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.