A recent TravelClick survey reported on HotelMarketing.com that one quarter of hotels are not using social media. Considering how low the barrier to entry is for participating on the social web, it is a remarkable finding – and should remind us how the industry still has a lot of room to grow in this area.
But this finding also means that 3 out of every 4 hotels are using social media. This represents huge progress over the past couple years, when many hotels where skeptical or just planning their first experiments with social networking.
This raises an interesting question: As social media becomes a standard channel for communications in the hotel industry, how can you stand out from your competitors? Simply setting up a profile on Twitter, Facebook or a review website is probably not enough.
- Do you have a listening tool in place that acts as a 24/7 mystery shopper and allows you to quickly respond to items that come up on the social web?
- Do you have social media reporting systems in place to give managers for each department insights they can act on?
- Do you have workflow systems in place to involve key people within your organization in responding to guests and potential customers?
- Do you use online reputation indexes to benchmark improvements in quality – both internally and against competitors?
- Are you using semantic analysis to understand guest sentiment and optimize your marketing and advertising?
- Are you using guest feedback in your website to provide social proof and increase direct bookings?
- Do you have saved searches setup to identify opportunities to introduce people to your hotel and provide service?
- Are you leveraging reputation and social media analytics to identify opportunities to maximize distribution and revenue?
As we reach a saturation point in social media for the hotel industry, the way you use social media must evolve to help you retain a competitive advantage.