Creating an even better Social Media Marketing Experience for Hotels is done through meaningful connections in a thriving and exciting community.
Hospitality is all about the art of entertaining or receiving guests. With Social Media, we have seen some very interesting shifts. H2H (Human to Human) or H2B (Human to Business) communications is the new norm.
This shift has brought on Social Hospitality Communities. Social Hospitality is the art of embracing user-generated content. Today’s most valuable key performance indicators for Hotels are all based on human interaction.
Hotels that want to create an effect Social Media Marketing Experience must implement new innovative frameworks that value humanness, transparency, quality, and instant gratifications.
When I create my Social Media Marketing frameworks I start out with four key questions;
- Which factors currently used should be eliminated?
- Which factors currently used should be reduced?
- Which factors currently used should be raised?
- Which factors currently not used should be created?
If your Hotel is ready to act here are 10 Steps to an even better Social Media Marketing Experience for Hotels.
Social Hospitality Community to your rescue
Research has shown that as much as 42 percent of consumers that raise a concern in Social Media expect 60-minute response time. And furthermore, 57 percent of the responders requires the same response time at night and weekends as during regular business hours.
And trends are indicated that the expected response time is decreasing dramatically with improved accessibility and advance in technology.
This where a Social Hospitality Community will come to your Hotels aid.
You have to start focusing on building a Social Hospitality Community based on values, quality, humanness, transparency, instant gratification, and experience.
Effective communities will offer unique insight into customer needs, expectations, and desires. Which in itself is good enough reason to get started. But the big benefit is hands down the newborn customer support that a community is able to help your Hotel with.
It doesn’t really matter how cool or hip your Hotel is if your customer support is totally absent. By the way, you don’t get to decide today of your customer support is good or bad.
Sloppy or bad customer performances will stir a negative ripple effect that results in a high cancellation ratio and customers will run to your competition before your ‘super responsive tweet’ was sent out.
Your primary goals now become to facilitate a Social Hospitality Community that is enabled to advocate on behalf of customers/guests, drive customer satisfaction, and assist in connecting the community members with each other.
Surprise and delight customers/guest through new valuable connections
Many brands and Hotels have for years focused on quantity for the Social Media strategies.
Don’t worry we all have made this mistake.
But it is time to make a shift towards a focus on quality and value instead. We are now building meaningful relationships through our Social Hospitality Community.
One of the challenges here is we have seen is that many people were wearing their marketing hat or crisis-management hat once they arrived in a Social Community.
Therefore it is critical that the primary focus is on understanding the customer experience.
Start engaging and listening to your audience.
One of the most critical components of Social Media is to understand the real value of connections.
Not only do your Hotel have to make efforts to obtain a personal connection with customers/guests, but you have to make creative and valuable introductions also.
The benefits here lay in the newly defined brand loyalty where the customer will stay with your Hotel brand longer, extend your reach through word-of-mouth, Social sharing and referrals.
Search Experience Optimization
Search Experience Optimization means optimizing the user experience for the user’s Hotels get, as well as the ones they want! Not only will that align with what Google wants, but a better understanding of all your Hotels users will help reach important marketing objectives, as well.
As Hoteliers, we have to shift focus and put ourselves in the customer shoes.
Search Engine Optimization is one of the factors we can reduce!
This due to that customer just doesn’t go to Google and search ‘Holiday Inn Express in Chicago’. Search habits have shifted towards experience related content.
The customers now are more interested in price, directions, restaurants, and relevant local information. They will pick a Hotel based on data that add new unique values to their experience.
Hoteliers need to educate themselves on the value of longtail keywords and get a good understanding of the real reasons the customer picked your Hotel.
Gathering and understanding this data builds an important foundation for personalizing the Hotel guest experience.
Creating stories that will change the Hotel Industry
The secret glue that connects the unique micro-moments to an experience is Social stories.
In many cases today the Hotel stories are defined by user-generated stories.
The Hotels job is to help put user-generated stories into a relevant context.
In a customer experience management perspective, the goal is managing all relevant human interactions. It also helps bring all the user-generated stories together for a more complete view that reflects the customer satisfaction.
One important aspect of Social stories is that Hotels need to have a Reputation Management system in place.
Therefore it is critical for Hotels to listen and take appropriate action related to user-generated stories.
Some research has shown that as much as 90 percent of decisions are by user-generated content.
