A recent poll by USA today asked readers what they expected from their hotel’s social media accounts. Top answer? Local information. While it is a well known fact around here that local information is a top request of hotel guests, I still found the results to be surprising.
While our own research has shown that 73% of front desk requests are for local information, what surprised me was the word “expect”. Travelers expect to have access to recommendations through other channels aside from a front desk visit or call.
Savvy travelers of today are researching every aspect of their trip. They want a local, authentic experience that extends beyond search engines and brochures. They want insight into the very best their destination has to offer. And now they expect to have that information at their fingertips.
I checked around and found that, for the most part, the hospitality industry is using social in an entirely different way. I’m positive that some of this has to do with the transparency social media brings to the picture. Angry guests on Twitter or Facebook need prompt attention, which leads to many social media pages being full of apologies and troubleshooting. On a brighter note, happy guests who are connected to their hotel through social media are also voicing their opinions. Keeping up with guest comments is a full-time commitment unto itself.
So how are companies keeping up with the rising expectations of guests?
Remember that social media is about connecting. Most companies are getting the hang of conversations with customers, and many are now catching on to sharing items of interest. You are the expert on your location, so let it show. The time is ripe to establish your hotel as the leader in local recommendations. Take a look at your social media accounts from a guest’s perspective and be sure that you are sharing relevant local information that will draw guests to your area, and more specifically to your hotel.
Are hotel managers willing to put their time and money into sharing this type of information with potential guests?
They seem to be getting there. Yes, social media is an investment of both time and money. There are many different options for measuring ROI in this area, but the fact remains: You must have a presence on social media. That voice should be furthering guest relations, and it should be an expert in local experiences. In effect, that voice should be an extension of who you are in-house.