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725 days ago
 

Social concierges – a solution to the hotel marketing problem

NB: This is a guest article by Pedro Colaco, president and CEO of GuestCentric.

According to a number of studies, the number one choice for consumers contacting hotels via social networks is to find local information.

Users are looking for recommendations on things to do, restaurants and bars in the destination, and a concierge that is able to reply to requests on social networks is seen as a way to enhance the consumer’s experience. The survey points the direction of what hotel social marketing should be about.

A USA Today survey got me thinking about certain digital marketing best practices that hotels should adhere to when engaging consumers on social networks.

This article points out five simple tips for hoteliers that want to infuse their social presence with an engagement shot by turning their social presence into a social concierge.

Tip One – Use your staff to describe what’s happening in your neighborhood

No one better than your staff knows what’s happening in your neighborhood. Whether it’s the trendy restaurant, or the cool new bar for singles, your Facebook page and twitter stream will come alive as you discuss what’s happening.

Other locals may flock to your posts and enhance them with valuable information. This local, hard-to-get information is what hotel social marketing should be about, as this is what users are looking for.

Tip Two – Use photos and videos as they have higher likelihood to be shared

As a hotel manager you should not only develop a photo and video library of your property, but also of the neighborhood you are in.

Go on a field trip and take pictures and shoot video of interesting places and events in your town. Then use them to describe what is going on.

A study by Facebook content strategy tool Zuum found out that rich media is shared almost 2x more than other media. Zuum founder Doug Schumacher says:

“Sometimes even a simple image just needs the right introductory headline to get people liking, commenting, and especially sharing.”

Tip Three – Curate content and ask for feedback

The good news about social networks is that much content is just reused. Pinterest is a good example of that, where people just “re-pin” content that they see on the web.

Use the same technique to improve your hotel social marketing presence. If you see an interesting article in your local newspaper, post it on Facebook and Twitter.

Sports fans are always a good crowd to engage, so leverage content from your local teams. This will get a conversation going. Finally, try to stick to local information that a concierge typically would recommend to a guest.

Tip Four – Provide real services like theater tickets and restaurant reservations

A USA Today survey clearly demonstrated that social users are not necessarily task oriented, and that they don’t give any value to mundane things like weather or traffic updates.

Social guests want to learn what’s going on, and if they see something that interests them they want to be able to act on it, immediately.

As part of your social concierge strategy you should define which services you are willing to provide over the social network, and which ones you want to do offline.

Start by defining a few services that you want to do in the open: restaurant reservations, ordering tickets.

This approach will not only provide great service, but more importantly it will educate other users that you are concerned about servicing your guests in whichever channel they wish to engage with you.

Tip Five – Engage opinion leaders that rave about your hotel

The last four tips were on turning your social presence into a social concierge. One additional way to get things going on your hotel social marketing strategy is to publicize and to ask for feedback on comments from opinion leaders.

Look for people with significant amount of followers, and look for those that seem to be respected within the community.

You can take reviews from TripAdvisor, repost them on your Facebook Timeline and ask for feedback – “do you agree?” or “what should we have done differently?”.

Embrace the community and the community will give you their feedback. Honesty and transparency go a long way in social networks.

Conclusion

In summary, hotel social marketing is about getting conversations going and delivering real value to your users. Use pictures and video to get conversations going, and provide concierge services to your users.

This way you will not only grow your fan base – more importantly, you will create a community that will rally around your property.

NB: This is a guest article by Pedro Colaco, president and CEO of GuestCentric.

 
 
Special Nodes

About the Writer :: Special Nodes

Special Nodes is the byline under which Tnooz publishes articles by guest authors from around the industry.

 

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  1. Hotel Marketing

    I agree goof9 social media is so affective in marketing onlien now.

     
  2. goof9

    nice strategy many of people using this nowadays because its very affective. Whereas sharing photos and videos is best way because of increasing social networking day by day.

     
  3. Micheal Kidd

    I likes the article yet everyone in our area is already doing it .So you have alot same content on your competitors sites. So our fear customer getting bored seeing same thing ie Harvest festival this weekend , Farmers market this Friday, if everyone doing it loses value.
    We have started a Daytrips section on our website where staff writes a new day trip locals guide , trip Hearst castle ( about 50 miles away ) places stop along way ,wine country trip in our neighborhood , hidden backroads picnic trip ,antique hunting day trip , has turned so popular we have in guest directory and print outs available at concierge desks . They see it before they come than reminded again in room . Works !

     
  4. hhotelconsult

    I think it’s a nice commentary on my idea that, 3 years later, Social concierges are just *now* becoming a “solution”.

    But they have been a solution since, about, March of 2008. Here’s my March 2009 post on concierge 2.0, and what will make it successful –

    http://www.hrabaconsulting.com/blog/2009/03/04/the-new-job-description-concierge-20-what-makes-an-excellent-brand-managerhotel-smo/

    Thanks for endorsing the concept!

     
  5. Retour sur une semaine de tourisme 2.0 #1

    [...] cet article [en], l’auteur donne quelques pistes intéressantes pour utiliser les médias sociaux dans [...]

     
  6. Gary Halpin

    A GREAT IDEA. Simple in its approach and a must for hotel owners looking to grasp people into their hotels. Local knowledge goes a long way and in advance of learning the locale as opposed to finding it from the porter or concierge on arrival a lot of disappointment can be avoided by doing and finding research beforehand.

    With a little effort from the hotel management this could be a winner in attracting business over your competition.

     
    • Robert Gilmour

      This article, or one similar to it, is reported elsewhere as – ‘Social concierges – a solution to the hotel social marketing problem’ > note the extra word social.

