In today’s age of social media, many things have considerably changed. Social media channels are overtaking conventional customer service channels of hospitality industry as the first court of appeal. This is due to the easy access to the internet that allows travelers to receive and share instant feedback with an unlimited audience reach. Social media is not just about marketing campaigns on Facebook or gaining more followers on Twitter any longer. It is also about enhancing customer experience leveraging these channels.
Hospitality industry guests prefer to post their hotel reviews on social platforms and raise concerns there instead of using the conventional method of calling the customer service center to file a complaint or put in a service request. Reasons for this shift are visibility, ease, transparent conversations, reduced response time and the benefit of support from fellow customers.
Within the hospitality industry, we understand how some minor issues or delays in service requests can result in a confusing and annoying experience for guests. In fact, maintaining a hotel’s online reputation is one of the biggest challenges business owners are currently facing. Businesses need to keep a close watch on what people say about them online. According to a study, as many as 80% of consumers rely on the advice of their peers on social media1. Another study found out that greater than 50% of respondents resist making a booking until they check out the traveler reviews for a particular hotel or restaurant2. Keeping this in mind, reputation management is one of the major areas of investment in 2016. A research published by TripAdvisor states that 59% of hospitality business owners will invest more in online reputation management area than they did the previous year3.
Not only that, but based on the experience offered by the hospitality business on the social channel, guests are even ready to make bookings through Facebook pages. Consequently, a number of independent properties and chains have integrated booking engines with their Facebook pages4. Not only is social media helping in better customer engagement, it is also leading to incremental sales.
It is the right time for hospitality organizations to start recognizing social media as an important part of their strategy, not just a channel for customer service. Hoteliers should not only focus on social media marketing or use it as a listening platform but should extend the scope to provide better recommendations based on guest’s previous concerns or feedback leading to instant service recovery and better customer engagement.
With the help of social media channels, for hotels, the ability to address a guest’s request quickly has improved. The current imperative for the hotel business with regard to social media can be aptly summarized by the statement “Go beyond social media monitoring – Don’t just listen, respond fast”
Components of a hotel business strategy that social media can impact are:
After all, establishing a firm social media presence and using it to build the relationship with potential guests requires a clear thought process and significant amount of involvement of leadership. Building a customer relationship is a two way channel that can be made easier if hospitality organizations leverage social media intelligently.
Suggested Reading :
1HospitalityNet, The Top 8 Social Media Trends to Watch Out For in 2016, Jan 2016
2Hotelmarketing.com, Hotel guests read 6-12 reviews before booking, says new TripAdvisor survey, Feb 2014
3TripAdvisor, 6 key travel trends for 2016, 2016
4Hotel News Now, Facebook leads to hotel room revenue, March 2011