Customer Service the new Landscape of Social Media for Hotels?
The landscape of marketing continues to evolve for all businesses, but especially for the hospitality industry.
Almost 6 years ago, when I was first hired at Lodging Interactive, I heard the infamous line for the first time and which has continued to circulate in our company ever since.
“Rosella, I have an idea.”
When DJ Vallauri* first developed the concept of CoMMingle **, the feedback to his vision of social media marketing for hotels was interesting.
‘Why do I need a presence on social media? My hotel is already doing marketing.’ The landscape was changing from traditional marketing to soft marketing on social media. The tone was a bit dismissive, but DJ was focused and confident that this was the future of marketing for hotels, whether they wanted to admit it or not.
‘Social Media is just a bunch of kids hanging out online.’ – But this wasn’t true, DJ kept pushing forward. He knew that an industry he loved the most would lose out on the potential of social media and reaching their guests on a personal level.
‘We have a presence of social media and an intern posting pictures of kittens, how does this help us?’ Kittens & interns, seriously? You trusted an intern with your hotel’s social voice to the public, your guests, future guests, disgruntled guests — and let them share pictures of kittens to communicate your message with them? DJ realized then that it was imperative that hotels realize the opportunities lost and the potential revenue slipping away just because of a stubbornness not to accept change.
He didn’t stop and pushed ahead.
Today, CoMMingle serves 100’s of clients with their social media marketing and digital reputation management needs. The approach was to help a hotel expand their reach through social media through content and engagement. Nuts to bolts, we roll up our sleeves and put the human touch back in a digital customer focused environment, leaving the technology-driven data to the technology companies. We didn’t just tell hotels what to do, we did it for them.
I’m not sharing this story to write a PR piece on CoMMingle and our services. My purpose in writing this blog post is that DJ came to me not too long along and shared his infamous words to me again.
“Rosella, I have an idea.”
This time the hospitality industry is listening more intently. The landscape of social media for hotels is changing again, faster than you might believe. Just the name of the industry lends itself to the tone that is woven in social media. The definition of hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
Social media is emotional — it is about people.
A hotel’s social media presence now has so many areas woven in and involves more than your sales and marketing team. Now, your Front Desk Manager, Reservations Specialist, Guest Relations Director, Operations Manager, Event Sales Director, Food & Beverage Managers and so many other departments must all contribute to the complex and intricate web of managing your social media ecosystem.
Hotel’s Social Ecosystem Evolving Into A Customer Service Economy
Customer Service — Responsive and proactive, no longer just reactive.
Guest Engagement –– Conversation and Interaction with past, current and future guests
Influence Social Presence — Control of your reputation is a thing of the past, now you must influence that perception.
Reputation Management — Authentic, individually written responses to your reviews, addressing the positive and the negative.
Content & Search Marketing — Me, me, me, I, me, I … the message you send should not only be about you. Example: What does your location offer? Share the message of supporting the local businesses, events, destination drivers.
Advertising & Promotions — Remember, it is about people. Your guests enjoy their social network for the SOCIAL aspect of it — not to be bombarded with advertising and promotions. Make your content relevant.
Your guests are consuming your content differently than before. The content has been redefined and the way you share it has changed.
Are you prepared for the new landscape of social media for hotels?
What was DJ’s idea and the results of his infamous line this time around? For the hospitality industry, he states, social media is evolving from marketing into a more sophisticated, customer service economy online.
Even if you don’t hire professionals to manage this for you, just remember that kittens won’t cut it.
*Owner & CEO of Lodging Interactive
**Social Media Marketing division of Lodging Interactive