Beyond Integrating Social Media into your Marketing Mix
Make Social Media Part of the Hotel Experience
By Marlene Oliver President, NJC Communications | February 23, 2014
In today's technologically advanced world, hoteliers are constantly striving to meet and stay in tune with the ever-evolving expectations of the new era of travelers. Nowadays guests are connected via smart phones and tablets non-stop, even while on vacation. They expect to have access to WIFI, social networks and all the information that they request and desire from the moment they check-into your property…and often times even before.
It's no secret that adoption of social media is at an all-time high in virtually every segment of the travel industry. For the coming year that trend is poised to continue growing – particularly considering the recent announcement by Facebook that travel will be a "key sector focus" for this social network in 2014. That news came on the heels of recent findings announced by Facebook from a study conducted by research agency Sparkler, revealing that Facebook appears prominently during the five stages of taking a vacation: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and reflecting. Prior leading industry research by World Travel Market forecasts that by 2016, social media will be in the forefront as a primary way to generate travel bookings and revenue for half the of travel industry.
So, how can you raise the bar, stand out from the crowd, make your hotel experience even better, and boost your bottom line using social media? Here is a mix of real world examples and creative ideas of how properties can and are incorporating novel social media strategies into their hotel experience to enhance the customer experience, increase guest loyalty, and boost room revenues:
Create an On-Property Virtual Community
Sol Wave House in Majorca has brought the concept of virtual community to a whole new level, presenting a designated hashtag as a means for guests to communicate with each other and even make new friends while on property. The hotel has created an app that guests can access when they log-in to the property's WIFI enabling them to tweet one another and share photos. Often referred to as "the Twitter hotel," Sol Wave House also utilizes hashtags to offer added-value services to their guests. They can send a tweet to @SolWaveHouse with drink orders from the pool or even have their mini-bar re-stocked by hastaging the request #FillMyFridge. Not only does this platform allow hotel guests to communicate with one another, but it also opens a direct channel of communication between hotel guests and hotel staff members. This is a great way for a hotel to quickly identify and respond to guest concerns as well as find unique ways to further enhance the stay of their tech-savvy guests. Plus, it ensures that these guests have a more carefree and memorable vacation experience during their hotel stay. These positive experiences are likely to be shared through their photos and Twitter posts with their personal Twitter followers.
Invite Guests to a Special Experience via Facebook