Managing Social Media

By Anne-Juliette Maurice General Manager, Hotel Plaza Athenee, New York | March 15, 2015

In today's world, online visibility and interaction is essential to drive and retain business.
Social media outlets including facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have given the ability to connect with customers in an intimate yet public fashion. Online presence has become a key tool to promote, target and eventually impact the decision making process.

For a successful hotel operator, it is critical to actively respond to the feedback, which is tied into these mediums.

While some are skeptical about the value and power of TripAdvisor, as an example, I am a believer that it is an integral part of the sales and service process. This tool, which claims to have over 280M unique monthly visitors, can assist a hotel's ability to promote its services. It can additionally assist with the hotel's online visibility and reputation.

I have found that connecting with the customer via TripAdvisor can lead to the creation of a relationship, which may not have taken place during the guest's visit. In my opinion, it is important to acknowledge all comments, regardless whether they are positive or negative. I am able to develop a rapport with guests who are in the initial booking stages and provide assistance and support in the decision making process. I have also developed a rapport with past guests' who may have had challenges during their visit and use this opportunity to create future stays.

If not managed properly, social media can be a challenge as it has the ability to create a very public platform to voice opinions. Travel sites in particular, can deter a guest from selecting a specific hotel. In my experience, a poor review can be turned into a marketing opportunity leading to future business. It is my recommendation that a senior leader in the organization reply to any comment to establish and enhance the credibility of the property.

Other mediums previously mentioned such as facebook and Instagram, allow the hotels to engage with the potential customer and promote not only the facility, but its surroundings. Self-promotion is not always the route to follow as it can be exhausting and lead to drawbacks. Customers may select a hotel not only for its many services, but also for the proximity of its cultural offerings.

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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.