We’ve all done it – gone to see a movie, ate at a new restaurant or even visited a certain city because our friends have spoken so highly of their experiences.
As we live our lives based on the recommendations of others, we are not alone. A new Global Trust in Advertising report conducted by Nielson revealed that nine out of 10 people will make a purchase resulting from a trusted friend’s recommendation.
It is for this reason that smart hotels and resorts are actively seeking positive reviews and personal recommendations from their guests.
However, simply collecting kind words won’t bring business rolling in the door.
Hotels need to place those recommendations in front of the people influenced by the recommender, and there is no more effective way to do so than through social media.
Social media marketing is more than a buzzword.
It is a powerful force, creating real revenue for the hospitality industry.
When it comes to businesses actually engaged in social media, it was found that over 50 percent of all companies use Twitter (59 percent), Facebook (60 percent) or both. Sadly, most indicated that the reason for their social engagement was to keep up with competition – not to channel new business.
Failing to leverage networking correctly leaves money on the table.
The average hotel guest using social media has 130 Facebook, 300 Twitter and 60 LinkedIn connections just waiting to act on the positive reviews of their peers.\
Imagine if just 10 hotel guests told all of their social connections about an upcoming stay they’ve booked. They would reach nearly 5,000 people who, according to Nielson, are 92 percent more likely to stay at that property over another.
It is all about referral traffic.
When guests tweet or post about their upcoming or recent hotel stay, they are creating invaluable visibility for that property. Getting guests to make those social posts with a call to action, or a link back to the hotel web site creates an even greater value proposition. Many social-savvy guests will even tag the hotel’s social media profile in their post, which is another reason to be active on social networks.
For those joining the party late, there is no better time than the present to set-up social media profiles.
A guest can’t interact with an entity that is not present and neglecting social sites could lead to a lost opportunity to further expose a property’s brand, providing socially-active competitors with a competitive edge.
Satisfied guests are undoubtedly the single best source for spreading the word about any hotel while becoming the brand’s best advocates.
With all the revenue potential locked inside social media it is imperative that chain and independent hotels alike turn their current guests into brand advocates. Giving a voice to recommendations through a social platform could be the difference between business as usual and unusually good business.
Ron Callari is the VP of Business Development for Flip.to. With over 25 years of travel industry experience, he has held sales and marketing posts both domestically and internationally with Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Travel Planners in New York, New York. As a well-known social media strategist, Ron has been interviewed by BBC radio, part of a 2011 Chinese Tourism Mission and writes a weekly social media column for several industry web sites. You can follow him on at Twitter @roncallari.
Nielson – http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/media_entertainment/consumer-trust-in-online-social-and-mobile-advertising-grows
Sword Ciboodle, companies using social media – http://www.techjournal.org/2012/05/majority-of-u-s-u-k-businesses-use-facebook-twitter-for-customer-service