The Impact of Social Media on Online Reputations and Booking in the Hospitality Industry
This is an excerpt from our free 2015 Social Media Action Plan for Hoteliers.
Today, information about hotels is available 24/7, and it’s not just from the hotel or travel professionals. Past guests also share their experiences across the web with friends and networks on social media sites, OTAs, and online review sites like TripAdvisor.
This is a huge shift from 20 years ago, when people largely found their inspiration from talking to travel agents and friends, or reading magazines about great places to visit and stay. While the information was readily shared, it wasn’t as widely available or as multi-faceted as it is today. Brands largely controlled the message. Today, travel inspiration often happens on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, where people are readily sharing their photos, videos and experiences, both the good and the bad.
As such, social media presents a new challenge for hospitality. It is a channel that combines hotel marketing and highly transparent customer service. Therefore, the way hoteliers engage with travelers on the web is critical and can be the difference between gaining or losing a new booking. Consider these facts:
⅓ of consumers use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative.
47% of consumers think Facebook is the quickest social media channel to solve a customer service issue.
According to TripAdvisor, 68% of consumers say that if they were considering two comparable properties, the presence of a management response on one listing would sway them in its favor.
Successful messaging to today’s traveler is no longer about selling. It’s about building a long-term relationship with your guests on a one-to-one level. The way to do that is to offer value in ways that enrich the everyday lives of your guests. Hoteliers can’t just provide excellent service to guests during their stays. Hoteliers need to reach their guests before they know they want to take a trip and maintain that relationship beyond the stay. They have to delight before, during, and after a trip through continuous conversations.
So what does this mean for hoteliers? In order to build relationships with and successfully market to past, current and prospective guests, it is absolutely essential for hotels to have an effective social media strategy and active presence across as many networks as possible.
This presents a problem for many hoteliers, as the social media landscape is rapidly evolving. Hoteliers are asking questions that didn’t exist 10 years ago:
What networks are prominent today?
What types of content and strategy work best for each network?
What types of guests are you likely to see on each network?
And for hoteliers with limited time and resources, how can you build a strategy that fits your specific goals?
In this guide, hoteliers will get an overview of the social media landscape. They will also learn about the different types of social media interaction, how to build and operationalize the right plan for their specific hotel, how to set the right goals, and how to measure their success. We also have some tools in the final chapter that will help hoteliers build a plan, including a Social Media Calendar template, and a sample Social Media and Online Reviews Standard Operating Procedures document.