Socially Speaking - Creating a Competitive Advantage Through Social Media

By Gini Dietrich Founder & CEO, Arment Dietrich Inc. | December 26, 2010

In my previous article, I dove into social media - why you need to be there, how the channels work, and the benefits of the different networks. There should be no doubt you need to be engaging in social media – it's obvious your customers are there. In fact, according to the Ad-ology Research "Travel and Vacation Services-Summer 2009" report, 47 percent of U.S. adult Internet users recently used the Web to research travel and nearly a quarter said social media influenced their travel or vacation decisions. Add to that, according to Forrester Research, that an almost unbelievable 62 percent of Americans believe the online reviews of strangers and it's time to understand why and how you should participate.

The real question is what should you be doing to engage in social media channels? Your hotel has its own unique offerings - you know they are what create loyalty among your guests. So can't tell you exactly what to say when you get online. My goal is to get you thinking about all the possibilities, and give you some ideas you can run with and make your own.

Engaging Key Audiences

You no doubt identified target audiences for your hotel and likely have different communication strategies for each of them. There is no reason you can't do the same thing with social media - in fact it should be easier to find and engage with these audiences in these channels.

One way to connect authentically with different types of travelers is to have an overall brand presence and then create unique Twitter handles, Facebook fan pages, YouTube channels, Flickr pages, and LinkedIn groups based on various needs. You also should consider content development, such as blogs, white papers, videos, podcasts, and articles. They can and should all interact with one another so travelers are aware of the various resources, but the content must be unique in each, so there are genuine, relevant connections made.

Here are a few ideas to build relationships with key audiences through social media:

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Tara K. Gorman
Leigh Anne Dolecki
Michael Koethner
Gino Engels
Steven Belmonte
Katarina Puckett
Arthur Weissman
Rani Bhattacharyya
Trish Donnally
Steve Kiesner
Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.