With over 900 million users Facebook is a social media platform that not only shouldnt be ignored, but with hotels you just cant afford to. The last few years in the hotel industry has proven that guests are going to the internet more and more for information on services and goods. This also includes hotels. The internet has now turned 100's of million every day travelers that use to look in coupon books, or go to brand websites into savey shoppers not only looking for the good deals, but also looking for value. When they look for value, nowadays they turn to review websites such as Trip Advisor, Kayak, and their friends on Facebook. Everybody is talking to everyone about what their buying, where they are going, where they are staying that its very important that hotels do not miss the boat on this.
In searching for hotel Facebook Fan pages we have noticed over the last few months, that most hotels that do have Fan pages on Facebook are only posting once a month, once every 3 months etc. This is the exact same thing as hiring a guest service agent with no hotel experience and expecting them to do an 8 hour shift by themselves. Whether your hotel has a Facebook page or not people are talking about you and your brand and your not even knowing it, because you have no way of tracking it because one you don't have a Facebook page for your hotel, or you do, and you only log in once a month or so.
In order for hotels to grab the social media realm is to have an active Facebook Business page, that someone monitors daily! That's right! Daily! You need to have fresh content going on your page at least 3 times a day to really make an impact no less then 1 time a day. Make sure that your posts are scattered through out the day, as people are logged into Facebook at various times. What is neat about the Facebook Fan pages for business's is that when you have 30 or more Likes on your page you get tapped into their insights reports. This helps you tell how many times your post was viewed, by what demographic, and from where. So after monitoring this for a couple of weeks, you can then decide when is the best time to do a post, and what to make your post about because it also tells you if people are engaging on certain things you post on your page. Which is one of the major things you want to happen.
Post things about your special events in the area, fresh pictures of the hotel, pictures of your team working the hotel. Make a video every now and then with your Head Housekeeper giving cleaning tips, or explaining why doing something a special way affects the guest or the over all experience of the stay and post it on your page.
Offer something special for your Facebook fans, whether is a certain percentage off room rate, or free pop corn at check in, make them know they are VIP's and special, because when they check out of your hotel and if their experience was memorable they will tell their friends, or their friends might ask them on Facebook how was their trip? What hotel did they stay at? Then of course the most horrid of them all is they post the bad things about their stay if there was any.
Make your Facebook page a booking engine. Check with your franchise about linking your hotel reservation page to your Facebook Fan page, and if you are an independent we will be creating a how too post on doing this in the very near future.
As everybody knows Social Networking is becoming more and more important when it comes to branding and marketing your business online and now in real life. People are more connected than ever with the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Not knowing the actual number on this, we roughly guesstimate that at least 6 out of 10 people utilize these sites for business or personal use. So the question is: do you allow your employees to use Social Networking sites and allow them to connect themselves with your brand?
It all depends on your business and employees. I strongly encourage you to get your staff involved as it can help you grow your network to new customers. One major thing you need to address though is when your implement such an idea is that your employees know the proper way to communicate with a customer compared to personal communication with a friend.
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Your star front line employee might be well groomed, speaks very well, and sets a great example for your brand and business. However on their Facebook page you might find pictures of tattoo's, or that they are friends with known felons, or they have people on their page airing out their dirty laundry. Now this star front line employee has listed as their employer your business. One of your major clients comes across your employees Facebook page and remembers the good experience they were given and decides to add them as a friend. Once the friendship is accepted they now see what is on your employee's wall. Do you want that to reflect on your business?
That is one of the cons; there are so many pros as well. You could have a stellar front line employee, and that employee is really out promoting your business to their contacts, then their contacts promote to theirs etc, etc. These are just some things you need to ask before creating a Social Network Policy.
Making a careful Social Networking policy can help you protect your brand, and help grow your business. Check with your local HR laws before implementing such a policy as you do not want to infringe on someone’s rights. I am sure this will be coming up as a major question in the next few months with employers.
As we all know Social Media is becoming main stream, and even more it’s becoming a back ground to who we are. Every day people are tweeting, blogging, and posting status updates online. This then becomes a permanent fabric of the internet, also referred to as a digital foot print.
Employers are turning to Social Media sites to do another look at applicants, and business's are now looking at these sites as well to see who they are contracting out for a job. One thing you want to make sure is that you watch what you tweet, status update, or YOU TUBE about, and you might want to consider creating a personal Facebook account or Twitter account that is just tied to your closet friends and family and make it non public. This way your messages and digital foot print aren't being blasted out to the search engines for someone else to find.
When you’re on social media sites for your business or if you’re in the position of looking for a new job, remember to be as professional as possible. We are seeing more and more marketers being unprofessional with their accounts and frankly some personal information should stay just that way, instead of being announced to the world.
Remember once something is on the internet, it barely ever goes away. It’s there for almost a life time. Have you Google yourself to see what your digital foot print says about you?