Why Hotels Should Abandon Twitter & Prioritize Other Social Platforms

By Christina Leme Senior Digital Media Strategist, HEBS Digital | February 17, 2019

Similar to online dating apps, Twitter is popular with millennial users. In fact, 40% of its users are between the ages of 18 and 29 (Hootsuite ). But the biggest commonality between the two mediums is the exorbitant amount of time and energy required to achieve success. With travelers visiting more than 50 travel-related touch points across digital channels in the travel planning process, there's no question that social media plays a pivotal role in the hospitality industry. But some platforms, like Twitter, yield fewer results that require far greater effort and less risk. Like the dating apps, which require day-to-day monitoring, engagement, and outreach, the question is the same: Is the effort required to be successful on Twitter worth it?  

In The Beginning, There Was Twitter

Twitter (styled as twttr at the time of launch) was initially founded as a platform for users to broadcast quick messages to their network of friends and followers by texting a five-digit number. Founder Jack Dorsey first thought of the idea for this micro-blogging platform in July 2000, but it didn't take flight until 2006 when he was working at Odeo, a Silicon Valley startup that enabled users to create, record, and share podcasts (Flickr ). 

Though it had ample financial backing, Odeo didn't take off as anticipated. So company founders Noah Glass and Evan Williams went on the hunt for new product ideas. During a company-wide brainstorming session, Mr. Dorsey presented his idea for what would eventually become one of the 10 most visited websites in the world. Months later, Twitter was first launched in its beta-testing phase and was officially released to the public on July 15, 2006.

Twitter was ahead of its time. It answered the call for a mobile-first social media platform, which people could use to get real-time updates from their family and friends. When it launched in 2006, people used Twitter to share simple status updates like "reorganizing my apartment" and "I'm hungry" to their network of friends. At its core, it was a social media platform centered around text messaging, which instilled a sense of immediacy and authenticity. 

Shortly after its official launch, Twitter experienced its first major jump in users. Following an earthquake in San Francisco, people took to the platform to both share and receive updates in real time (Mashable ). But Twitter's defining moment took place on January 15, 2009, when pilot Chesley Sullenberger safely executed the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. 

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.