Social Media: Get On the Boat Before You Miss It
By Gini Dietrich Founder & CEO, Arment Dietrich Inc. | May 19, 2010
A year ago, hotels assumed social media was a fad. Today, they're quickly trying to figure out how to use the new methods of communication to grow their guest base. Everyone is rushing to get on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Foursquare, but now that you're there, what's next?
Those of us who spend time daily in social media understand the value and power of it:
- A guest who is unhappy can be turned into a brand ambassador, just by listening to what they have to say, responding to them, and making changes.
- A new product or location can be launched by crowdsourcing ideas from your community in order to make them feel like they have ownership in your brand.
- Someone across the country or even overseas has access to your hotel, which is phenomenal for tourism traffic.
But none of these things happen if you build your social networks and expect people to come to you. Or if you use the social networks as just another way to sell your wares. This is not the "Field of Dreams." Just because you build it does not mean they will come. You have to be proactive and you have to provide value that makes people want to join you, participate in conversation, and engage you one-on-one.
There are some hotel brands that are doing social media well. But, contrary to perception, most have been doing social media, in some form, for at least a year, if not longer. They are the early adopters and I've talked to a few of them to help you understand how to incorporate social media into your hotels.
The Affinia Hotels began with social media by participating online with TripAdvisor. They were one of the first brands to partner with the Web site in order to engage their guests.
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