Turning Your Social Media Relationships Into Dollars

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | April 24, 2011

Today, it seems like everywhere you turn there’s talk about social media and all the benefits it can have as part of a business marketing strategy. While this is true, simply opening accounts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and posting occasional photos and updates won’t create a strong following for your business or turn these “friends” and “followers” into profitable clients for your business.

Particularly for the hotel and hospitality industry, it seems the biggest issue with social media is the lack of identifiable return on investment (ROI) from a property’s social media presence. However, with a social media plan that includes several key strategies, you can create measurable ROI for your property, as well as increase activity that leads to bookings, in turn generating more revenue for your hotel. After all, one of the great benefits of using social media sites to drive sales is that you are targeting clients exactly where they are already booking - online.

Here are five tactics that can help your hotel generate more bookings through its social media relationships:

Booking Straight Through Social Media

When it comes to the world of social media, perhaps one of the most useful capabilities that has emerged recently is the ability to book a hotel directly through the social media site itself. This can be extremely beneficial for hotels as it creates an additional outlet in which customers can make online bookings.

CRS Bookings - a company specializing in booking engine, GDS, and web design solutions for hotels--for instance, is among several companies that offer a booking tool that allows fans to directly make bookings on Facebook. Well-known hotel brands like Design Hotels have already implemented a similar type of booking widget on their Facebook pages.

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.