Turning Your Social Media Relationships Into Dollars

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | April 24, 2011

Today, it seems like everywhere you turn there’s talk about social media and all the benefits it can have as part of a business marketing strategy. While this is true, simply opening accounts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and posting occasional photos and updates won’t create a strong following for your business or turn these “friends” and “followers” into profitable clients for your business.

Particularly for the hotel and hospitality industry, it seems the biggest issue with social media is the lack of identifiable return on investment (ROI) from a property’s social media presence. However, with a social media plan that includes several key strategies, you can create measurable ROI for your property, as well as increase activity that leads to bookings, in turn generating more revenue for your hotel. After all, one of the great benefits of using social media sites to drive sales is that you are targeting clients exactly where they are already booking - online.

Here are five tactics that can help your hotel generate more bookings through its social media relationships:

Booking Straight Through Social Media

When it comes to the world of social media, perhaps one of the most useful capabilities that has emerged recently is the ability to book a hotel directly through the social media site itself. This can be extremely beneficial for hotels as it creates an additional outlet in which customers can make online bookings.

CRS Bookings - a company specializing in booking engine, GDS, and web design solutions for hotels--for instance, is among several companies that offer a booking tool that allows fans to directly make bookings on Facebook. Well-known hotel brands like Design Hotels have already implemented a similar type of booking widget on their Facebook pages.

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Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.