By Sara Alderman | @Sea6789
In 2010, the hospitality industry was just getting their feet wet in regards to social media. The blog Hotels and Social Media? Oh My! talks about using social media to increase brand loyalty and get customer reviews as the two key focuses of this up and coming marketing tool.
It has been a little over a year since the blog was written and it is time to dive into social media head first, if you haven’t already. In the hospitality industry using social media (and using it well) can cause your sink, or swim.
Most people do not think of sites like Trip Advisor as social media, and therefore do not monitor them. Hotel review sites are growing in importance. According to a recent Social Media Commerce Today article, more than 60% of Americans read online reviews. Not only is that number staggering, but online review sites now have the option to post to other social media sites. If you are not monitoring, interacting and communicating on review websites then controlling your image, especially online, will be almost impossible.
We have all had good and bad experiences when traveling, and most of the time the first thing you do is pick up your phone and tweet. Social media sites (Twitter, Facebook and Blogs primarily) have become great tools for venting frustrations and singing praises. Having an online presence may seem to put a target on your back, but handling comments correctly can help your reputation and help you gain new customers. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t ignore negative comments, apologize and address the problem publicly
- Privately ask for details and follow through with fixing the issue
- Respond to mentions and retweets in a timely manner (everyone loves to be talked to)
Being active on social media means nothing if you have no way to measure your success. Using simple tools that are free and easy to use can make a huge difference when deciding how to use social media. Tools such as Facebook Insights and Google Analytics can not only tell you how many people have gone to your website, but also the age, gender and unique visitors.
When linking to an online store or reservation page from Twitter or Facebook, use Ow.ly as a link shortener and you can use their analytics to tell how many times the link to your reservation or online store was opened.
Using social media in the hotel industry is no longer an option, but doing it the right way is. With these simple tips you will swim, not sink in the ocean that is social media.
- CASE STUDY- The Adolphus