Top 10 ways for hotels to embrace social media.

Guest blogger Hayden Allen-Vercoe discusses social media in the hospitality industry and delivers 10 great tips to help hotels, spas and conference venues embrace social media and engage with their guests.

We don’t need to tell you that social media has taken hold of the net… and isn’t about to let go, that’s old news. What we do need to tell you is that social media holds the key to more reservations  perhaps much more than you think.

Here are our top ten ideas for how hotels, conference centres and spas can really embrace social media:

1: The twitter concierge service.

Set up a twitter page and encourage visitors to your website (through a link) to ask questions and get immediate responses through twitter. Hyatt have done this very successfully, take a look at Hyatt's concierge twitter account

2: Share your positive reviews.

Post your positive reviews to your blog and set up a twitterfeed to help you propagate the good news through twitter and Facebook.

3: Find new staff through social networks.

Trust me, if you’re looking for new staff then try tweeting about it… you’ll see for yourself just how powerful a medium it is when you have CVs flying in and no recruitment agencies hassling you for fees.

4: Set up a blog and double organic traffic.

Download a Wordpress blog template for free and start writing engaging, search optimised content that is going to get picked up through natural searches. See Grayshott Spa for one of our examples of how providing valuable content for your guests provides rewards for you in terms of traffic.

5: Want more weddings, conferences etc?

Demonstrate your position as an expert. Use blog posts and tweets to position yourself as an industry expert. What are the biting issues or advice in those sectors? Content doesn’t necessarily need to be related directly to your hotel – think laterally and on topic.

6: Promote your best pieces of content.

You’ve just spent a couple of hours writing a killer piece of content around a subject that is relevant to your market or industry. The worst thing you can do is let it sit there and fester… pro-actively offer the article to your industry magazines (on and off line) as well as other thought leaders (bloggers) relevant to the topic.

For example you write a great piece around the importance of having a Christmas party as a business. Take it to small business blogs. If they publish it, you’ll not only get their web traffic but you’ll also get a valuable link back to your website.

Some great places to start in relation to hotel marketing are www.hotelemarketer.com and www.hotelmarketingstrategies.com.

7: Bad press?

Start managing your online reputation effectively. Many hoteliers have had sleepless nights thanks to the likes of social sharing sites like TripAdvisor. These sites are definitely here to stay so stop ignoring them and hoping they’ll disappear. If you get a negative (or positive) review you must respond. You have the opportunity to do this on TripAdvisor. If the review is particularly negative then we suggest featuring your response on your blog. Sounds like madness? Of course not; you’re showing the world that you have nothing to hide and therefore will gain respect.

8: Keep prospects and customers informed.

Social media has made it easy to share information and now it’s time to get your head around how to do this. Build up a twitter following or perhaps a Facebook Group over time and give them exclusive offers and discounts before anyone else… your following will grow faster than you think!

9: Keep abreast with what the competition are up to.

Find other hotels on twitter through Twellow, a very useful twitter directory service. Follow them and keep an eye on what they are promoting and when. This may give you inspiration, but will ultimately allow you to gauge just what’s going on in their world.

10: Get personal.

Take pictures of your guests holding parties, conferences, weddings etc and feature them on your blog (with their permission of course) and you’ll be building a loyal community without even knowing it. They will feel attached to your brand and no doubt share the picures/stories with their friends… hey presto new clients and a lot of trust!

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