablet – 50.1%

#3

Ordered printed guide from Destination Website –  22%

Destination Website – 31.1%

Facebook – 47.6%

 

Is Social Media Right For Your Hotel?

All things considered the recommendation is for all hotels to develop a social media presence because quite simply, your customers are on social media and you need to be too.

However, time is a resource and as such we want to ensure a return on investment, therefore we suggest that the hotels with something interesting about them will do better on social media. That is of course provided you offer interesting content, you can still generate good results but you need to tap into the “experience” of staying with you and not just the commodity of a room for a fee.