Social media is a fast growing field. It is, therefore, very important for nearly every business field to take advantage of social media tools as a part of the marketing strategy. These social media tools make it easier to communicate with your customers and prospects. Especially in the tourism sector, where a lot of potential guests start with an internet research before they book an accommodation, there is a high potential for the use of social media.
Guests want to be informed about their accommodation and the destinations they travel to, they search for fast information and direct answers. It is important to engage with guests before, during and after their stay in order to continually improve your service, attract potential customers and keep existing guest loyal. Happy guests will come back and refer your hotel or restaurant to their friends and family. And personal recommendations are worth much more than any advertisment.
In this article you can learn how social media tools can be reasonably used in the tourism branch.
A Blog for Hotels
By means of a blog you can attract potential guests and get closer to your customers. You are able to inform interested persons about specials or news concerning your hotel like new stuff, renovated rooms or a new menu in your restaurant. Your guests have a good feeling to be well informed about everything what is going on in your hotel. Share pictures of your hotel and give suggestions what to do in the surroundings of your accommodation. Write about what is happening in your town, about events, new bars, restaurants or clubs. Customers have the possibility to comment on blogs and to talk about their great experience during their last stay in your hotel. And if there are lots of good comments, other people will trust in the quality of your hotel.
Check out the TAJ Cape Town Blog to see what is possible.
Assessments of Hotels
A similar effect like the comments on the blogs has the assessment of hotels on market comparison sites. People can rank the hotels and exchange their experiences and impressions. It is very important for a hotel to take criticism seriously. Because if a problem is sorted out, the same problem will most certainly not come up again. Be genuine and show your positive engagement. Complainers have the feeling that they are being listened to and potential guests will see your effort to improve the service and an unparalleled level of customer service. That is how you can turn a negative comment into something really positive. If you are not active on the social web, you can’t track and deal with complaints which occur on comparison sites, Twitter and personal blogs. This could badly tarnish your public image.
Quick Answers via Twitter and Co.
Gone are the days when a customer had to fill in a form if he had any questions. We are living in a very fast-moving time and it is very important to answer as fast as possible. Try to offer tools like Twitter, Skype and live messengers – additionally to phone, e-mail and fax.
Facebook, Flickr and Youtube
Build a site on Facebook and Flickr and invite your guests to become online friends. Facebook is the perfect place to advertise your hotel and engage with your guests. Be active! Post news about local traditions and events, about the weather and other intersting stuff. Nobody wants to “like” a page if the last post is older than a year. Photos are very important for the customers to visualize. Post new pictures (of your hotel, rooms and surroundings) on Facebook and Flickr constantly. You can add a linked movie clip on Youtube as well. And interact with your guests! Encourage them to give positive feedback, to post pictures and to talk about their last stay in your hotel. There is no better advertising! Also, if you have enough news, you should use Twitter to tweet your news to interested guests.
The basis for an effective social media communication is that you have to commit time for social media. Don’t be fake. Instead be open, honest and authentic (especially if you are wrong). Listen to your guests and respond accordingly. Don’t be too pushy and salesy and misuse your social media streams solely for sending out sales messages. Always remember that social media is all about influence and recommendations. Use social media to provide value, to answer questions and encourage member participation and feedback. Give something and you will get something back. If people see that you care most about your guests and a good service and that you treat your guests like a king, people will come and return to your hotel and recommend it to others.
Try to impress users with your expertise and courteousness. Use social media tools to ease the booking process and contacting as well as to share valuable information. Social media is important, but be sure you have the time and the knowledge to manage the tools! It is better to use one or two tools than to have a big pool of non significant tools. If you don’t know how to start with social media, ask somebody who can help you to develop a strategy and to use social media in the right way.
For additional information, please read the following article on travelwires.com: Is your hotel using social media to its best?
And don’t forget to check out the social media profiles of the Twelve Apostles Hotel and the TAJ Cape Town to see how you can use a blog, Facebook and Twitter for marketing purposes.
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