2014 Is Crucial For Hotels To Have Social Media Presence
This year is more important then ever that hotels build a social media presence in order to survive. As the internet expands just having a good website is not enough to bring in online sales. Overall 88% of travelers go to review sites such as TripAdvisor.com and about 40% of those travelers look even further into their travel plans by seeing what their freinds are recomending. The only way to do that is through Social Media outlets such as blogs, Facebook, Google Plus, and Instagram.
This day an age people are looking for recomendations because they do not want to spend their hard earn money on a trip and then have it be a bomb due to bad service or worn out hotels. Social Media has grown to give them just that kind of feedback. There are quite a bit of consumers that look specifically for hotel Facebook pages to see what kind of buzz is surrounding the property along with trying to find helpful tips for their next stay. With this being said hotels that do not have a social media presence are really missing out on grabbing their fair share of the market in their areas. Just having a Facebook page is not enough. Hotels need to develop a Social Media Marketing Plan.
Just Building Social Media Platforms Is Not Enough
Ok so your reading this, and you might be feeling a slump in occupancy at your property and your going OK I am going to build a Facebook page. Well thats great that you decided to take that step however just building a page and letting it go is not enough. Its about how you use that page that really gives you the full impact. You need to designate someone on your front office team that is familar with social media to operate these pages for you, or hire an outside company such as ours to handle your social media. You want to make sure that you are getting the technical stuff down so that your page will show up in search engines to help better rank your websites, and you want your pages to be social and engaging with people that visit your page.
You want to make sure that people can see information fast, and will also interact with your page by likeing posts, sharing comments, and sharing your posts with their networks. Some hotels even offer a way to book rooms on their Social media pages and offer an incentive to do so such as a Fan Discount or a Fan Rate. Social media is also a great way to retain people and keep your property and brand in their minds on a daily basis.
Being able to have your guests and future guests attention is almost priceless, and if you utlize your social media platforms correctly and think out side of the box, it can be a very important guest service tool and revenue generator for your property.
We found this blog post the other day and it really lays out what to do to get the most of your Social Media marketing. We strongly recomend you read it. Also we will be posting about the various social media platforms that we use for the hotels we market and what is working for us incase you decide to go this alone.
MUST READ DOES YOUR HOTEL HAVE THE RIGHT SOCIAL MARKETING PLATFORM?
Put Heads In Beds With Out A Sales Director
This is the final part of a 2 part blog series on how hotel General Managers can increase occupancy with out a Sales Director. To read the first part click here. Increasing occupancy in a hotel with out a Sales team, can be hard, but not impossible. If you are detailed focus and willing to put in the time it will pay off in the long run.
Its very important that all steps in this blog series is followed as we show you how to reach out to a few various market segements to help you grab some extra rooms here and there. This way you can still focus on your operation and word of mouth on how great your property is will spread like wild fire. So lets get started.
Read The Daily Paper
I don't know about you, but I love to read the daily paper, and to think that now its going to be part of your job. Does that not make it more enjoyable? Your daily or weekly paper can have a lot of leads in it, and you just don't know it. This is where hoteliers need to think out side of the box when it comes to putting heads in those beds. Your local paper has a large amount of local information in them about businesses, social functions, funerals, large hiring events etc. Ok so are you starting to see the full picture on this?
Search your local paper for special events, social engagements, and other opportunities where these events could bring you a few extra sleeping rooms a month. You should be able to find at least one good lead in every paper. If you do not, then your not looking at it closely enough, or your focusing too much either way.
Area Wedding Vendors
Every area has families who have kids that are getting married, and I have yet to see one wedding that did not at least generate 3 to 6 sleeping rooms, and of course the average ones that usually pick up 15 to 20. You want to reach out to bridal shops, jewelry stores, reception halls etc. Let them know that you would more then ready to help their groups with great over night accommodations. Send them a flyer that they can keep in their folder, and if they have a client presentation that is handed out to their customers, if you can be included in it.
This is a great way to grab a market that usually generates room nights on the weekends. Remember if your not 100% full then you have room to sell more rooms.
Make a Top 20 Call List Every Month
Every month as a General Manager you should proactively try to sell your property and also make sure your servicing your current accounts properly as well. Every month pick 10 of your accounts to call on just to check in, and see how service is going for them. This is a good way to stay in fresh in their mind, because you know your competition is calling on them. If you didnt know that, I am telling you that its happening. Do not ever think that its not. Make sure they know that they can reach you if they ever have any concerns from people they have stay at your hotel.
Once you have your list of 10 current customers, you want to make a list of 10 accounts that you do not have, and call on them to see if their needs have changed, how you can service them better then your competition or even maybe save them a few extra dollars on their lodging bill (Don't get in the habit of discounting but we got to be honest. It still happens.) This way your hotel is now fresh in their mind. However make sure your talking to the decision maker. The receptionist might sometimes be the one that books rooms, but most cases that is not the situation.
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.