This is a clear indication that Hotels need to pay attention here.
Today most of the user-generated content Hotels been paying attention to is related to reviews.
There lay huge rewards in leveraging reviews and take appropriate actions that will enhance your Hotel brand.
Today Hotels has no other choice than to adapt to a more transparent attitude in the way they treat customers, guests, employees, and competitors.
Reviews are among the most valuable marketing channels, and data show that brands always benefit from acknowledging and respond to reviews.
With effective Reputation Management systems Hotels is provided a strategic advantage that allows them to be proactive in the relationship with user-generated content.
User-generated content is extremely beneficial to Hotels when used to build the relationship with customer and guests to improve service.
A personalized experience that breaks the barriers of traditional Hotel Marketing
One of the most interesting and fascinating trends we see today is the growing importance of customer experience. Some research indicates that by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator.
Obviously, this will bring on some challenges. But at the same time, it will also bring on some massive opportunities for Hotels that embrace Social connections and communities.
For Hotel the golden opportunity lays in creating personalized experiences and deliver them in an authentic manner.
Many Hotels has used data from their Property Management Systems to create personalized experiences.
Today we have unique access to data through advanced technology and tools that will help Hotels with creating a personalized experience that will blow the guest expectations.
Artificial Intelligence will become the next disruptive customer experience trend. A Hotel that position and prepare themselves for this is opening their palms to tap into new uncontested Social Media Audiences, without breaking the budget.
Artificial Intelligence and new technology, in general, will allow Hotels to identify trends and patterns in customer and guest behaviors.
This will allow your Hotel team to focus on optimizing micro-moments that will add new values to the customer experience.
Artificial Intelligence will allow Hotel Team members to tailor and personalize experience based on the new hyper-targeted relevant information.
Uncovering Hotel Experience Ambassadors that will replace Influencers
For many Hotels today, influencers have become a negatively loaded term. Many Hotels has experienced an alarming growth of ‘wannabe influencers’ that provide some ridiculous claims and in return wants free Hotel services.
This has caused many Hotels to turn their back to influence marketing.
I still believe influencer marketing is critical for the Hotel Industry. We have to look at an alternative creative solution that will help Hotels to work around this trend.
I said it before and will say it again stair away from quantity focus on quality!
The principles behind influence marketing are to focus on quality, values, transparency, humanness, authenticity, and experience. And this a process that is meant to support a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
‘Wannabe influencers’ often base their claims on quantity. But a focus on quantity as the primary driver of the results your Hotels is looking to achieve only supports a lose-win scenario. And it is the Hotel that will end up on the losing end.
What can Hotels do to take control of influence marketing?
Since now experience is becoming the key driver for attracting the modern travelers Hotel need to embrace this fact.
Hotels can start simple with creating Hotel Experience Boxes for the customers/guests. These experience boxes should be designed based on the data in relationship with personalized experiences. Implement ‘Taste of the Locals”, “Brewmaster for a day – toast with a local” or “Sing along w locals”.
And Hotels can take it up a notch and hire a Hotel Experience Ambassador. This is the person that will handle all of your Hotels influencer marketing. Hotels need a person that can tie Hotel Marketing and Social Media Marketing values together.
With modern cloud-based technology, your Hotel Experience Ambassador is able to identify and book a customer anywhere at any time.
Paid Ad Experiences that will make your Hotel thrive
It should be no surprise that Social Media Marketing habits are shifting.
One of the shifts we have seen particularly this year is that paid advertising has become more important for online visibility.
Paid Social Media advertisement is letting Hotels share content with a worldwide audience. And Social Media ads are designed to help Hotels reach three primary marketing objectives;
This is all good, but there are one challenge Hotels and brand run into from start block regarding ads – ‘people don’t like ads’.
And this is why Hotels have to shift towards creating new innovative Paid Ad Experiences.
Hotels have to go beyond providing traditional ads that end turn of their audience.
Your creative ads today are required to serve scale.
The key today is to understand that the Hotels most important metrics is now related to Revenue Per Human Interaction.
The biggest opportunity for Hotels today lays in implementing native Hotel ad experiences.
Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. Native ads match the visual design of the experience they live within and look and feel like natural content. And native ads must behave consistently with the native user experience and function just like natural content.
Basically, it is built around principles that focus on user expectations and experience while they search for relevant content.
