Everyone on social media has a voice, a way to express their views and opinions on just about anything. In many ways, the advent of social media has been positive, providing a method for guests to tell their stories and share experiences with a diverse audience – even strangers.
Social media has also led to a few challenges, in particular businesses that are subject to online criticism. In the world of hospitality, that’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Social media plays a fundamental role in connecting your brand to future guests and, when strategically managed, it opens doors to:
- Opportunities to soothe customer frustrations and show you care; and
- An expansion in brand awareness which generates more business
Social engagement is proven to increase brand awareness, and when companies respond to customer comments – especially negative reviews, it in some ways helps level the playing field. People want to hear your response to criticism. Not responding at all leaves too much open for individual interpretation. It’s better to manage the perception. You may not satisfy everyone by with your answer, but a genuine, thoughtful response most certainly establishes trust. Stay engaged. Active engagement helps consumers better appreciate what it would be like to give you their business. It also demonstrates the level of effort you put into creating happy experiences for everyone. Perhaps more than easing the frustration of a past guest, actively managing your brand perception is a smart, forward-thinking strategy. Go ahead – respond to reviews.
TIP: Develop a strategy to manage online perception and always respond to negative reviews with a response that is not canned. It may come from PR, marketing, or management teams – those who act as your brand managers.
How do hospitality marketers leverage social media to generate more business?
They create experiences. Sure, special offers and promotions have their place, but alone they aren’t enough to influence the modern-day traveler. Rooted in the guest’s decision process is a desire to experience not just the caliber of service you provide, or the unique features of your property, but also the activities, dining, events, attractions and programs you have available. Successful brand marketers are digitally promoting all aspects of their property(s). Create and convey a harmonious look and feel of these amenities – giving a sense of what visitors may experience should they partake. The language and visuals you use should stimulate their interest. Go ahead – stir their curiosity.