Independent and boutique hotels are very much on trend in the UK and across the world. The desire for not only a unique experience but to support independent business has driven demand and more and more are popping up to fulfil it. Akin to the rest of the hospitality world, the internet has become the heated battleground upon which all hotels are looking to acquire new business are sell their rooms and other services.
Naturally, social media has a huge role to play in both showcasing your venue to your target audience but also getting out there and finding them before influencing their buying decisions. Let’s take a look at the important bits of social media for independent hotels.
Social media for independent hotels
Arguably, in the online battle for business, independent hotels have an edge over their chained counterparts. Sure, large hotel chains are competitive on prices and they have a recognised brand, but they’re increasingly less appealing to our social society. Why? They’re less shareable. And they rarely get rave reviews on third party sites like TripAdvisor.
But here’s the problem:
Despite all of these advantages, most independent boutique hotels are not seizing the opportunity to take the business up for grabs.
The truth is that whilst more and more business are becoming au fait with the content creation element of social media, the power of interaction and community management is still a huge untapped opportunity. But, this is the good news. This means if you start utilising these features effectively, you’re way ahead of the competition!
Put simply, the marketing landscape of all sectors is changing dramatically because of social media and hospitality is no different. If you’ve been putting off really committing to social media management, now’s the time to get going and start making a return on investment!
Let’s take a look at main tools you should be using.
Facebook for independent hotels
Facebook is your content creation factory and should become a hub of information for your fans. Remember that you shouldn’t get bogged down by how many ‘likes’ you have – ‘likes’ don’t make sales, directly, they’re a means to make sales. What you need Facebook to be is a microsite for your hotel that gives the best possible impression of your hotel to potential visitors.
Facebook is the perfect way to showcase other products that you may have to offer local consumers. Potential customers in your local area are easier to target and if you provide spa services, afternoon teas or weddings, Facebook is the perfect medium to connect with them. It’s also the perfect place to accentuate the differences between your venue and somewhere run-of-the-mill.
But this is the really cool stuff:
Twitter for independent hotels
Twitter enables businesses to actually go out and talk to potential customers. People tell Twitter all kinds of things and some of those things are gold dust for hotels. We call these pieces of gold dust conversation drivers. These conversation drivers are words and phrases people say on Twitter that identify themselves as members of your target audience.
So here’s the thing:
For hotels, there are two great opportunities here. The first is searching for people locally who might use your services. Anyone who mentions being ‘engaged’, ‘afternoon tea’ or ‘spa day’ or ‘need to relax’ (anything along those lines) within a certain mile radius of your hotel could be customers.
Secondly, finding people mentioning trips to your area or even just events or shows in your area might mean they’ll need a hotel. Whereas the budget hotel chains in your area lack the autonomy to go out and engage with these people over Twitter, you’re free to start a casual, non-salesey conversations with them. Now, of course, not all of them will be in the market but there’s no harm in getting your hotel name in front of more people and being friendly with them – nothing needy, nothing salesey, just friendly.
TripAdvisor and community management for independent hotels
Social media plays a major role in the Zero Moment of Truth – the point in time at which consumers are checking reviews and comparing prices. The internet means there is more scrutiny than ever before when it comes to choosing your hotel. Poor TripAdvisor ratings have a massive impact on booking with many consumers simply ruling out venues with lower than a 4-star average rating, for example. On the plus side, being in the top 10 and top 30 hotels for your city or area will make a huge difference to sales.
Looking to make the most out of social media for your independent hotel? Outsourcing social media management might suit you whilst if you have the time and resources to self-manage, social media training will be exactly what you need to ensure you’re making the most out of your time. Either way, use the contact page to get the ball rolling.