Social media has had an immense impact in pretty much all aspects of our lives. It has changed the way we relate, learn, have fun, and even affects how people chose to travel. Hotels and other businesses within the travel industry are finally beginning to understand that ways of a focused approach to Social Media can help create a strong brand, allow a greater exposition world wide, drive sales, create and maintain better relationships with customers as well as to provide the perfect tool to interact directly with them.
Social media for hotels and social media in general has had an immense impact in pretty much all aspects of our lives. It has changed the way we relate, learn, have fun, and even affects how people chose to travel. Hotels and other businesses within the travel industry are finally beginning to understand that ways of a focused approach to Social Media can help create a strong brand, allow a greater exposition world wide, drive sales, create and maintain better relationships with customers as well as to provide the perfect tool to interact directly with them.
Knowing that direct internet booking are increasing at a pace of 50% annually, its more of a fact than a choice. Hotels have to get into the online world if they are to keep up with customer’s trends. If people are changing the way they communicate and relate, then hoteliers must follow suit and adapt to a changing environment.
So, what are some techniques social media for hotels can use for their advantage?
1. Social media for hotels – Know your media, know your customers:
It is a fact of the online world that people with different interests and opinions will organize themselves among communities, though there are some online media websites like Facebook who seem to cater to everyone, most Online networks have a very specific “type” of user, thus it is very important to understand which media outlets reflect your hotel’s target market the best.
As an example, hotels looking to tap the professional/business travelers markets, should opt for a strong presence on Twitter, a platform which is filled with professionals and tech savvy individuals. Along the same lines, LinkedIn would also be a good social media outlet to focus on when searching for the business travelers, as this site is used by millions of professionals world wide.
By being active on these social media sites properties can create a following and put themselves in a good position to be found by new potential customers. We shall never forget how important the old “word to mouth” factor is for a hotel’s reputation and business, and in this modern world, social media is steadily becoming the main channel we use to communicate.
2. Social media for hotels – Reaching new clients:
A strong presence within social networks allows hotels to constantly update their upcoming events, promotions, amenities and services to a wide range of potential customers without spending huge amounts of time and money in advertisement, and don’t forget, people are online all the time! Even though world wide reach of social media sites is not as prevalent as the US, these numbers still account for billions of dollars of potential bookings waiting to happen.
All it takes to maintain and manage a good following online is to keep to the basics: Upload relevant and quality content while making sure you update this content regularly. As long as there is a good flow of content coming from your hotel across relevant social media outlets and your website, its just a matter of time until more and more new potential customers stumble upon it in the web (and share it with their friends!). Learn how to make a great Facebook Fan Page and why you should use Twitter.
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In case you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities (and lack of ideas) here’s an article which shows some of the most successful social media campaigns done by organizations inside the travel industry. It’s amazing to see how a little creativity and effort can have such a large impact across the virtual world (and revenues!).
3. Social media for hotels – Focused Marketing and Advertisement:
How exactly are trends changing in the travel industry as technology and the internet take over our reality? It is a fact that travelers world wide, both leisure and business travelers, are choosing to make their own arrangements through online travel agents and directly through hotel websites.
Luckily, social media sites make it extra easy for you to reach your target market, now a days you can target huge groups of people (as many as you like really, as long as you have the money of-course) based on their age, income group, interests, geographic location, circles of friends and many, many other factors. It then becomes easy to create taylor made marketing campaigns, for example, hotels that specialize in family vacations can send ads to people that they know have children and the means to pay for the hotel’s products.
On top of allowing for a specific targeting of people, social media marketing also means a reduction of advertisement costs. Through the great analytic tools offered by social media sites, we can see which particular campaigns were more popular than others, who they were popular with, who shared which content with how many other people, and tons of other very powerful insights that give marketers a lot of fire power.
With more and more people looking to make their own travel arrangements, this means a wealth of potential customers ready to take a look at what your hotel has to offer. Here’s a more extensive post about the specific features of advertisement tools on social media.
