Social Media For Hotels


Social Media For Hotels

 

Social Media for Hotels

Social Media for Hotels

Introduction to Social Media for Hotels

When it comes to social media this is what every hotel owner and managers should know. In this article we will examine hotel buyers, hotel marketing and online opportunities using social media and other online marketing options. By reading this article it will put you in the top 10% of hotel marketers and online sales that will generate greater customer interest, engagement and conversions. Upon reading this article you will have the insight and basic framework to commence or review your online marketing plan immediately.

Hotel Buyers Use the Internet and Social Media

 

Increasingly buyers or those looking for accommodation and hotels are using the internet and other social media tools. The demand is measurable using Google’s suite of research and analytical tools. Current trends show a month-on-month and year-on-year growth as buyers turn to the internet to find hotels and deals.

Over the past couple of years, buyers no longer just use the search engines to find accommodation and hotels but they share and collaborate with friends in social networks, blogs and review sites. Much of this is outside of the hotel and accommodation sectors marketing focus and direct control. However, the impact benefits can be huge.

With continuous changes to the internet, consumer trends and buyer demands, greater options and variation is available to buyers in order to make an informed decision. These options range from video, blogs, reviews, articles and site specific content or deals.

Key platforms used by buyers, and those that rate very well on search engines are: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Blogspot and many more. It is not the platform that is important but the context and manner in which the search is conducted and influencing the outcome of the results.

Hotel buyers are seeking solution to general questions and needs such as “cheap deals”, “accommodation”, “location X”, “hotel stays” and “location hotels”. These searches are where the measurable and buying traffic originates but hotels and accommodation providers have been very slow to adapt and capitalize on this money market sector. All too regularly, buyers are not meeting sellers and hotel owners are not getting as much business as they could if they adapted to change.

Hotel Marketing Out of Sync

 

Most hotels and chains believe the solution to their future is with the collective booking sites and on-sellers of hotel deals and packages. This is simply not true. If anything, the search engines are increasingly penalizing these sites as they show less-and-less favor for returning results to a general search that leads them to yet another search engine and search requirements on a non-targeted site. In short, they constitute a competitive option to the search engine providers. More targeted and relevant sites will ALWAYS get preference over generic or aggregated sites, the only reason this is not currently reflected in all searches today is that there is not enough targeted, quality options to return for these searches, so the search engines have to show something, or loose business themselves.

A recent survey and audit we conducted of over 250 hotels, showed that less than 10% of sites and hotels/accommodation providers had even the most basic of strategies to connect them to 90% of their market. The primary reason for this is two fold. The first is that like many businesses their online presence is that of a legacy approach, often stemming from when they first set up their sites and online footprint many years ago. The internet, consumers and choices have increased exponentially but they have not kept pace and in many instances older, more established brands have lost online market share to newer more dynamic and in-sync providers. The second reason is the industry itself. Running and managing a hotel or accommodation facility is not an easy undertaking and most likely a 24 hour task. The hourly and daily demands means that owners and managers tend to get more entrenched with the here and now issues than that of market trends, changing buyer patterns and adapting to new technology. While many people have experience and training in traditional business practices such as management, finance and traditional marketing, surprisingly few have any training or experience in contemporary marketing, social media or internet marketing.

Marketing is all about appearing where your customers are found or looking. Businesses provide an address, phone number, website and even a fax number to aid customers in finding and communicating with them. Why then do they appear in other areas or formats for customers to engage and communicate? Given the hundreds of social media and online options, if a hotel or accommodation provider is not present in at least 4 of those locations, then they are at an extreme disadvantage and will progressively loose market share. There is no rule that states “You may only have one website” nor is there one that states “You will never appear more than once on the front page of a Google search”.

Most of the online opportunities for hotels and accommodation providers goes unrealized, a few are making good on the low cost of entry, smart targeting, continuous value and relating to customers like never before to grow their business and even dominate local and online markets.

Online Opportunities with Social Media for Hotels

 

With the slow adaptation and lack of understanding amongst the hotel industry, providers and marketing teams from hotels and accommodation suppliers can still get incredible results in short periods without massive outlays. With a calculated and systematic entry or review, hotels can reduce their cost of acquisition, increase up sell opportunities and create a greater repeat business model.

Social media is an ideal “vehicle” for distribution of content. Not just content for the sake of content but valuable and relevant content to those that care or want to consume this and more on their ideal topics. Create your own subject specific “channel” for communication.

The first step for hotels is to conduct a keyword, online analysis to see what are the most common and frequently used terms and expressions for their business offering. Not their brands or services. The next step is to listen; that is watch and listen what is being said and distributed about their respective niche. Find out what consumers are looking for, what they are say, how they view competitors and above all determine what they need to get more of in the way of hotels, accommodation, food and meeting venues. Next hotels need to speak, on their passion, there offering and their knowledge of the location and things in the vicinity of their hotel or accommodation. This provides opportunity to promulgate information and establish what works and what doesn’t. It does take time and practice. If it were easy, everyone would have already done it but it is easier than most think. Lastly, it is time to engage. Have two way conversations. Listen to what is said about you, your services and your offering and engage. Honestly an sincerely, not in a fake or prefabricated manner. This is a human-to-human process not corporate to individual. Those days have passed.

Conclusion: Social Media for Hotels

Now that you understand the importance of getting your social media for hotels and online marketing approach correct, you should immediately compare your current approach to the optimized one we have outlined here. In this article we have covered hotel buyers, hotel marketing and online opportunities using social media and other online marketing options. If you put this to immediate use, you will see improvement and significant potential for both increased customers and market share.

Social Media for Hotels by

Tony Ridley

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About Tony Ridley
Travel health, safety, security and risk management expert.

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