According to All Food Business’ website the ‘two main reasons are given from the restaurant industry to not be on social media are, first, lack of time and, second, their routines’. Even though these reasons seem founded, some still find the time to utilize social media and they are doing it really creatively. Since this industry is vulnerable to customers reviews. Those reviews can mean that you will either have more customers, if the service is good, or less customers, if you have too many bad reviews. The restaurant industry is really competitive, Dean Koutroumanis point out in his article that ‘hotels and restaurants are continually competing for employees, locations, and more recently information about customers.’ This means that the one that decide to go on social media will definitely have an advantage over others.
Restaurants will gain much more by being present on social media than they would if they decided not to get on board. Reviews will be written about you even if you are not there, might as well be there to respond. Chef Achatz interviewed by Jenny An likes to hear complaints from customers […] ‘the more we know about who is coming into our restaurant, the better we’ll be able to fulfill our obligation to do what will make them feel happy.’ This is the best way to deal with reviews, embrace them and respond. It will give you information and you will gain respect from your customers.
Social media is all about creating relationships with your current and future customers. When it comes to food, it’s all about what you see and social media is a great way to share pictures of the food they can have at your restaurant. ‘Fans enjoy seeing pictures of your delicious, appetizing food and drinks, and they respond well to it’ (Jenny An: For Restaurants, Social Media Is About More Than Just Marketing). Some restaurants go further than just taking pictures of food and their menus, some chefs like ‘Chef Joanne Chang of Boston’s Myers and Chang Flour Bakery personally tweet photos of the kitchen staff at work’ (Jenny An). So it’s not just about the food, restaurants on social media are also utilizing it to present their Chefs to their customers. This creates a special link between the customers and the restaurant… now they know the background of the person cooking for them.
Finally, here are some good practices for the restaurant industry when it comes to the usage of social media. First, get started, if you don’t have a profile get one, if you are not using it, start doing so. The only way you will get used to it is by practicing. Second, develop a social media strategy; determine which social media is most relevant to you and how you want to use it. Third, show off, people love to see where they’ll be eating and the different recipes they’ll be able to choose from when they visit you. When it comes to food the visual effect is crucial. Finally, be consistent online and offline; you have to live up to the expectations you are creating online or your customers won’t repeat their experience with you.
As Todd Wasserman points ou in his article the Hotel Industry is one of the industries whose faith is now closely linked to online reviews. That makes it very important for them to be connected and also to put in place a proper environmental scanning of the web. Some in the Hotel industry have decided to be proactive with social media, for example ‘Sofitel has appointed social media co-ordinators to send out targeted messages based on their guests’ personal profile [and] InterContinental has a social media customer care team who monitor complaints on social media channels and resolve them in real time.’ (Merging Worlds get Personal as Hotel Chains take to Social Media). There is a strong tendency in the travel industry to have appointed staff to take care of social media full-time. If you remember my post of last week, some airline like KLM are doing the same. It is now more important than even for business to see what is being said about them. The thing is it’s not because you are not on there that people won’t talk about you; to be able to be proactive and respond you better get on there so people get information from you as much as possible. Mr. Wasserman made another valid point when he said that ‘consumers no longer get all their information about your establishment from your marketing materials’, the customers go way beyond to find information about you by finding reviews on different sites. With the rise of social media, every customer is a critic of your services and they can have an effect on your business. What your customers will appreciate is you being accountable and honest when answering to a bad review. The Accommodation Industry is exposed and has to be able to respond.
Social media can be used by the accommodation industry for reasons other than promotion and environmental scanning. In fact, Christopher Parr found out that the ‘top-tier hotels are now using Twitter for concierge services, social geo-locating platforms to unlock free gifts, Facebook for customer service and YouTube to showcase unique properties. They are finding new, large and responsive audiences across the social web.’ To read more on this click here. In the use of social media the Hotel Industry should always try to be creative and innovate to capture people’s attention.
Gathering insight on your customers
The Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel in Ibiza has pushed their use of Social Media even further by providing their guests with bracelets that connects with their preferred social media and the bracelets checks them in when they go to different places in the city. To have more information on what was done and how it was implemented read Kevin May’s article here. All these platforms offer them the chance to get closer to their customers and to understand their specific needs. This enables the hotel to follow its clients and more importantly to gather information about their interest to better serve them.
There are products made to facilitate the environmental scanning of the accommodation industry. Eric Sass describes in an article the product Social Feedback for Hospitality which helps the Hotels keep track of reviews. ‘The program collects reviews from different social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and so on), and also ‘includes a “customer-recovery” capability that allows hotel owners to answer every piece of feedback they receive via social media.’ Products like these make it easier for the businesses to keep up with everything that is being said without having to constantly check every Travelling Review Sites. It brings all the reviews together and you can respond to them from the program.
