Social Media, The Latest Distribution Platform For Hotels
Social media have undoubtedly dissolved boundaries and brought people and businesses closer than ever before. Gone are the times when you had to contact customer care to get your problem resolved and bad experiences would remain behind the curtains.
Today social media has given the power to customers to not only get in touch with the brand, but also spread their opinion out in open. One negative review has the power to bring an outrage if it goes viral. We all will agree that the hospitality industry is such that thrives on creating the amazing customer experience. Hence, customer reviews are of utmost importance to them.
The power of social media and user-generated content is unparalleled. Word of mouth has been the most trusted and reliable source of trust building and social media has provided a platform to voice it irrespective of country or language. More hotels are spending efforts in designing an effective Hotel Guest Feedback Survey Program. Every review or comment is shared with thousands and lakhs of users in a second. While bad reviews have always kept businesses on their knees, positive reviews can do equal wonders.
Hotels have realized the importance of social media presence and have started utilizing their benefits greatly. Every OTA or hotel has its brand page on every major social media channel that help them reach out to their customers serving as a bilateral communication channel.
Hospitality is a glamorous industry. Hotels have so much to advertise ad showcase right from scintillating images of their property to the exotic food they serve. Good reviews and images will attract the audience from the social media platform; it is floated to reach maximum eyeballs. As part of their strategy for online reputation management hotels should constantly try to engage followers with exciting images of their property and surroundings provoking them to book a trip to their hotel.
A research conducted on more than 1000 hotel guests at the University of Florida indicated that 21% people resort to Facebook to search for hotel-related information at least once. This indicates Facebook’s potential to become a dedicated distribution channel and guest feedback review site in times to come. The primary reason respondents shared for why they used Facebook for hotel search was the reliability of reviews and the information provided. They could check the real traveler pictures posted by the visitors and reviews at the same time.
From revenue manager’s perspective, it is evident that Facebook is a revenue generation tool and has all the capabilities to become a full-fledged distribution platform. Even Facebook has started moving in a similar direction with its e-commerce Ads. Facebook pages can now float links to their website pages selling a commodity that are visible in their posts.
Facebook paid advertising is another way to generate leads and awareness about your hotel on Facebook. Facebook offers different kinds of advertising for various motives like Page like Ads, Website Traffic Ads, Post Promotion ads, Lead generation ads, etc. The primary benefit of Facebook advertising is that it is highly economical and offers maximum visibility.
Facebook targeting is very refined and allows you to target audience by location, demographics, behaviours and Interests. This helps revenue managers to reach the right audience at any location in the world. Facebook advertisements are far cheaper than Google Display Ads and best to build brand awareness. Hotels can share high-quality videos of their property in their promotions to attract customers.
Big hotel chains like Hyatt have already migrated their customer support to Facebook Messenger that allows customers to chat with support staff instantly. This can be termed as a beginning of Facebook becoming the ecosystem for a perfect hospitality industry where customers and prospects can interact with brands to book rooms and resolve grievances.
We can conclude that social media is strongly emerging an important platform that has the capabilities of serving as a cost-effective distribution channel in the hotel industry. It is now up to revenue managers how well they utilize this amazing platform to boost their revenues and build a brand at the same time.