The Top 3 Social Media Concerns that Keep Hoteliers Up at Night

By Benjamin Jost Co-Founder & CEO, TrustYou | August 13, 2017

If you ask most hospitality C-levels, social media might not be their top of mind priority. And why would it? Between worrying about operations, finances (average daily rates and average length of stay), staff turnover and more, social media is just one item at the end of the list.

But the truth is, the number one thing that we should all worry about is guest satisfaction - I know I don't need to hammer that home; however, what I do need to mention is that guest satisfaction comes from many places, and is heavily influenced by what people are saying online, not just what happens at your hotel.

From a C-level perspective, managing your company's Twitter page or reading every review just isn't the reality (that's why we hire those great social media managers or amazing multi-tasking front desk agents). Rather than let social media fall to the bottom of an ever-growing to do list, instead, break it down to the three most important things you can focus on that will impact your hotel's guest satisfaction the most.

 1. What's the Cost of Lacking a Social Ambassador?

There's a cost to not caring about social media. Recent studies show a strong correlation between online review score 1.s and revenue per room - a Cornell study found that if a hotel increases its average review by one point on a five point scale, the hotel could raise its price by about 11 percent and still keep occupancy and market share consistent. Plus, a TrustYou study found that people are willing to pay more for a hotel that had higher review scores. Having social ambassadors for your hotel tie directly to revenue management.

The traits of a successful social ambassador are: relatable (consider your target guest - who stays at your hotel? Look for guests that fit the mold - age, gender, occupation, etc.), frequent visitor (more likely to have a multitude of experiences to draw from), and active on a minimum of three social channels. Consider enticing guests with a social ambassador program - guest of the month that goes behind the scenes in exchange for sharing their reviews. Key Takeaway: When you link revenue to social, that puts its importance into perspective. Ask your social media manager today if you're tracking the demographics of your online reviewers (age, gender, etc.), what they're saying (ideally, aggregated by category - rooms, entertainment, staff etc.) and where they're saying it (your website, social, etc.). Then, use this data to figure out the characteristics of who your social ambassadors are most likely to be, so you can target them specifically for more online reviews.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.