Social Media: Entertaining the Guests
Social Media has been touted as having an increasingly important role in many aspects of the hotel sector. Boudy Nasrala, managing partner, WonderEight explains. Today’s consumers trust the recommendations of fellow consumers over media generated advertising. Travelers will turn to TripAdvisor for advice or will simply search Twitter to see what people are saying about a particular destination. If your hotel is late on this trend, here’s your round-trip ticket to becoming a bona fide Social Media Hotel.
- Engage with your followers frequently and with humor
It is no coincidence that another word for receiving guests is “entertaining”. That’s what social media is all about, entertaining future clients, depicting what their experience at your hotel will be like and catering to their aspirations and needs. Update your content at least twice a week; include questions that encourage responses and photos, lots of photos! Join the conversation, like their comments and respond with your own. Make them feel already at home. Research has shown that hotels with social media presence witness an increase in direct commission-free reservations. We’ve done this exercise with Le Meriden Commodore Hotel that we rebranded into an independent Le Commodore and compensated the bookings with available online booking.
- Encourage online check-ins
Online check-ins seem like the most obvious thing to do for the experts of check-ins. When guests tag themselves at your property on websites like Foursquare, they’re basically sharing their travels and adventures with friends and family. You can encourage your guests to do so by simply offering a welcome cocktail when they check in online. Another way to attract travelers to your hotel, is by running a foursquare promotion like discounts on their meals or certain upgrades for a number of check-ins. This will make guests chose your hotel over any other in the region.
- Give back
The most renowned hotel chains are now offering promotions to their guests that are directly linked to their social media activity. Yes, loyalty programs are so last year! Marriott has a “Share, like, tweet, repeat” program and Mandarin Oriental offers a “Selfie in Paris” package. Hotelied.com is a newcomer to the hotel booking arena that turns social media presence into real currency. Social media is the future of hotel marketing and a great channel to increase word-of-mouth. We are currently working on a new boutique hotel in Dubai, and we’re already brainstorming on social media strategies that will surely increase ROI and publicity, specifically because this hotel is not linked to any international chains. While writing this article, the WonderEight team and I were on a business trip in KSA and coincidently, I found myself at a restaurant created locally, which used #Foutour_Fares ( فارس_ فطور#) as its brand name! So wing your way across the social media sphere and bon voyage!