By: Sophie Talbot
As we at MICROS dip our toes gingerly into the world of social media we are fascinated at how our customers are planning or already do use social media in their sales and CRM strategies.
We have customers all across the hotel and restaurant world from tiny boutique properties to massive super hotels and major chains in nearly every country in the world and the word we hear is that they are either well under way or are now realizing the value of a cohesive Social Media strategy.
Some of the many different techniques we’ve heard about include:
♦ Giving Twitter and Facebook followers priority entry at a property nightclub or discounted drinks at the bar. Free appetizers for Facebook friends nearly caused me to be late back from lunch at our local Pei Wei recently!
♦ Marriott has created a Facebookgame which allows both customers and potential employees to run their own virtual hotel – Perhaps that’s why they are so far ahead in terms of the major hotel brands in terms of Twitter followers with close to 125,000 followers. A great idea to both amuse bored travelers and reach a fresh pool of potential employees. Hotel-Blogs.com has an interesting post about the top 10 hotel groups on Twitter. Link
♦ Turning negative comments into positive feedback and rankings on TripAdvisor by actively addressing complaints posted and resolving customer issues post stay. I’ve just heard that Trip Advisor released a tool called Management Center which helps hoteliers communicate with TripAdvisor users, should make this process easier.
♦ Foursquare is the king of location-based mobile apps today – using the latest in GPS coordinates; users are able to “Check-In” to any hotel, restaurant, event or place and in exchange receive marketing messages offers badges and honors to keep the user engaged. Many businesses honor their Foursquare mayor with discounts and freebies to encourage loyalty. Alain Classe, IT Director for the Inter-Continental Geneva provides a great step by step use guide Hotels: Tutorial Foursquare for Hoteliers at his blog at Hospitality Mangement.CH
While these are the well-known social media sites there are many more niche sites available. The more interactive a hotel brand or hotelier is with guests; the greater the need becomes to translate guest loyalty and spend into return on investment. Online Reputation Management (ORM) teams are beginning to form within the national brands. Their goal is to ensure that marketing goals of the business are delivered to the guest via the right medium with a clear and concise message that relates back to the sales and market initiative and goals.
According to the below article Internet bookings have grown 25% ** overall in the past 4 years; the need for a consistent and guest responsive social media strategy is an essential tool for all hoteliers. Well-engaged management, line staff and social media savvy consumers are the order of the day and are here to stay, well at least until the next big thing comes along!