Having the Proper Social Media Presence for Your Property

By Lisa Klueppel Senior Manager, Online Acquisition Marketing, VIZERGY | December 25, 2011

From choosing the right locations, to set up, to daily management, you need a social media plan that fits your property.

Does your hotel have an effective, well-managed social media presence? Do you even need one? Do you feel like you're making the most of Facebook, but lost on YouTube?

These are questions that hoteliers should have asked themselves, or been asked by their Internet marketing partners, at some point in the last two years. After all, during that time span, the use of social media by both leisure and business travelers has increased at a rate that cannot be ignored. In a recent survey from The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, roughly 25% of business travelers and over 30% of leisure travelers said they use social media and review sites for hotel information. If that's not enough, more than 64% of survey respondents in a Sheraton Hotels & Resorts study claim to use social media to help with travel plans.

Despite the proof of social media's popularity in travel or the constant buzz surrounding Facebook and Twitter, don't jump into the game without a plan… a plan that provides a social media presence that fits your property. Social media is not "one size fits all." Think of it more as a tailored suit. Just because a Facebook account with custom pages or a YouTube account with a corporate video is right for one property, does not mean it is right for every property. There's only one exception. All properties, regardless of type, should monitor and respond to their online reviews. But overall, your social media presence should be catered to your property.

An upscale, 500 room hotel near major attractions probably needs a Facebook profile to stay in touch with repeat guests (this recently became easier with Facebook's Pages upgrade) and a Twitter account to promote special packages, whereas a select service property located on a major Interstate may or may not need Facebook and probably doesn't need Twitter at all. Likewise, a boutique hotel with an art gallery may want a professionally produced video to showcase the art and a Flickr gallery that displays the uniqueness of the property, while a family oriented resort could use home videos of families enjoying their vacation. Obviously, your property type – full service, select service, resort, etc. – plays a significant role in your social media presence – whether you'll need Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and/or Flickr. But other factors such as location, local attractions, property size, number of repeat guests, target market, budget and more also play a role. And as complicated as it sounds to choose the correct social media locations for your property, plenty of specialized and experienced help is available, including social media consulting and hotel Internet marketing companies.

Besides selecting the proper social media outlets to capitalize on, outside companies can help with the setup of profiles, from technical expertise to creative designs and custom pages that fit your brand's image and property's offerings. Professionally developed, customized profiles will help maximize the potential of your social media presence. Perhaps most important of all, these experts help you get it right the first time, wasting no time and money. Creating an entire social media presence that doesn't fit your property is not only a waste of resources, but also a poor reflection on your property. With expert help, you can avoid that potential pitfall and have a smooth transition into the daily management of your property's social presence.

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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.