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Five Social Media Tips for the Hospitality Industry in 2011

By: Guest | January 6, 2011 | 
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This first ran on Dec. 28, but we didn’t want you to miss it with the holiday time off. And it’s written for the hospitality industry, but we think the tips work well for any industry.

Guest post by Didi Lutz, an award-winning public relations professional specializing in the travel and hospitality industry.

I believe social media can help the hospitality industry through the Great Recession and give it a much needed communications makeover in the process.

The hospitality industry adopts late on most things new – especially technology. However, throughout 2010, we have seen a tremendous increase in hotels, both brand chains and independent properties, that have, at the very least, built Facebook and Twitter pages. Other hotels have chosen to join Foursquare and other rich media that make sense to them.

The publishing shakeout during the past couple of years that was fueled by the rise of social media provided hoteliers the opportunity to identify new areas where key messages can be shared and discussed in real time. From a PR perspective, the feedback gained from guests is priceless, but like any other communications vehicle, social media’s power must be harnessed to yield the most effective results.

Following are some tips for hotels to keep in mind in 2011 for social media PR:

  • Understand your key messages. Once you’ve outlined your goals and objectives for 2011, assign specific marketing and PR goals that are supported by social media tactics. Work with your staff to define key messages that communicate the guest experience to attract the right audience.
  • Involve your staff in the social media campaign. It’s important to manage your hotel’s reputation online, and it makes sense to have several eyes monitoring Facebook and Twitter, even with their own accounts. Training is necessary, as are proper boundaries on what employees can discuss, but a collective approach to your social media campaign can prove to be effective in the long run.
  • Hire a pro. Whether you decide to take social media in house or not, keep in mind, it’s still a PR and marketing function that requires professional know-how. Depending on the presence you want to have on social media, hiring a professional to get you started on the right track is worth the investment.
  • Use metrics to evaluate the campaign. Like any campaign, it’s important to understand the concepts of post quality, interactions, and comments on social media. Quality is more important than quantity in the long term, so focus on specific social media goals in order to achieve the most from your campaign.
  • Moderate the conversations. Remember, it’s what the guests talk about with their friends that make the difference! When you moderate conversations, try to stay on topic and keep comments focused. Similarly, if a guest complaint goes viral, it must be handled directly and tactfully. A professional can help with crisis management PR plans and tactics to ensure your message stays intact.

Didi Lutz is an award-winning public relations professional specializing in travel and hospitality. She creates and executes PR strategies for luxury hotel and restaurant openings and rebrandings, and can be found at www.didilutzpr.com.

22 comments
urgetech2
urgetech2

This is my first time I have visited your site. I found a lot of interesting information in your blog. From the tons of comments on your posts, I guess I am not the only one! keep up the great work.

CurlyGirlMarketing
CurlyGirlMarketing

It is imperative that businesses learn about social media. With millions of users and potential new clients, businesses cannot afford to be misrepresented online. Every day potential customers spend long hours researching, connecting, and learning online. As a business, you want to make sure your reputation is outstanding. If you can't reach them within a couple clicks, you've lost them.

didilutzpr
didilutzpr

Thank you for your feedback! I have posted some trends on boutique hotels on my blog. Social media are definitely a big part of the PR process for this coming year, along with proper messaging and building value to the guest experience: http://didilutzpr.com/blog/topics/pr/

FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer

Accomplishing any one of those objectives will make a significant difference.

My personal crusade is on #1: Creating a clear, differentiated message. It's a chronic, pervasive problem in professional services marketing, where everyone provides "excellent, full-service, representation and unsurpassed personal service" with "the highest standards of ethics, fairness, and integrity."

Oh, and passion. Can't forget passion.

AnnManion
AnnManion

re: Great Tip #4 - On Using Metrics.

I've learned that the bottom line for Hotel GMs is they benefit most from being shown Guests Generated From Social Media. It's not enough to have followers and fans, marketers are tasked with proving that their programs have converted audiences into paying customers.

The power of analytics to influence your boss, client, or whoever holds the purse strings is undeniable. In 2011 I'm interested in finding the easiest, fastest, & user friendly ways to numerically track back progress on social media efforts, both for Hotel Advantage & my clients.

Thanks for a terrific post Didi!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Very timely Didi. This week Arnold Worldwide and Carnival Cruises just launched a comprehensive effort to encompass all of 2011. My one concern isn't what Arnold did. It looks great. Its Carnival. I have seen in the past some really great Agency work helping to launch Brands into Social Media but the Brand lets it die. So I am going to follow it and see how it goes.

I have connected with quite a few small players in the industry via Twitter specifically to see what they are doing and there is a lot that can be done to entice people to stay in touch, to come to visit, etc but it must be maintained. I don't view Social as a campaign. It needs to be an ongoing effort. I would call the 'campaigns' promotions for being measured.

All your tips are great. The biggest struggle for the non-business travel industry is keeping people involved and connected for something they might only use once or three ties a year. But you need to be in the conversation with them because so that you are included in those choices.

This is a very underdevelopment industry right now for social. Should be a gold mine for people like you!

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  1. [...] thanks to Spin Sucks, a very informative blog on all things PR, Marketing and Social Media, who invited me to write a [...]

  2. [...] by communicating the right message, and most of all learn to manage reputation effectively.  Read my tips on social media in hospitality for this [...]