4. Social media for hotels – Connecting with the customer:
The stronger the emotional connection a customer develops with your hotel/brand, the more chances there are of that customer coming back, and never forget that for hotels, customer retention is one of the main factors that will guarantee its success.
Imagine the great satisfaction potential (and regular) customers can obtain from receiving an almost immediate reply from one of their comments on Trip advisor or Facebook. It will show not only that you care about their opinions and inquiries, but it will also portray your company as an efficient and well oiled service providing machine, and to hotels this means guarantee bookings!
You can check out YOHOTELS Facebook page for an example of how a hotel can take full advantage of Social Media to create and maintain a close and very friendly relationship with their customers, while making themselves look really cool in the process.
5. Social media for hotels – Branding:
The great thing about social media is that it provides the perfect platform to represent your brand directly to the client. Through a smart combination of the tricks mentioned above, we can target our specific markets with customized advertisement to their mobile phones, create a close relationship by responding to their posts on Facebook and Twitter and create a following through our events page. Its a very personalized and close way to relate to clients which will create trust in our Brand and service.
Hotels can even take it further and invest in a mobile app. What better way to build a long lasting relationship with your clients than a direct communication channel between the two of you? Everything from promotions to direct bookings can be done in a breeze with a mobile application, the clients will be happy, the hotel will get a reputation for good service and the perfect platform to showcase their brand.
Here’s an example of some extreme personal and mobile services from some the world’s best hotel brands.
6. Social media for hotels – Achieve More Direct Bookings:
Valued at an approximate 8.0 Billion dollars (a 6.5% increase from last years figures), direct booking through mobile devices are becoming a real factor in hotel’s financial sheets .
Though not strictly a Social Media Site, having an efficient and well managed website is becoming a basic necessity for any property that wants to remain profitable and competitive, after all, the website is a hotel’s best and most direct tool to shape their online presence, and if done properly, it can easily become the main driving force behind most bookings.
We can’t afford to go too deep inside the topic of SEO (search engine optimization) , but just know its also a vital part in maintaining your company well visible inside the ever more clustered world of the internet. For more information on SEO please check out our SEO general information and our SEO tips in memes, and (in case you have the time) don’t be afraid to explore the rest of our articles on social marketing.
As for now, the industry needs to understand that people are becoming much more independent in a virtually driven world, hotels must follow and ensure, they too, are putting effort in creating direct booking channels online for their internet savvy customers. It will become very important for hotels to have a well managed website, learn to Facebook, Twitter and should provably think about a mobile application (at the very least!)
7. Social media for hotels – Hiring talented individuals:
It’s absolutely no secret that great individuals make up great companies. Hotels, as it happens, greatly depend on a talented workforce to be able to provide what is expected of them. It’s easy to standardize a product, but to standardize something as intangible as a service…? Not so easy! You truly need people you can trust and rely upon.
As an example, what if a hotel needs a new assistant manager who must speak both english and Chinese, have some web-design knowledge and a good customer service mentality? This would have sound ridiculous and near impossible to find a decade ago, now a days however, thanks to platforms like LinkedIn, an individual with those same exact characteristics is just a web-search away (LinkedIn will soon reach 300 million users)
Hotel properties can now find individuals based on their age, languages spoken, nationality, previous experience, specific skills, you can even set up a search to find people that have similar skills. This is truly an invaluable tool to any hotel looking for talented staff and it would be impossible to accomplish without social media and its global reach.
As we have seen, there’s a wide range of advantages hotels can obtain by putting more time and effort in their online and social media requirements.Though generally a very traditional industry, hotels world wide are waking up to the fact that without a good management system to their Social Media they will face harder times operating in our growing virtual reality.
Here at Web Courses Bangkok , we have seen a great increase in inquiries from hotels looking to get the technical knowledge and expertise required to create and sustain an effective online presence, so its indeed reassuring to see that Thailand (with it’s enormous dependance on tourism) is ready to face the challenges (and great rewards) the new wave of Online Media promises to bring along.
In case you, your business partners or your friends are looking for an introduction into the ever expanding world of technology and online media, don’t forget to check out our available courses at WebCoursesBangkok.com
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