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Integrating social media marketing within a service industry

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 11 Oct, 2013
Essential Essential topic

Examples of how Hotels are integrating social media and mobile marketing

Technology is the cornerstone of business growth. Whether it means new tools for maximizing efficiency, new platforms for reaching out to potential customers, or new resources for building professional networks; digital innovation is a boom for businesses of all shapes and sizes. But social media and the recent proliferation of mobile devices has proven particularly beneficial for the hotel industry.

Because travelers rely upon their mobile technologies and depend upon social networks to find accommodations they can trust; web savvy hotel marketers can connect with customers like never before. So whether they are well-known international chains or tiny boutique businesses, hotels throughout the world have begun harnessing the tremendous potential of mobile technology and here is how:

Hotels harnessing social media

  • Size Matters (Less Than Ever)

Social media has leveled the playing field in the world of hotel marketing. Sites like TripAdvisor and Agoda have made it tremendously easy for customers to connect with small hotels, so most travelers no longer default to hotel chains with immediately recognizable names.

Thanks to a huge network of online reviews, businesses that traditionally relied on foot-traffic now book online guests from around the globe who find their hotels via the recommendations of satisfied former guests.

Social media also offers boutique hotels an unprecedented opportunity to connect with customers based upon mutual interests­­ in art, fashion, or design, for instance inspiring loyalty before the guests even walk through the door.

Of course, big multinational hotel chains also benefit from social media. With more resources, they can conduct more extensive campaigns, host special promotions, and stay in contact with broader audiences of former and prospective customers.

But it seems, nonetheless, that the intimate communities condensing around social media business pages have had the most profound impact on small hotels, whose guests are often more motivated to post reviews and recommendations. 

Apps, Mobile Tech, and Social Media

Aside from user reviews, there are many advantages to connecting with guests through social media.

apps

Using Google Analytics, Thompson Hotels found that guests who were also ‘fans’ on social media spend about 35% more during their stays than guests who were not.  These visitors also booked directly through the hotel website, circumventing fees charged by 3rd party booking companies.

So by recognizing the power of social networks, many hotels have begun leveraging online resources to drive potential customers to their social profiles. One effective social marketing strategy is to copy what large brands do, VoucherCloud offer discounts to followers on Facebook and Twitter, and another method they use is the power of an app.
Vouchercloud Social MediaApps can be downloaded on your website or social media pages and the PR you can receive from this type of development is huge.

Hotel campaign examples using social media

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, for example, offers a great app to help customers book their stays, make dinner reservations, and even navigate the nightlife and attractions in each city where they are based. The St. Regis New York also offers an impressive app that lets guests connect directly with their butler with the click of a button.

Similarly, the Hyatt has a Twitter Concierge Service, which lets former and current guests connect in real time with a representative who can answer all their questions. Because these services are all accessible via smartphone or tablet, they are powerful tools for traveling guests.

Top Tips for Social Media Success for the hotel industry

  • 1. Connect with targeted audiences of potential and former guests by providing a steady stream of engaging content that somehow relates to the particular style or setting of your hotel.
  • 2. Link to reviews on your social profile pages.
  • 3. Set up a blog to supplement and drive traffic to your website and other social pages.
  • 4. Promote and disseminate your best content by offering it up to travel publications, industry magazines, and as material for guest blog posts.
  • 5. Always respond to and address negative reviews or comments that appear on social sites. Don’t ignore them!

Because today’s digital landscape evolves so rapidly and has such a resounding influence on the ways we communicate, travel, and spend our money; hotels simply cannot afford to fall behind the technological zeitgeist.

Whether getting customers in the door or keeping them satisfied during their stay, every day mobile technologies play an increasingly crucial role in the hotel industry. So if your hotel still hasn’t embraced social media and mobile technology, it is time to change the way you do business.

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By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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Digital Marketing for the travel and tourism sector

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