      Not in my life would i entrust joe public with the concierge function at my hotel, and yes, i totally agree, that great concierge( minus the word social) is a huge opportunity for the independent hotel website and direct booking/sales channel to channel shift from the OTA’s (who have zero concierge, or even negative (i.e. ti usually comes back to the hotel – OTA’s don’t want to know about concierge))

       
  7. Shruti Batra

    Customer service or social concierge is very much a need of the hour, especially for in the travel and hospitality companies. Our internal studies confirm by the end of this year, the social conversations related to key travel and hospitality brands will be almost equal to the amount of calls they receive over a call center or a customer service desk. This kind of volumes needs to be addresses and one cannot depend on the internal marketing teams or agencies to do it alone. One needs to engage specialists in the customer service domain to set-up and manage a social concieage that monitors and addresess all social conversations while keeping in mind the local sensitivity and maintaining good turn around times. To know more please read http://bit.ly/HoCB26

     
    • Pedro Colaco

      I’m not sure you can “call center” this. Concierge is inherently local, and hard-to-get knowledge will not be centralized in an offshore call center in India. Hotel employees are service-driven people, and concierge services even more so. My point is that they get online and deliver the local info over social networks.

       
  8. Scollay Petry

    We’ve had some good success with small properties and tourism organizations blogging and reviewing what’s around them on our site, in a Gay Travel context. Ever heard of Albany, Western Australia? We hadn’t either but the owners of HideAway Haven have put their town and awesome attractions literally on the map through simple blogs and reviews: http://qguide.com/q479365j

    We’re expanding this program and would love to trial with other hotels around the world.

     
  9. Mandy Green

    Thank you for the article. Using social as a way to enhance concierge services stands to reason – most customers are using it and it’s an easy way to connect. I agree with Robert Gilmore that hotels should take charge of their own concierge, and I also think they can better serve guests by doing so through various technologies that enhance that connection.

    Our research has shown that 73% of guests are wanting local information from the front desk. Curated intelligent recommendations can provide the local information desired, sans tampering from biased sources OR the creepiness of the new personalized searches – while reducing the amount of time spent on it by hotel staff.

    Can you name some of the studies you mentioned in the first paragraph? I’d love to check them out.

     
  10. Larry Smith

    To the first point of local attractions, we did a pilot test using mark-up from schema.org (Google, Bing, Yahoo sponsored site) that yields immediate and lasting benefits. Details here:

    http://www.tnooz.com/2012/02/28/news/what-happens-when-you-apply-semantic-search-technology-to-hotel-websites/

    We are also pushing to create a special set of tags specifically to increase search results for hotels. Contact us direct if you have interest in learning more.

     
  11. Robert Gilmour

    Most hotel website nowadays feature 9or should feature) a link to their Trip Advisor pages – so why can’t they do the same on their Twitter and Facebook pages? I have many clients I’ve done this for, also via Review Pro which actually uses and analyses TA reviews &c) , and i’ve never asked Trip Advisor for permission for anything in my life!!!

    Trip Advisor will never object to this, they want the link value &c &c

     
  12. Vicky Smith

    Perhaps it should also be highlighted that, if playing by the rules of TripAdvisor’s terms,
    “Copying, transmission, reproduction, republication, posting or redistribution of the Site Content or any portion thereof is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of TripAdvisor.”

    Consent contact included in TripAdvisor’s terms.

    Vicky

     
  13. Vicky

    Perhaps it should be highlighted that, if playing by the rules of TripAdvisor’s terms,
    “Copying, transmission, reproduction, republication, posting or redistribution of the Site Content or any portion thereof is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of TripAdvisor.”

    Vicky

     
    • Pedro Colaco

      Excellent point. Does that mean that you cannot share a tripadvisor link on Facebook on twitter?

       
      • Vicky Smith

        Good question Pedro!

        Are URLs site content owned by TripAdvisor? I would suppose so, in which case I suppose legally, officially, it would?!? So then does it count for short links used on Twitter too, is that reproduction? Presumably same as URL if short url owned by content owning company (like facebook’s fb.me) but what about if via bit.ly…

        … where do you draw the line?!?

        (by the way, interesting article, agree with most though a little tentative over the TripAdvisor stuff!).

         
      • Mark Goldberg

        Of course you can! The definition of fair use of any media, and then how it is expanded even further to the web, you can definitely share snippets and links of any web page no matter what any website says in the terms.

        Oh, and lets not forget that TripAdvisor certainly wants you to link in to their content AMAP!

         
  14. Mauro Calbi

    A good idea to take reviews from tripadvisor. Even if they are bad? I think, it could be very interesting to read guests replies as on facebook most (or perhaps all) of them are fans of the hotel, so you can find someone who will put his reply on Tripadvisor too.

    What do you think about?

     
  15. Robert Gilmour

    The hotel should be in/take control of its own ‘concierge’ – it should not be at the whims and vagaries of its social networks., that’s potentially fatal.

    Next thing you’ll be suggesting that social networkers should actually run the hotel’s marketing, this is just nonsense.

    Great concierge is a potentially super way for a hotel to give the OTA’s a run for their money via the direct sales channel (OTA’s are hopeless at, or don’t do, concierge – this channel shift potential is far far too important to be left to the mercy of social media.

    if hotels don’t heed my advice and take firm control of concierge, then joe public will, – after all he thinks in the ‘me generation’ that he/she’s the only person that matters.

     
    • Pedro Colaco

      I am in full agreement with your statement that “Great concierge is a potentially super way for a hotel to give the OTA’s a run for their money via the direct sales channel”. I also think that one way to promote the hotel’s concierge is through social networks – hence the name “social concierge”.

       
 
 

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