The reputation of your hotel on social networks is more important than ever – Hotel-Online
DJ Vallauri | March 16, 2020
DJ Vallauri, Founder, CEO and President of Lodging Interactive, gives his take on the importance of social media reputation platforms in today’s environment.
TO WARN: If you are a hotelier who thinks all marketing and communications programs should end immediately, read no further… this is not the best use of your time.
Communications technology has come to the forefront of travel. The ability to connect widely with guests around the world is only available through social media platforms. There are many reasons why, more than ever, properties should focus on maximizing their social media reputation. Let’s discuss a few here:
Social media platforms are your hotel’s primary global communication vehicle.
According to Statista, in January 2020, Facebook had 2.5 billion active users and its Instagram platform had 1 billion active users. Every hotel should consider the global reach and opportunities that Facebook-owned platforms can offer. While organic reach has declined significantly over the past year, Facebook-promoted and sponsored posts continue to provide an attractive option for hoteliers to increase their reach in strategically targeted ways. And the good news is, you don’t have to spend a lot to get your posts seen by thousands of potential future guests.
Use social media platforms to build relationships during tough times.
As consumers we have a lot of choices these days, but experience shows us that people want to do business with brands that “understand” them and understand their needs. Building relationships with your potential customers, over time, will create brand loyalty for your hotel and your unique mode of customer engagement. Once you’ve captured the loyalty of your prospects, your property will be their top concern and their number one consideration on their journey to your destination.
With all the headlines surrounding the COVID-19 virus, consumers may not think it is safe to enjoy a stay at your property. Use your hotel’s social media platforms to make them feel comfortable with their choice to stay with you.
Pro tip: If you really want to woo your potential guests, be there 24/7 through popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp if you’re targeting the international traveler. We’ve all gotten used to using messaging apps and just being available will provide a huge competitive advantage. Remember, your competition is probably reading this article too!
Social media platforms allow you to connect with your audience.
Your hotel’s target audience is already on social media and wants to stay up to date with what’s going on in your local destination. For example, you may be aware of local events (ie concerts, conferences, etc.) that may have recently been canceled. You should feel free to use social media platforms to provide your unique version of a “public service announcement”. Stick to the facts of course and make sure your post isn’t seen as opportunistic in nature. If you are a brand property, share the information your brand endorses regarding what you CAN say and be careful what your brand might NOT want you to say.
You can deploy “soft sell” tactics through your hotel’s social media platforms.
Don’t go overboard with the sales pitch, remember we’re all in crisis mode, but it’s perfectly fine to sprinkle some “soft sell” messages every now and then. Being too aggressive with your offers will make your property immune to what’s going on in the world. Mix things up and consider posting “business” information every two weeks or so.
Pro tip: As mentioned above, don’t be seen as an opportunist. Social media platforms are your “megaphone,” but please speak quietly.
Social media platforms remain the go-to websites when planning travel, this has not changed.
Your potential guests always want to hear from you and stay connected. When you consider the number of people who now work from home and are physically disconnected from their usual friends and office routines, it is realistic to expect more people to turn to social media platforms. Another big reason why your property should stay engaged on social media.
Consider posting up-to-date videos on your property’s social media and sharing what’s going on around you.
The demand for video content continues to increase and trends in video content are supporting higher engagement rates with consumers. Simply, consumers love to watch videos on social media. Consider partnering with local businesses and attractions to showcase the destination and unique features of your property. Your intention should be to establish engagement opportunities with future customers so that they are prepared and ready to book with you when we enter a payback mode.
Social media platforms have video technology capabilities built in and with a little advanced planning you can create great video content that will resonate with your potential guests.
Pro tip: Consider providing interviews and short videos with your general manager to show off what it’s like to run a hotel, behind the scenes, or have your executive chef go through some of their favorite recipes. Again, it’s about connecting with your potential customers, they’ll enjoy the momentary distraction from the everyday headlines and your video content will resonate with them while keeping your hotel in mind.
When demand Is come back and we all know it, you will be able to thank your social media platforms for helping you build trust and engagement with your customers. Social media is not always used to promote your #tacotuesday but should be used to communicate, in general, with your audience. During this global health crisis, be sure to change your message and tone a bit and take advantage of global social media platforms and all their capabilities.
Special note to our customers.
We understand that you may encounter serious cash flow issues which are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. That’s why we make it our business to provide you with the ongoing social media reputation management services you need at a lower cost. If you are interested in this, please contact me directly so that we can discuss it further.