You can treat Social Media as a threat or as an opportunity. The way you decide to treat it will also define your strategy. But I honestly think that with the speed to which a review can be written the Accommodation Industry should be present and active on social media. As ‘Hospitality Management Holdings president and CEO Michel Noblet [mentions], social media provided a powerful way to interact with customers’ (Louise Oaklay, Social Media ‘a revolution’ for the Hotel Business). Social Media is much more than just a communication channel, it provides you with an opportunity to listen to what the people that keep you into business think.
Today I am sharing with you my first video.
For a class assignment we had to interview one of our fellow student about our subject. Claire was the student I interviewed. She was asked how she could utilized social media to plan a trip and also what she thinks about reviews that can be found on social media sites. Watch the video to discover her answers and you can share yours also by writing a comment :).
Social Media is a really important tool for businesses, including all of the tourism industry businesses. It can help you ameliorate your customer service. More and more you hear stories about Twitter and Airlines (train, bus, etc.), where people who had problems tweeted about it and got answers right away. These companies are really dedicated to social media; they don’t just scan to see what people are talking about and what is being said about them. They actually do much more, they respond and act.
Michael’s story with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: Because of a snowstorm in Amsterdam Michael’s flight was grounded for more than two hours, they finally left and after a few attempts the pilot was able to land his plane in Amsterdam. Now these situations happen, it’s the weather. But after queuing at a service desk for more than an hour he was told that he would not be able to get his bags. Frustrated, he @ KLM in a Tweet saying how mad he was that after all of those delays and a big race coming he didn’t get his bags. Within an hour he received a response to his tweet: the person who responded said that he would personally look into this issue, and during the night Michael got another tweet informing him that his bags would be waiting for him with a place and time for pick-up the very next day.
This is a perfect example of how a company can use Social Media to satisfy a customer who was having a bad experience. Without them being on Twitter, Michael’s tweet could’ve influenced many others not to travel with this company. Now Michael is happy because he knows that they are reliable, in fact Michael booked his next flight to Chicago with them because he knows that if something happens they will take care of him.
Being present and active on social media can help your company save its face and be more proactive to unsatisfied customers complaints. Michael made another important point when he was telling me the story: for Airlines it is really important to be on social media. Customers are on social Media and they will talk about you when they have a bad experience, so they have to be able to respond to it in order to create a link with their customers, and because, let’s face it, you have a lot of choice when it comes to airlines and if customers read about bad experiences of other travellers it can steer them away from your company.
Not only do airlines have a phone line but they also have a social media center that takes care of scanning and responding efficiently to customers. I also think that today you’ll get much better service if you tweet about your experience than if you call the helpline. In this case, KLM showed how Twitter can be used to create a link with and satisfy a customer. This utlimatly affects your brand and the way people perceive you.
This is a really interesting video that was realized by Tourism E kit tutorial for the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse online trainings. It basically shows the businesses how to use and be efficient when using social media in the travel industry. It takes you step by step through all the different points that will make you successful in the implementation of social media in your business.
Last week I posted about the launch of Travellution, which is a social media that helps people finding other people who have the same travelling dreams you have. So for you, I tried to find more social media dedicated to travelling.
Tripsay: You will find on this network a map of recommended places to go, users leave their comments and say to which level they liked it and why. You can also use it to find new places you had never thought of visiting before and you can use it to find hotels. Tripsay will ask you to signed up and to provide information about yourself so they can recommend places for you to go (accompanied by stories from travellers that were there).
Tripwolf: they provide users with information on more than 50000 destinations. The information is provided by users that were travelling to one or many of these places. They are also partnering with Footprint Travel Guides. By planning your trip with them you have access to some free personal travel guide, which is always a plus. They are really active on blogging also, this is a nice way to get good information about a variety of subject related to travel (tips, coupons, food, etc.).
Lonely Planet: is more of a forum than an actual social media but still it provides a place where people can share information, tips, advice about trips. On the website you start by finding the forum that relates to you the most and then you can read up on what has been posted and ask questions to the other forum members.
Dopplr: is a social media developed so you can share your personal travel plans with people you trust, it will notify you when trips you are planning match and overlap with another friend’s trip, it helps you find cities you didn’t think about visiting, and the social media brings together travellers so they can share tips and advice on travelling.
Here you have it, five new social media to visit when you are planning your next trip!