New Rules of Social Media for Hotels in 2021
By Alan E. Young CEO & Co-founder, Puzzle Partner, Ltd. | January 31, 2021
Erik Qualman once said, "We don't have a choice on whether we do social media; the question is, how well we do it." From a branding perspective, Qualman is entirely right. In many ways, we exist in two worlds – that of the offline experience and the online experience and, across industries, brands are expected to master both realms.
Social media is hardly a choice in a world that relies so heavily on the digital exchange. Instead, it's a consumer-led expectation, a looking glass into a brand's inner-workings, values, and production. More than that, it's a conversation starter, a way for brands to encourage consumers to open the door and, more importantly, invite them to stay awhile. It helps to amplify a brand's voice across an increasingly noisy, crowded room.
But, like most powerful tools, social media is a double-edged sword. If done correctly, a company's social presence can help to define their brand voice, convey their values and purpose, align their offering with target customers, facilitate enhanced consumer connection, and generate valuable momentum and influence from social sharing. However, if done incorrectly, social media can effectively tarnish a brand's reputation across the masses. There has, perhaps, been no better example of this than the coronavirus pandemic.
In March of 2020, the world as we knew it changed – abruptly. Suddenly, our communities and loved ones were at risk, and, subsequently, many of the daily comforts and routines that were carefully woven into our lives unraveled. Stay-at-home orders were issued as COVID-19 cases continued their steady rise, and the uncertainty was palpable. We didn't yet know what we were up against or what the path to recovery looked like. We started to throw around the mention of "The New Normal" along with projected timelines that, with each passing month, were revealed as incorrect.
Offices closed their doors to their staff; businesses closed their doors to customers, events were reimagined for a virtual crowd, jobs were lost, home offices were established, and, for the travel and hospitality industry, business came to a grinding halt. It was clear to everyone that, at least for the time being, non-essential travel was off the table. And so, the question became... what now? How does a hotel market to prospective guests during a global pandemic, when fear and uncertainty have overtaken all other impulses and consumer behavior? More importantly, how have the events of 2020 impacted the rules of social media for 2021?
A Collective Shift in Social Behaviour