Revinate has many people across the world that genuinely believe in our product and want to see the platform become a standard at their property, brand or management company. But, when these people aren’t the decision makers in the purchasing process, we need ammunition, especially when social media is run by someone who doesn’t fully understand its potential and thinks of things in terms of hard ROI.
So, when Bain & Company published a report called, “Putting social media to work,” and included a call-out box, titled “Making the business case for social media,” my attention was piqued. Here is what one of the best consulting firms has to say about social media:
Many companies struggle to calculate an ROI on their investment in social media. And without confidence in clear returns, have difficulty securing the funds needed to scale their efforts. Companies that most successfully make the business case for social media use a two-pronged approach.
First, they set clear business objectives for using social media at each step across the customer corridor. They run small, contained pilots, carefully tracking returns to demonstrate whether further investment is warranted. For example, if the objective is to generate leads, the same metrics and measures used to assess the effectiveness of other marketing vehicles can be deployed to gauge the success of a social media pilot campaign. If the objective is to boost customer service, the effectiveness can be measured by service resolutions, relative cost and productivity, call avoidance and the ratios of detractors converted to promoters. Second, companies further build the case by considering the broader value of social media. They articulate the value of engaging their customers where they are increasingly spending time and consider the real business value that authentic engagement can create. Again, customers who engage with companies over social media are more loyal and they spend 20 percent to 40 percent more with those companies than other customers do. Social media platforms are becoming increasingly important for companies to engage with, delight and retain their best customers.
I spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, review sites and location-based services seeing how hotels engage with guest and prospects. I am always pleased when I see a connection being made, whether it’s a tweet welcoming a guest who has virtually checked in, a response to a service request or just a Facebook post about what to do in the local area. Why? Consumers really value these interactions because it shows that there are brands out there that care about more than a transaction and are willing to take the time to get to know their customers.
And, of course, there are real benefits for hoteliers of engaging with guests on social media. Engaged customers not only spend more, but they share experiences with their networks. So if you surprise and delight a loyal guest, he is likely to share that experience with others. And everyone knows how powerful a referral is in the hospitality business. According to Market Metrics, referrals and recommendations drive more bookings than either location or price.
If you adjust your mindset and think about the ‘broader value of social media’ as Bain & Company suggests, what ideas do you have for engaging with guests? Is there a loyalty reward you can offer a guest that checks in using foursquare, or some tips you can offer a twitter user who tweeted that he’s looking for restaurant suggestions in your area? Jump in. Engage. See where it goes.