Social Media and Hotels: Should Hotels Be on Twitter Anymore?

By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | December 26, 2010

By this time all of you know what Twitter is, its capabilities, shortcomings, advantages and disadvantages. Most of you have probably decided by now if you will have a presence on the 140 character mass-marketing social media platform that has enjoyed immense popularity in the past year and a half.

Twitter simplicity and outreach, at zero cost, were very attractive at a time when the economic crisis started sneaking up in the US and took hold by the end of 2008. Throughout 2009, Twitter evolved, attracted even more users, and there were a number of predictions as to what the social network would turn into by the end of 2010.

Meanwhile, multiple businesses - including hotels – incorporated Twitter into their 2010 social media strategy [Side note: of course I think all hotels should have a social media strategy at this point – the trend is not a fad!!]. As a result, we saw hotels on Twitter talking about anything from special rates and menu offerings, to sharing inspiring quotes from the hotel owner or GM, and even talking to guests in the midst of a crisis. The JW Marriott in Indonesia did an excellent job using Twitter as a crisis communications tool to reach out to families, guests, media and the community when it was bombed in July of 2009.

So what have we learned from Twitter so far that can survive the stiff competition of emerging social media platforms that hotels can incorporate in their social media marketing efforts? Many hotels have already a presence on Facebook, which is a must have for businesses these days. When visiting a hotel website, it's common to see the "f" (Facebook) and the "t" (twitter) symbols on the homepage, indicating that the property has embraced rich media via social networking. Hotels tend to use Twitter to push traffic from there on their homepage or Facebook page in order to complete a reservation, book a special deal, or just to browse.

The question now is, where does Twitter rank in importance in your social media strategy, and how should it be used within hotels? I have done some reading about how Twitter has evolved in the past few months and have outlined some suggestions that could be helpful to your approach:

  • Twitter isn't going anywhere. In fact, according to statistics dated March 30th, 2010, Twitter is still growing, and has turned into an integral form of self-publishing, global communication, branding, publishing, PR and marketing this year.
  • Twitter has caught on outside of the US. The platform's popularity is increasing at a faster rate internationally.
  • The longer hotels have been on Twitter the higher the chances they will continue to tweet, probably because they have had more time to monitor the twitter-sphere correctly
  • The more someone tweets, the better the chances they will establish a solid presence
  • Twitter works better when links at added that direct traffic to the desired location, or just for sharing information
  • Twitter lists are good organizational tools when a hotel wants to share messages to a specific group of people.
  • Twitter increases exposure with increased use
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