11 Aug 2011

5 Things All Hoteliers Should Know About Social Media

Social Media - particularly your Hotel's ability to properly exploit it - could mean the difference between your growth and profit or decline and loss. Understanding how Social Media works for your business has never been more important. 

The following article was written by Lucie Hys from Fort Myers, Florida. Lucie is a hotel marketer, social media specialist, and a passionate blogger about all things social media and travel. Her specialty is coming up with a social media strategy that brings her clients at the forefront of competitors on social media channels.

Here Lucy highlights the 5 Things Hoteliers Should Know About Social Media

#1: Social media is not just about Facebook.

When I talk to hoteliers about social media, the most common response is “Yes, I know Facebook.” But there is so much more to social media than “just” Facebook. There are many other platforms (Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Orkut, Foursquare etc.) as well as tools that the businesses can use to steal the spotlight from their competitors. All in all, it is a complex world full of opportunities.

#2: Social media is not just for teenagers.

I hear this argument a lot and I bet many who don’t say it aloud think that. To that, I say “let’s talk statistics”. The average Facebook user is 38 years old (http://bit.ly/eelYwV), so definitely far from teenage years. In fact, only 11% of Facebook users are 13-17 years of age, which means that they are the smallest user group on Facebook (http://bit.ly/he6Oqo)! This difference is even more apparent on Twitter, where 13-17 year-olds comprise only 4% of the user base! In short, social media is anything but teenage playground.

#3: Don’t expect overnight miracles.

If you launch your campaign on Facebook, Twitter etc. and expect to hit the goldmine the next day, in 99.9% you will be disappointed. It takes time to get the word out, attract the right kind of people and get connected. You have to be patient and persistent. If your campaign is working, you should start getting the first signs of success after a couple weeks or months (increased bookings via social media, fuller restaurant etc.) and before you know it, you will have large, loyal audience that once didn’t know you existed.

#4: Your front desk person or 17-year-old nephew can’t do the job.

Because of the budget constraints and misconception of social media, hoteliers often think that they can put their social media campaign in just about anybody’s hands. NOT TRUE. Your social media account is the face of your company. It is your first-hand connection with your past, present and future costumer, so it is extremely important that you make a good impression. Your nephew or front desk person may have a personal Facebook account or make a good impression on you, but this really doesn't mean that they know what they are doing. Don’t put the face of your company in the hands of the amateur.

#5 Using social media for business and for personal use are 2 very different things.

Facebook is a waste of time. Why would I spend hours reading what someone’s eating?” Whether it is or it isn’t a waste of your PERSONAL time is a question. However, from the BUSINESS point of view, it is definitely NOT a waste of time. I have seen what social media did for many hotels and I can tell you that it is well worth the investment. Even if you would never ever set up a Facebook profile for yourself, as a professional you can’t ignore this very powerful marketing tool. If you do, your company is missing out on a lot of opportunities (which translates to sales and profit).

Original article and Lucy's blog can be found HERE or learn more about Lucie Hys: http://onlinefantastic.wordpress.com/about/

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