Social media plays an increasing important role nowadays especially within the hotel industry. Many hospitality related businesses are using social media to upgrade and personalize their customer service. Social media has changed how potential customers do online research, make decisions and eventually share their experiences. Also the growing importance of customer reviews nowadays during each phase of an individual customer journey makes social media a valuable channel.
This blog is especially focused on the function of social media as a kind of helpdesk for questions and any occurred problems. Especially social media serves this function due to the possibility to response in real-time and relatively quick. However, social media is transparent so it is a challenge to remain finding unique ways to answer possible questions and solve possible problems. How can hotel chains keep surprising their customers and keep acting original in the future?
The influence of social media grew fast in the previous few years and became very important for the hotel industry. But current travellers are getting used to this type of communication via social media channels so a hotel chain has to continually find new ways to keep attracting new and loyal customers. First of all, it is important to post creative and original content; in this way customers will keep remembering you and you will be top-of-mind. Examples of this type of content can be storytelling, original and user-generated pictures and videos. (Mangan, 2015)
Above mentioned user-generated-content and co-creation are forms of interactivity which describe the current phase of the web in a perfect way. We now live in the so called ‘’web 2.0’’. Hotel chains are working closely together with their customers and they try to find out as much customer knowledge as possible to improve their services with the final goal to increase the customer satisfaction.
In the future it will be more easy to keep surprising your customers due to the evolution of the web to ‘’web 4.0’’ or otherwise called the emotional web. This phase of the web should be able to stimulate more human senses and provoke more emotions than the currently phase of the web does. It is not only about audio and video (hearing and seeing) but in the future the customer might also smell and sense things through social media and who knows even taste!
This web will create a more complete customer experience. In this way customers can get engaged even through an almost real feeling about a hotel. Up until now it’s hard to imagine this but we suspect this will be the reality in the near future. Imagine yourself travelling with the bus and to kill the time you are scrolling through your social media timelines looking for a getaway by searching for hotels. Your search will have a direct effect on the background music on the bus and even a smell will be spread via the air-conditioning system to increase the overall experience with the company and eventually the engagement with the total brand. How more the web develops, how more possibilities arise to engage your customers. (Beltman & Peelen, 2013)
Beltman, R., & Peelen, E. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
Mangan, M. (2015). The Impact of Social Media on the Tourism Industry. Retrieved from http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4071855.html