Guest Post: What Embracing Social Media Should Mean for Hoteliers
This post was written and submitted by The Grand America Hotels & Resorts, a Revinate client.
Embracing social media and developing relevant content and strategy is what every hotel should strive toward, but don’t take our word for it. According to Travel Weekly’s April 2010 article on Social Media, “Social media use among travelers continues to grow faster than the travel industry itself. Unique monthly visitors to social travel sites rose 34% between the first half of 2008, and the last half of 2009 to 15.9 million.”
With the emergence of social media, the hotel industry worldwide has been trying to keep pace with this new medium and stay connected to their customers. Major hotel brands all over the world are Facebooking, Blogging, Tweeting and setting up their own YouTube channels in an effort to engage with their clientele, provide customer service and generate brand exposure. User generated content is now a valuable strategy for businesses big and small to attract customers. Hotels review sites such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, etc.. play an important role in online engagement. Our hotels are able to track reviews, take note of relevant comments and make specific changes and responses directly to our guests online. More and more travelers are going strictly online to book their trip, and they often rely strictly on online reviews to choose the hotel for their destination.
This is exactly the reason why The Grand America Hotels & Resorts started using social media in May of 2009. Our company has always viewed personalized customer service as a standard and we greatly value these new free and innovative platforms available to connect us with our customers. Getting involved with the local community is also a priority for us. Social media has made it easier for The Grand America Hotels & Resorts to get the word out about our events and promotions, such as complimentary events open to the public like our Annual Grand Holiday Festival, which we will hold again next year. Event like these are designed to welcome Utah residents to our hotels and showcase our efforts to contribute to the great city we live in.
Here are a few examples of how The Grand America Hotel is taking advantage of both Twitter and Facebook in order to connect, engage and learn from our current and prospective guests:
- Growing a relevant fan base. With Twitter in particular, we spend a lot of time staying involved with local residents and meeting planners.
- Listening to what folks are saying. You would not believe how much you will learn about your audience and their needs by listening to what they have to say. If you are listening to and noticing common complaints, take that information back to the source and fix it. That is good customer service. The Grand America has been using Revinate to track and monitor everything from online Social Media to reviews and performance relative to our competitive set.
- Participate in a genuine manner. Everyone can see right through marketing jargon. Social media as a platform for customer service and engagement will fail if you aren’t authentically engaging your audience. We take time to maintain a true dialogue with our fans and followers.
- Offer incentives and value. We regularly reward our faithful fans and followers by offering specials, promotions, contests and giveaways.
- Help current and prospective guests. During a recent Omniture conference at The Grand America Hotel, with roughly 1700 guests in attendance, I was able to provide attendees with information about our facilities and amenities and to offer assistance with reservations via Twitter.
As we all know, social media is not going away any time soon. At our hotels, we look forward to taking advantage of its tools and finding new ways to use its capabilities to add our personal touch to every guest’s experience!