The Power of the Social Network

By Costin Rizan 

With social networks being all the rage is it really any wonder that businesses in the hospitality industry are really excited about using them to their fullest? But what benefits can social networks bring to your business and what are some of the tools that can help you capitalize on this relatively new trend?

One interesting aspect of social networks is what Facebook calls a fan page. Fan pages allow a business to establish a presence on Facebook and thus interact in real-time with some of their best customers. When someone ‘likes’ your Fan Page they basically say: “I really enjoy what you have to offer and like visiting your business”. Please keep in touch and let me know about new or exciting changes. Notice, this probably does not mean, “Please spam my Facebook wall, with discount coupons several times a day!”

Studies show that people who have ‘liked’ a business on Facebook, tend to spend the same amount of money when visiting the actual business, but they visit it on average 20% more. (http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-pages-loyal-customers-2010-02 ) Every business owner, small or large has to like those kinds of numbers. Best of all, Facebook fan pages allow you to reach out directly to your customer and provide an avenue for immediate feedback.

MICROS currently offers consulting services that can help you establish a Facebook presence, whether it is a new Fan Page or a customized tab page that you can add to your existing Fan Page. Typically, we can allow your customers to both check availability and, just as important, book a room directly from within Facebook. We also provide plenty of links that will drive traffic to your full site, as well as drive traffic to your other offers.

Because each property is unique, we customize the look and feel of the Fan Page interface to your brand, thus keeping the user experience consistent and allowing your customers to move seamlessly from one platform to another.

But we’re not stopping there! In the near future, hotels will be able to use our webHotel product to manage both their full site and their Facebook offerings from the same administration interface. Not only will this provide the pricing consistency that customers are expecting but also dramatically simplify the management of multiple marketing platforms.

Imagine being able to push out special offers to your best customers both on your web site and the social platforms simultaneously and not have to worry that your customers are accessing broken links, expired offers or other frustrating user experiences.

The ability to manage your offerings from one central location will become even more important in the future as social platforms multiply. Just a few weeks ago, Google announced that it is getting into the Fan Page game with its own ‘Google Pages’ platform.

Now, it is way too early to know whether ‘Google Pages’ specifically will take off, after all Facebook has over 500 million users, making it the number one platform at the moment. Never the less, as a technology company we keep an eye out for new entrants that have the ability to change the way we do business. After all, Facebook got started with one person’s idea; the sooner we identify emerging opportunities and teach our customers how to use them to promote their brand, the more profitable they will be!

Find out more about what MICROS can do for you! For more information contact us at info@micros.com Phone: 866.287.4736 (US and Canada)

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