3 Essential Social Media Marketing Strategies for Hotels

By Leslie Wilkins Co-Founder, Pipeline Social Media | February 18, 2018

Co-authored by Keith Mather, Chief Revenue Officer & Partner, Pipeline Social Media

There is no doubt that marketing for hotels has evolved over the years. Hoteliers have more options than ever to spend advertising dollars in both traditional forms and digital forms, so how do you choose? While there is a need for advertising methods through specific channels like billboards, Google AdWords, and TripAdvisor, none of these channels can simultaneously maximize your hotel's digital presence in the three important ways that social media can: by managing your reputation, marketing your property by telling your story, and targeting your ideal guest.

I am here to argue that social media is the only place where you can accomplish all three necessary actions and -- to a more advantageous degree -- save money, as it is the least expensive route. Let's dive into these three strategies to explain why each is important and give you the insight you need to accomplish these marketing methods today on your hotel's social media.

1. Reputation Monitoring

In an industry where success is based on reputation, you want to control the conversations happening online about your property. With social media reviews, messages, comments, and check-ins happening every second, it's important to be at the forefront of these interactions, especially if they are negative. These negative interactions cannot be completely prevented, but I can tell you how to equalize and maintain these issues by responding efficiently and correctly. I believe there is a form of performance measurement in social media called a Negative Social ROI, and it occurs when reviews and social interactions do not have a response. Create a Positive Social ROI with quick responses that conciliate your customer, keeping in mind the potential impact of friends of guests or potential guests. To put it simply: if guests or potential guests are trying to contact you through social media, you have to be effectively present in order to connect with them.

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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.