Feb 23, 2022 | Ask & Talk | Reading Time: 5 minutes
How is your business doing on social media? The hospitality world is going through dramatic changes with the accelerated digitalization. Currently, hoteliers are finding themselves at an impasse in their struggle for what to do about the impact of social media on the hotel industry.
- Ignore it altogether?
- Post once a week?
- Ask a Gen Z for help?
- Hire a marketing agency or do it in-house?
To help you better grasp the positive—or negative—impact of social media in hotel reservations, we’ve invited social media expert, Sarah Dandashy, to talk about How Your Hotel’s Social Media Impacts The Traveler Experience (For Better or Worse).
Our Hotel Cast Tv webinar series is designed for hotel entrepreneurs, managers, travel experts, investors, and service providers in the hospitality industry.
Sarah Dandashy is a travel expert who has worked at top hotels with over 18 years of experience in the luxury hospitality market, first as a concierge and later as an ambassador for the industry.
Sarah is known for her renowned podcast about leadership, content creation, social media coaching, and her own brand of luxury, “Ask a Concierge”. And just last year, Sarah published a book titled Hospitality From Within.
Now, let’s see what Sarah had to share in the webinar.
Social media is where everyone is at
Social media shouldn’t be a chore. It’s about being visible where your guests hang out, and navigating the flow with them. People would love to see your property’s personality, and social media is the perfect place to do that. Sarah shared the following trends:
- 83% of millennials get their travel ideas from social media
- People are making travel decisions based on what they see online
So, how will they find you?
From Sarah’s perspective, people go to social media first, even before Google. Once they see something that catches their eye, they’ll go to your website for rooms, quotes, amenities, and details about the stay.
Guests know your hotel’s website will offer a polished look, and they’re okay with it. They even expect it because it’s the place where you promote your business. But they’re just as interested in the experience, and social media is just the place to find it.
The importance of social media for hoteliers
Social media isn’t going anywhere because people flock to authentic experiences.
If someone was at your hotel, good or bad, that experience already counts much more than anything on your website because it gives people a fresh sense of how versus an edited sense of what. People want to know exactly what they’re getting.
A strong online presence
Sarah says it well:
“It’s not about posting once a week. The fun part of social media is the social aspect, the possibility of having a conversation. Manage to get people to feel what it’s going to feel like, the ‘vibe’. You do yourself a disservice if you’re not engaging with people and your local community there [on social media]. Remember, your hotel is part of the travel experience, and so, it’s important to show your potential customers the other perks of your area and destination.”
Content that travelers are looking for
Content continues to change. An “Instagrammable” experience is vital, but it’s also obvious. People want something unique, such as a rooftop bar with a superb view of the city, a quirky menu, an exotic flower wall, or a cute spot for photos. Use all that to your advantage, create pathways, moods, and unusual elements. It doesn’t even require your business name on it—the experience can make you known.
Find what makes your place meaningful to others based on their social media comments. Look for that which has the potential to become iconic, aesthetically pleasing, and easily interactive. Let travelers work the magic of social media for you – it doesn’t have to be a burden.
Local influencers can be a great way to share your content, boost engagement, and get on people’s radars. Always make sure you share the same audience as the influencer you’re considering.
The choice of influencer shouldn’t be based on popularity, but rather substance to enhance your core ideas, and resonate with your demographic.
Ideally, establish your identity first; then you can build on that with influencers. Your constant online presence paired with an influencer can create a powerhouse for your hotel.
Social media isn’t a one-way street
Ignoring travelers on social media is a sure way to make them consider going to the competition.
Wow your audience with your posts so that they’ll want to interact and write a comment to let you know what they think. That alone should be valued and appreciated because, at the end of the day, they’re the reason you’re out there in the first place.
👉 Did you know that Asksuite is officially integrated with Instagram? This integration allows you to scale your customer service and maximize revenue. No question goes unanswered, and you can even send quotes and boost direct bookings.
How to handle negative comments
Negative comments can be a valuable lesson because you have the opportunity to address them publicly.
Be genuine when it comes to criticism, since a canned reply sounds like you’re brushing it off—when it should be the opposite—you show you care by acknowledging that something wasn’t right.
The same is true if you get a negative direct message. Keep in mind that this is a new channel to interact with travelers. It’s a space you can use to retain and nurture relationships.
👉 Our ebook is packed with tips and strategies to help you make the most out of your social media marketing channels. Dive in!
Social media window shopping
Sarah encouraged hoteliers to understand that whoever is handling social media is in a key role. Ideally, this should be their only task, and never assigned as a side project.
All too often, social media is still seen as easy or something the closest Gen Z can do. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s the voice of your business. Think of social media as a 24/7 advertisement.
How to attract your target audience
“Be very honest about who your guests are and what role they play in social media. Are they on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok? If you’re going for a domestic audience, make sure you tag places in the city, and play around with where your target audience is,” Sarah advises.
Be mindful of how your audience communicates on social media, and pay attention to how your demographic continues to change (especially post-pandemic).
Good strategies for organic results
Consider partnering with other businesses that will take you into the spotlight—local coffee shops and restaurants can help spice up your personality and put you on the map, for example.
Embrace the idea of real-time feedback by initiating natural conversations with potential guests. Test the waters to see what people are going for.
Have fun with it—create a slogan from a key phrase you heard from a guest. This will be something they remember you by, much more than just your name.
Social media impacts the hotel industry
Step back and question whether your strategy lines up with your audience. Promote elements that are unique to your brand. Never underestimate the power of experiences shared on social media, and prioritize engagement with every customer and comment.
Seek out influencers who could be ambassadors for your business. Pay attention to the voice they already have and the people who follow them.
This is just a summary of the topics discussed during this webinar. For more info and Sarah’s insightful tips, watch the full episode at the link below.