While social media may not be the most effective sales conversion tool for companies in the travel and hospitality industries, it is still a critical factor for a company’s online reputation management. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others social media channels are a great way for you to reach out to fans and potential travelers alike.
As social media is constantly evolving, hotels are forced to come up with new and innovative ways to stay connected with their guests. Some hotels are taking an outside-the-box approach to tying social media into in-person activities. The following are examples of hotels incorporating social media channels into their on-site experience.
Last year, Melia Hotels International, the leading hotel chain in Spain, debuted a new program in which its innovative @SolWaveHouse Hotel became the first ever “Twitter experience hotel” in the world. The intent of the hotel was to facilitate interaction among social media-savvy customers plus increase excitement and stimulate “buzz” among the young travelers that typically fill this hotel.
In a December blog post (“How Instagram and Pinterest are Changing the Hotel Industry”), we discussed the newly opened 1888 Hotel in Australia. This property’s claim to fame is being the world’s first Instagram-themed hotel. The hotel even based some of its décor and services on the photo-sharing app. Over 100 Instagram photos were submitted by guests to decorate the five-story 1888 Hotel’s 90 rooms.
In an effort to attract tech-savvy guests to these one-of-a-kind accommodations, the hotel offers a complimentary night’s stay to any Instagram users with more than 10,000 followers. Essentially, what they are looking for are some guests with major social media influence.
The hotel also has a dedicated “selfie space” where guests can take photos of themselves, use the hashtag #1888hotel, and see it appear instantaneously on screens near the reception desk.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Hawaii, which has 11 amazing properties in the island state, recently held a Tweetup – a gathering of Twitter fans. However, instead of holding it at one of their properties or even on the islands, it was in Los Angeles.
This move made sense because of L.A.’s popularity, and the ideal location it provides. Since Los Angeles International Airport is a major hub, many destinations can be flown to easily from it, and then back home again.
Organizers used Twtvite to draw attendees and shared the event on Twitter with the specific event hashtag, #luwow. The event features games and giveaways, including a chance to win a three-night stay at a few of the Hawaii hotels.
Starwood was able to create brand ambassadors for their hotels by giving away such substantial prizes, and found a great way to take social media offline and make it an in-person experience.
Goals for Social Media
Taking your social media campaign offline may not be feasible for you right now, but here are three goals for making sure you are getting the most out of these vital channels.
1) Maintaining Your Online Reputation – Travelers use social media channels to find out what other travelers think about a given destination or property. Reviews have become a critical factor in the research and planning process.
2) Communicating With Guests – Today’s tech-savvy travelers are attached at the hip to their mobile devices, giving them ample opportunity to use their favorite social media channels. If they have a problem or concern during their stay, they will turn to social media to voice their displeasure. You can use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels to respond to these issues in a timely manner.
3) Advertising Your Property – Many travelers will follow a company on Twitter, or like them on Facebook, to stay informed with the latest deals and packages. The key here is to mix solid content and interaction with the advertising. If you are only using these channels to sell and advertise, followers and fans will lose interest, causing you to lose this important connection.