The rise of social media has a massive impact on the hotel industry. Travelers use different social media channels to do research and share their personal reviews with the rest of the world, whether they had a positive or negative experience. Hotels cannot longer ignore the impact of social media on their business. Social media has become a natural marketing tool for hotels and it provides a chance to engage with customers (The Impact of Social Media on the Tourism Industry, 2015). In this blog we take a closer look at the role of social media in the hotel industry.
Because of the increase in social network and the influence of sites like TripAdvisor and Zoover, businesses in the hotel industry are forced to implement social media strategies. Studies have shown that consumers nowadays are more likely to check reviews on social media channels before they commit to a company (Begwani, 2014). Most big hotel companies already have teams that reply to social media comments on a daily basis. This is necessary according to Patu Keswani (chairman and managing director at Lemon Tree Hotels India): ‘’An individual can do significant damage to your brand simply by one online post.’’ Tree Hotels gets 30 to 40 comments every day and Keswani claims his team responds to all of them (Begwani, 2014).
The hotel chain Hilton is very successful when it comes down to customer engagement management through social media. They managed to create an online concierge who welcomes the guests via Twitter, before the guests even arrived at the hotel. Moreover Hilton reacts to tweets posted by tourists to give them advise about the destination they are visiting. This creates a bond between the customer and the brand and guests will be more likely to stay loyal to the Hilton Hotels (Tuin, 2015).
Social media channels gives hotels the opportunity to approach customers in an individual way, interact with them and eventually build relationships. Unfortunately, most businesses are still not using social media in the right way. According to The Guardian, still 58% of consumers who tweet about a negative customer experience won’t receive a reply from the company they have an issue with (Sklar, 2013). The consequences in this case are noticeable: it costs revenue in the short term and it damages the brand on the long term. Because if the company fails to serve the customer’s expectations, they will move on quickly (Sklar, 2013).
Engaged customers, on the other hand, are key when it comes to engagement through social media. They are loyal to your brand and have the power to influence other social media users in a positive way. Nowadays social media channels are one of the largest communication channels, and by truly listening to your customer your organization has the power to turn negative experiences into positive ones (Sklar, 2013).
Begwani, S. (2014). The Social Media Mandate for the Hotel Industry.
Sklar, C. (2013, Maart 13). How to use social media to understand and engage your customers. Opgeroepen op Oktober 8, 2016, van The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/mar/13/social-media-customer-engagement
The Impact of Social Media on the Tourism Industry. (2015, September 23). Opgeroepen op Oktober 8, 2016, van hospitalitynet: http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4071855.html
Tuin, C. (2015, Maart 27). Top 10 social media hotels. Opgeroepen op Oktober 8, 2016, van Hospitality Management: http://www.hospitality-management.nl/top-10-social-media-hotels-video-14074