Online conversations regarding your hotel continually reinforce its online perception to your target audience. Therefore the importance of tactical social media and blogging activities cannot be ignored. Hotels are finding out the hard way that conversations about them are happening online and online communities can be breeding grounds for speculation and rumours. Using social media to manage this risk and to deliver positives to counteract any negatives can be more than just effective in terms of negating any bad press, but also to build your positive “brand noise” and create “brand buzz” around your hotel’s website.
Social media provides new ways to connect with potential guests who you might not be able to get to otherwise, moreover, it can spread your brand presence quickly and further than traditional PR methods. Undertaking social media activity is generally cost effective and enables you to meticulously pick social media sites that match your brand and audience closely. The main consideration for hoteliers has to be time; time to write exciting content in the form of articles, press releases and editorial and time to create profiles on the chosen social media outlets and time to add the content regularly and consistently.
Focused, quality content can help to establish your hotel on the internet but be careful, avoid continually adding self serving content that no one wants to read – the trick is to make the content exciting, noteworthy and topical. This content will also provide a vehicle to point links back to your hotel website which is helpful in generating more traffic to your website. The conversion rate of this new source of traffic can be monitored through your hotel reservation system. Think of your website as a “city” and inbound links to your website are routes into your city, by creating more links from high quality, high visibility sources you ensure there are more ways for your potential guests to find you.
Social media is personal and it’s interactive. By utilising this 21st century means of reaching an audience hoteliers can build deeper relationships that last longer and customer loyalty is reinforced rather than a thing of the past. Your hotel also come across as open and transparent and can demonstrate responses to any bad reviews publically. Suddenly, your hotel becomes more than just an entity; it is given an “image” of which human characteristics are attributed, characteristics that give you the edge on your competition. Past and prospective guest’s opinions and experiences play a vital role in the success of your hotel therefore using social media is key to your credibility.
Author Note: Samantha Hasler heads up the digital marketing team at GlobRes www.globres.com specializing in Hotel Marketing and Hotel Reservations tools.