Building a Loyal Following: How to Attract Followers on Twitter

By Michael McKean CEO, The Knowland Group | January 23, 2011

Tweet, tweet! People are chirping, and its time you joined the conversation. Twitter is an outlet for many people's personal feelings, ideas, and activities; so how does that fit in with a static hotel? Simple, hotels are as alive and active as any human. It's up to your team to show that off. Taking that strategy to the Twitterverse is what's going to bring your hotel to life online. What generates new followers for successful tweeters is a steady stream of unique, interactive, and dynamic content. Keeping that in mind will not only help you generate followers, but business as well.

Where do you want Twitter to take you?

Any project or task requires a game plan. By creating a Twitter account, and starting your hotel's dip into the social media pool, you must determine if you're going to stay in the shallow end or dive in head first. Even if you're unsure about whether or not you'll be diving in, take the time to reserve your hotel's name. This ensures no imposters will be sending out fake tweets and confusing people online. Next, start out by posting hotel updates, new services being offered, and upcoming events. This base line of information is endless and abundant. Hotels are always buzzing.

Give Tweeters a Reason to Follow You

People are drawn to Twitter because it provides them an exclusive first person account of what's happening. They are excited to tell their friends and family about what they saw on Twitter, which helps to create that word of mouth buzz every business desires. Reward your followers by advertising deals or packages not advertised anywhere but Twitter. People will need to continue to follow your Twitter stream to get these exclusive deals, and will encourage others to do the same. Take a look at your competitors and see what they're offering. It might be a complimentary bottle of champagne, a couple's weekend getaway, or an early bird special at the hotel's restaurant. Rewarding people for following you is an easy way to entice more followers to join the conversation.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.