The latest issue of SmartReport is out and it features an article, written by yours truly, about how social media is changing the face of travel. Access the magazine here, in PDF format, or read the article below.
Social Media is Here to Stay (And It’s Growing in Importance)
A few years ago, naysayers said that social media was just a fad. Today there are hundreds of millions of active users on Facebook and Twitter, not to mention major review sites and OTAs.The rapid adoption of social media has changed the way people communicate and discover.
With so many ways to easily share information online, user-generated content has become the go-to source for recommendations. In fact, recommendations from personal acquaintances and consumer opinions posted online are the most trusted forms of advertising, according to the latest Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey.
The Changing Landscape for Hoteliers
It’s no surprise that social media is dramatically changing every aspect of a hotelier’s operation. For one, booking prospects will visit a review site before they go to a hotel’s site. Even if they intend to visit your site, they will see guest reviews on search engines before they arrive.
Review sites continue to grow at an exponential rate. The largest review site, TripAdvisor, has 40 million monthly visitors and more than 35 million reviews and opinions. Reviews have become increasingly important on OTAs and they are driving bookings. PhoCusWright research shows that OTA shoppers who visit hotel review pages in OTAs are twice as likely to convert.
The solution is not to throw up your hands and leave marketing to the review-writing masses. Hotels need to embrace the new channels and use them to drive incremental revenue, create stronger guest relationships and gain market share.
Online reviews and social media have now become the most important measure of guest satisfaction. The feedback is immediate, free-form and public. In this way, reviews and comments about your hotel immediately and directly impact your bookings. Harnessing this explosion of social media content is impossible to do manually, given the amount of content, but the right technology solution makes it easy.
New Technology For Managing Reviews
Reputation management software has been around for a few years and allows brands to aggregate news and mentions into one dashboard. Examples include Radian6 and cymfony. But now niche solutions are becoming available that take into account the unique needs of certain verticals. In the case of hotels, it only makes sense to use reputation management software that puts guest reviews at the heart of the solution. Revinate, for example, allows you to easily see all your reviews, in addition to your competitors’ reviews, in one dashboard. Workflow features allow you to route reviews to other people or respond to the review when allowed by the review site. Revinate brings structure, performance tracking & actionable guidance to today’s stream of social media, which is now more influential than traditional marketing.