Transparency, Humanness, and Authenticity
One of the key components Hotels have to implement as part of their Reputation Management process is transparency.
- Allowing employees to talk about your Hotels products and services publicly
- Establishing a 1-to-1 communication channel
- Ask for feedback
- Not hiding concerns, and addressing it publicly
In the past, we learned through TripAdvisor research that;
As much 89% of respondents said that reviews had the most influence on their decision.
One of the keys to Social Media success for Hotels is to tie Hotel Marketing strategies with Social Media Marketing strategies.
And start collaborating with fans, brand advocates, influencers, ambassadors, customer and your Hotel team.
Reputation Management helps you identify what is valuable to the community. It is important that your Hotel care and is as transparent as possible.
Once your Hotels brings on board humanness and transparency you build a protective shield that will secure integrity, privacy, security and assist with concerns.
Humanness identifies a process where Hotels brands implement a humanistic process, which inspires people’s confidence to own and drive the process for effective execution.
Reputation management represents the business function concerned with influencing, often through diverse communication practices, stakeholders’ perceptions and estimation of a Hotel brands economic, social and Social Media practices.
Authenticity is the key component that will make Social Media successful for Hotels.
Authentic Social Media Marketing is the modern-day testimonial: It allows customers to interact with Hotels in real time and also creates an open space for conversation and feedback.
If a person is having a hard time receiving assistance from a Hotels customer service, for instance, all they need to do is tweet at them for a response. Other users can get involved depending on the severity of the situation, forcing all sides to be accountable.
A micro-moment is a moment that requires only a glance to identify and delivers quick information that you can either consume or act on immediately.
Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made, and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever.
Hotels that embrace and implement micro-moments will discover how this is transparent to an exclusive and high-quality guest experience.
Personalization drives engagement and conversations. The number one reason to use personalization is due to higher response and engagement rates.
From a Hotel perspective, we will look at how to leverage personalization and exceed guests’ expectations.
A familiar phrase for many Hotels has for many years been “Know your guests!” – what do they want and when do they want it.
One of the effects of the rapid changes that have come with Social Media and New Media is the advance in customer interaction technology. New technology allows us to listen to and measure the effects of the interactions.
For Hotels this really essential in today’s growing and competitive market. With increasing demanding customer expectations Hotels has to set themselves forward as a competitive and relevant alternative.
And for Hotels Micro-Moments is all about gaining a better understanding of customer needs and preferences. This what will enable the delivery of personalized services that will help increase customer satisfaction lower service costs and improve guest loyalty.
One important aspect of personalization that often is not talked about is some of the changes this requires the Hotel. Social Media and New Media are just tools that help you better reach your customers. Some of the changes have to come from within. Hotels have to take look at their organization, processes, procedures, systems, and culture.
Why is it important to make both an organizational shift and a technology shift?
According to think with Google there are moments, we’re very open to the influence of brands.
These are the moments when we want help informing our choices or making decisions. For marketers, these moments are an open invitation to engage. And they’re the moments you have to be ready for.
Customers now turn to their smartphones with intent and expect brands to deliver immediate answers. It’s in these I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy moments that decisions are made, and preferences are shaped.
Innovation is a known challenge for many Hotels. Hotels that understand the importance of innovating in the next decade will recognize that this shift will act as a multiplier on the positive effects that innovation will have on both customers and the bottom line.
It is clear that the forces driving change in the Hotel industry will make personalization more important in the decade ahead. Hotels that embrace these realities will aggressively implement programs to increase the level of personalization their guests enjoy.
Social Media Framework your Hotel Solution
In today’s competitive, fast-paced Hospitality industry, successful Hotel must increasingly be;
- Extensible to support successions of quick updates and additions to address new requirements and take advantage of emerging markets
- Flexible to support a growing range of Social Media, New Media, and Digital Media data types, traffic flows, and Human-to-Human quality of service requirements
- Implementing portable systems that reduce the effort required to support customers and guests anytime and anywhere
- Reliable and able to ensure that new technology is robust and tolerant to faults
- Able to scale and enable frameworks that can handle larger numbers of customers simultaneously
- Cost-effective to ensure that the total costs of customer acquisition and retention are not prohibitively high.
Source: FS – All – Hotels – blogs
10 Steps to an Even Better Social Media Marketing Experience for Hotels