Hotels that leverage social media channels are using social media as way of communication and interaction. As a result, these hotels tend to have more bookings because they are leverage the power of social media to build loyalty and to promote their brand.
Hotels that use social media can see great return on their investment not only with loyalty and branding, but also though influencing the booking behaviors of customers especially as the internet is becoming more localized and reliant on social media for its relevancy.
Social media for hotels does take some time and there are many channels out there. Here is our recommendation of the social media channels that you must communicate through at minimum:
This is the leading social media platform. Use Facebook to continually have a dialog with your leads and customers about the hotel, what customers have said about your hotel and post lots of relevant images. For example, does your hotel allow dog guests? If so, make sure that you photograph your canine friends and say something about them.
This relatively new platform is quickly becoming a dominant player. Whatever that is posted to Google+ is indexed seconds, adding to the localized relevancy of the site. Make sure that whatever event is going on in the local community is posted on your Google+ hotel account. Then, when a last minute booking lead is searching for a hotel, your localized content will often create a booking.
Pintrest can be time consuming but it can have the most impact as a visual social channel. Consider the demographic that is your most valuable booking. Is it the busy Mom who is looking for a getaway, spa-weekend package? If so, you should definitely promote relevant, soothing images on Pintrest.
LinkedIn is used primarily by professional who are networking. If your hotel is booked mainly by business people, you may want to create a company LinkedIn page for your hotel and follow the relevant groups for businesses where you get most of your bookings. For example, if you are serving military contractors, you may wish to join a group so you can follow topics that are being discussed by that group. You can never know too much about your customers.
Foursquare asks mobile users to check in to your hotel or business. Frequent check ins at your hotel can earn badges, rewards and points. Since their friends may see the check ins on their friends social media (like Facebook) this can become an organic referral for you.
Finally, there is no shame in asking your customers to share using their social media channels or yours about your hotel. Be polite and ask your frequent visitors to promote your hotel and say what they like about your hotel. You may want to reward and reinforce social sharing by running a contest (free night, dinner in the restaurant, etc.) or by offering them a discount.
If in the past you’ve thought that social media for hotels was not worth the effort, consider that all of the major search engines are starting to use the content that is already in various search engine channels (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) to decide the relevancy of a website. As we move into 2013, we will continually see ranking and social media become intertwined. If it all seems too much, look for help. There are lots of professional, inbound marketing firms that can help you approach social media to help you grow your business.
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