How to Keep Your Hotel Social Before, During and After the Stay
Although this post is written with Hotels in mind, it relates to anyone who does business with people.
The hospitably and food service industry is not for wimps.
They’re always under pressure to meet bigger expectations with smaller margins.
Competition is fierce whether you carry five stars or three.
But some hotels have broken from the pack and are leading the way by using new technology and social media to attract and keep clients.
Because they understand that to succeed, you have to exceed expectations.
Your client service doesn’t start when you open the door, nor stop when you close it behind your client,
Being social is a 24/7 commitment.
With social media, Hotels can and must engage their clients before, during and after their stay.
Be found –
The guest experience starts at the moment your website is logged onto or your twitter account is is accessed.
With some well placed keywords and sound SEO, finding you on on-line shouldn’t be difficult.
Having a presence on Google+ and sharing consistent content on your blog will improve your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) results dramatically.
Once you are found, be sure to…
Be Worth It -
Once you’ve been found make sure that it was worth it for your clients.
Have lots of great visuals and clear call to actions on your site. This could mean placing a booking engine directly on your Facebook Page or a link to it on all of your online profiles.
Having a special page for new visitors with tips on planning the trip, packing, information about your hotel and area.
Reputation management is vital.
You can be sure that many people will be checking TripAdvisor and other online review sites. Be sure that there is a trail of responses on your reviews to show that you are listening and care about client experience.
Be Responsive -
Social media response time is critical. Guests are used to treating social media as online concierges asking pre-travel questions about where to eat and what to do when they get there.
Help your guests organize and enhance their upcoming visit and encourage the sharing and collection of relevant trip preparation information i.e. trip itineraries – weather and traffic updates – what to pack – special events they may be interested in.
Remember, your competition is only a click away.
The Roger Smith Hotel is a 3 star Boutique Art Hotel in New York whose reputation for using social media to enhance their clients experience is legendary. They offer a special “social” rate.
Be Personal -
With guest information easily accessible online, it’s easy to create a highly targeted marketing and communications program that will optimize your client’s stay and build “up-sell” and “cross-sell” revenue.
Customize your service to your client’s specific tastes and requirements.
Build a client database that includes their general interests and requirements.
I’m not suggesting you check their credit card history, but anything that’s published publicly online is, well – public.
Be Generous -
This is the opportunity for everyone in the hotel to be a personal concierge. Client engagement isn’t the exclusive domain of the Front Desk. Everyone is social.
As host, it’s your job to know what’s happening around you that could enhance your guests’ experience.
Let them know what festivals are going on, shopping deals, stores that cater to their needs etc..
To anticipate your guests’ needs, you need to know who they are.
Be Awesome -
Continue the conversation on social media but make every opportunity to connect in person.
You can do this by leaving handwritten thank-you notes in their room, by addressing them by name whenever you see them and by making note of details about their preferences.
In other words, give them a “WOW” experience.
And don’t forget to encourage them to share the “awesomeness” on their social media sites and TripAdvisor.
Service becomes great and personal with social media
“So after a lovely night sleep I woke up and tweeted the below tweet to my followers.”
“To my astonishment when checking out the sweet lady tweeting for@FSPaloAlto came to personally wish me a safe trip home, this completed the experience. People talk to people, not to brands.”
Be Thankful -
The guests aren’t gone once they leave the building. Every care must be taken to ensure that they don’t feel like they’ve been processed.
This starts with a genuine follow up thank you on Facebook and/or Twitter.
Perhaps a short video could be shared on Google+ with a personalized message.
Be Engaging -
Keep the communication going. Encourage sharing of experiences online.
Give follow up about events they may have participated in.
Encourage feedback through surveys or Page posts by offering a reward program.
Send Happy Birthday or anniversary messages.
Offer the ability to keep in touch with what’s happening on the property by subscribing to a newsletter list or blog.
Be There -
Businesses that remain in contact with past guests are more likely be the first point of contact for future visits.
This is where the community building and reputation management advantages of social media really stand out.
The core of of any “customer loyalty” program is the building of a community around your brand.
By sharing images of their trip online with their friends and interacting with other fans on your Facebook Page, clients are sharing a commonality of experience. A relationship not only with the business is being nurtured but also one with other clients.
The more interaction within your community, the more relevant you stay.
Social networking has propelled companies into the P2P (people to people) business model.
The hospitality industry exists to meet exceed people’s need for shelter,
How more social can you be?
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.